January 29, 2009

Thursday Headlines: House Passes Stimulus Bill, Heads to Senate

Posted in California, Michigan, National, Wisconsin at 6:51 pm by bengann

Yesterday, the House passed the $819 billion economic stimulus bill by a vote of 244-188. No Republicans supported the bill and 11 Democrats joined the House GOP in opposition. The legislation has up to $19 billion in funding for environmental infrastructure, including $6 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)  and $2 billion Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).

The bill now goes to the Senate where it will be considered next week. Senate Appropriations has proposed $4 billion for the CWSRF and $2 billion for the DWSRF.

Boston Globe Misleads on Stimulus
In it’s headline “Only 5 Percent of $819b Plan Would Go Toward Infrastructure,” the Boston Globe says that only $42 billion in the House stimulus package will be spent on infrastructure. Wrong. The statistic they refer to is only for surface transportation and fails to recognize all the other infrastructure investment–including funding for water and wastewater projects–that is in the bill.

Some critics of the stimulus have fairly pointed out that more money in the bill should be devoted to infrastructure. But by just doing my back of the envelope math there is at least $90 billion in infrastructure funding in the House legislation. Should there be more money for infrastructure in the bill? Probably, but given the chronic under investment in infrastructure by the federal government it is a step in the right direction and the Boston Globe story portrays the bill as having much less infrastructure investment than it actually does.

Clean Water Council Released Jobs Study
The Clean Water Council (CWC) has released a new economic impact report produced by the globally-respected PA Consulting Group’s Market Analytics Division (PA) supporting the contention that investment in clean water infrastructure creates significant economic benefits right away. The report finds that for every $1 billion in investment in water infrastructure nearly 27,000 jobs are created.

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Cassopