October 31, 2008

Friday Headlines: Investigative Report Looks at Indianapolis Sewer System

Posted in Alabama, California, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Tennessee at 12:36 pm by bengann

Indianapolis TV station WTHR has done an investigation into the amount of untreated sewage entering Marion County’s waterways. As you might imagine the report raises questions and concerns regarding how to get the problem under control. And if you were wondering whether federal funding is needed for cities like Indianapolis here is this quote from the story.

To pay for the deep tunnels and other improvements that will help reduce Indianapolis’ combined sewer overflows, the cost is an estimated $3.5 billion.

For Marion County residents, it means the average $15 sewer portion of a current water bill is expected to jump to $100 each month.

And here’s an eye opening statistic.

All together, about 40 billion gallons of combined sewer overflow are dumped into Indiana waterways each year.

Headlines are after the jump

October 30, 2008

Thursday Headlines: Capitol Hill Looks at Infrastructure Investment, Stimulus

Posted in National at 1:15 pm by bengann

Contractors, economists, CEOs, elected officials and heads of local and state government agencies all testified before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure yesterday on the need for billions of dollars in infrastructure investment as part of any proposed economic stimulus legislation.

The hearing titled, “Investing in Infrastructure: The Road to Recovery,” included several witnesses who spoke about how increased investment in water infrastructure could help the economy recover faster. Infrastructure investment as part of an economic stimulus package has been proposed to help create jobs, spur investment in local communities and address deferred maintenance on water infrastructure projects.

Lisa Lambert of Reuters does a good job in describing the legislative context for an economic stimulus bill that could include funding for needed infrastructure investment.

U.S. state leaders, trade groups and economists descended on the House of Representatives on Wednesday to help work out a second economic stimulus bill that one influential Congressional member said would be introduced on November 17.

Representative Jim Oberstar, the Minnesota Democrat who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told a hearing on jump-starting the stalled economy that Congressional staff would be meeting throughout the month and a stimulus bill would be introduced when Congress reconvenes next month.

Click here to read more after the jump

October 28, 2008

Tuesday Headlines: Redding, California Permanently Shuts of Water Main

Posted in California, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Wisconsin at 11:45 am by bengann

The water main that blew a muddy geyser through the pavement of a road in Redding, California on Sunday will be permanently shut off. In August, the same 18-inch diameter pipe ruptured beneath a lawn on a high school campus.

Headlines
The people who live next to the sewage pump station in Hermitage, Pennsylvania where about 500,000 gallons of backed-up sewage leaked into the Shenango River earlier this month wanted answers Monday when they went to a meeting of the board that oversees the sewage system.

A water main break closed the eastbound lanes of busy thuroughfare in Denver early this morning. A 12-inch main broke at about 3:15 a.m. this morning and forced repair crews to close the busy road.

City crews in Kingston, New York, worked Monday to repair a sewer line that burst not far from the site of a 2004 collapse that sent raw sewage into the streets and front lawns. The sewer line which broke was about 100 years old.

Some Boulder, Colorado residents were without water Monday afternoon because of a main break. Drivers experienced detours and delays as an intersection was closed to repair the main.

Sewer Rate News
Clinton, Iowa
Menasha, Wisconsin
Rapid City, South Dakota
Sparta, Michigan

October 27, 2008

Monday Headlines: In Boston, 16-Inch Water Main Break Closes Streets

Posted in Alaska, California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania at 12:04 pm by bengann

Boston Public Works crews worked overnight on Saturday and all day on Sunday after a 16-inch water main ruptured. Roads were shut down around City Hall and the Brooke Courthouse, and a stretch of Cambridge Street was slightly buckled by the break. Some homes were flooded and other residents reported low water pressure.

Headlines
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is investigating the cause of the discharge of nearly 400,000 gallons of sewage sludge from a sewage treatment plant in Bordenton Township.

Water-main breaks during routine hydrant flushing are believed to be the cause of an E. coli contamination last week in Fulton, New York. Said Mayor Ron Woodward, “We have 63 miles of water line in the city and some of them are 100 years old.”

New Castle County, Delaware faces more than $145,000 in penalties and other expenses for violating a five-year-old order to improve overflowing sewage and stormwater collection systems.

In Miles Crossing, Oregon, work has begun on a long-awaited sewer system. The $8.1 million project is expected to take a year to complete and will initially serve about 400 homes and businesses.

Sewer Rate News
Ashland, Pennsylvania
Homer, Alaska
Lake County, California
Lincoln, Illinois

October 24, 2008

Friday Headlines: Water Main Break Traps Residents in Apartment Complex

Posted in Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania at 1:23 pm by bengann

Part of 33rd Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma will be closed for about a week after a water main break flooded a portion of the city Thursday morning. The water trapped people who live at a local apartment complex. City Public Works officials said recent rains caused the ground to shift, which broke the water line.

Headlines
A water main break may leave several hundred homes and businesses in part of Scranton, Pennsylvania without water service. People may have low water pressure, cloudy water or no water service at all.

In Atlantic, Iowa, the city council is considering an expansion of its wastewater treatment facility at a cost of $16 million. Should the city decide to proceed with the option to build a new $16 million facility, rates would increase to $42.55 for the first 3,000 gallons and $2.25 for each 1,000 gallons after that. An average bill would cost just under $50 a month.

With Election Day less than two weeks away, the media is focusing more on a ballot question in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Should the state borrow $400 million to pay for water and sewer improvements?  Half the $400 million would go toward grants, and the rest would be issued as low-interest loans.

The village of Middleport has received a $140,169 low-interest loan from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to help plan long-term control of combined sewer overflows. Such overflows are a major cause of water pollution and can have adverse effect on human health.

Sewer Rate News
Blacklake, Georgia
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Richmond, Missouri

October 22, 2008

Wednesday Headlines: Illinois City Works on Wastewater Plant Plans

Posted in California, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Virginia, Washington at 4:06 pm by bengann

The wastewater treatment facilities in South Beloit, Illinois are working beyond their intended capacities and commissioners say a new plant is a necessity. The system was designed to handle 3 million gallons but is currently processing 3.5 million gallons a day. This summer, the city ran more than 8 million gallons per day as the Rock River waters rose and ground levels increased because of land saturation.

Headlines
A water main break in Fenton, Michigan Saturday afternoon caused some flooding and the loss of nearly a million gallons of water. The city lost between 800,000 and 900,000 gallons of water before the main could be shut down.

The water is back on in downtown San Luis Obispo, California after city employees worked tirelessly to fix a water main break. A surge in the system caused a main to rupture and led to ruptures on several other adjacent streets.

Officials in Cape Charles, Virginia are simultaneously pursuing solutions to growing water and wastewater needs to meet future demand and a state-imposed deadline for a new treatment plant that lessens the impact to the Chesapeake Bay.  

Representatives of rural water systems including a regional water project for north-central Montana stopped in the city of Havre to tell local elected officials and state legislative candidates about the need to increase funding for those projects.

Sewer Rate News
Missoula, Montana
Wenatchee, Washington

October 21, 2008

Tuesday Headlines: Climate Change May Cause Heavier Rainfalls, More Overflows

Posted in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, National, New York at 12:44 pm by bengann

A Washington Post story tackles the issue of climate change and how it may lead to significant increases in waterborne diseases around the world. The story suggests the nation’s water infrastructure may not be up to the challenge as  heavier rainfalls may trigger sewage overflows, contaminating drinking water and endangering beachgoers.  

The story also includes a national map (found here) illustrating the pervasiveness of waterborn diseases.

Headlines
In Brooklyn, New York, the stench of raw sewage in the Gowanus Canal may get worse before it gets any better. To repair the flushing tunnel the city must turn it off for two years as part of a $300-million cleanup. To compensate for the soon-to-be deactivated flushing tunnel, the city will attempt to reduce the amount of untreated waste that lingers in the canal when heavy rains overflow the aging sewers.

A rash of sewage spills in the Wicomico River has prompted the Mayor in Salisbury, Maryland to launch a task force to investigate.

Ensuring the water keeps coming in and the sewage keeps flowing out is going to cost residents in the Buffalo suburb of Tonawanda $3 million over the next few years. Councilman Joe Emminger acknowledged the high cost, but said investing early will benefit the town, especially since there appears to be little to no relief coming from state or federal levels.

A boil water notice is in effect today for a portion of South Fort Myers, Florida due to a main water break.

Sewer Rate News
Grand Haven, Michigan
Oldham County, Kentucky
Rolla, Missouri
Rome, Georgia

October 20, 2008

Monday Headlines: New Technology to Help Chico, Calif. Monitor Sewer System

Posted in California, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, National, New Jersey, New York, Virginia at 11:16 am by bengann

New sewer monitoring technology will allow Chico, California to keep a better eye on its sewer system and plan ahead to avoid future problems.  The meters will monitor the amount of water going through the sewer system, without having to pay someone to monitor the sewers during winter rainstorms.

Headlines
In New York, boaters and other Hudson River enthusiasts will need to take a break from the watertoday because Westchester County is planning to release 2 million to 3 million gallons of treated sewage through a Yonkers pump station in order to make a repair to the waste system.

A sinkhole slowed traffic on U.S. 1 in Woodbridge, Virgnia on Saturday. A split water main caused the hole to form around 8 a.m., leaving a gas station in the area without water. Traffic was reduced to only two lanes – one southbound and one northbound.

Broken water mains in Watchung, New Jersey forced affected residents to boil their water on Saturday.  

Government officials and financial experts are warning that a freeze in the market for municipal bonds could cause major delays nationwide in government projects as basic as replacing water pipes.

Sewer Rate News
Brockton, Massachusetts
Clearlake Oaks, California
Crescent City, California
Libertyville, Illinois
Ocheyedan, Iowa

October 17, 2008

Friday Headlines: Sinkhole Swallows RV After Sewer Collapses

Posted in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas at 4:05 pm by bengann

A large chunk of a street in Cleveland, Ohio collapsed, creating a sinkhole that swallowed the back end of a camper.  A spokesperson from the Department of Water said a sewer collapsed, creating a hole that is 15 feet by 15 feet and seven feet deep. (picture courtesy of WEWS-TV) 

Headlines
After years of waiting, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has told the city of Wabash, Indiana what it needs to do with regards to its stormwater and sanitary sewers. Mayor Bob Vanlandingham was quick to point out that the work would involve millions of dollars and would almost certainly result in higher sewer bills in the near future to build up funds for the work to be done over the next 20 years.

In Oakland, California, an advisory issued Wednesday after sewage spilled into a harbor was lifted Thursday night when the water was deemed safe.

A water main break has closed a section of state Route 256 in Baltimore, Ohio.

Iowa City, Iowa likely will complete an emergency project to replace sewer lines damaged during the 2008 flood. If the lines are not replaced, they could release sewage directly into the Iowa River. Engineers estimate the project will cost more than $1 million but the city expects FEMA to reimburse 90% of the cost.

Sewer Rate News
Baytown, Texas
Jeffersonville, Kentucky
Russellville, Arkansas
York, Nebraska

October 16, 2008

Thursday Headlines: Funding Needed for Washington, DC Sewage Plan

Posted in Alabama, Alaska, DC, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin at 11:47 am by bengann

This Washington Post story is a couple of weeks old but is emblematic of the problem throughout the country.  Water and sewer bills in the Nation’s capital will increase dramatically if the federal government does not bear the burden of a $2.2 billion sewage management plan mandated to reduce pollution of the region’s waterways. The project is required to meet the city’s obligations under the Clean Water Act.

Headlines
Scientific American takes a look at Milwaukee’s sewer system. Since 1994, a 26-mile deep water tunnel has been keeping Milwaukee’s sewage from spilling into Lake Michigan. The deep water tunnel is just one part of a $3-billion water pollution initiative that has also upgraded 400 miles of sewer infrastructure in Milwaukee and surrounding communities.

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has released $3.3 million for two state revolving funds, including $1,655,000 for the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund and $1,671,000 for the Drinking Water Treatment Revolving Loan Fund.

A projected 100 percent to 125 percent increase in fees for sanitary sewer service and stormwater management caused concern among residents attending the city of Neenah, Wisconsin’s sixth annual town meeting.

Raw sewage is no longer flowing into the Shenango River from a Mercer County, Pennsylvania pump station. For several days, a broken line was dumping as much as 500,000 gallons of untreated waste into the river.

Sewer Rate News
Homer, Alaska
Muscle Shoals, Alabama

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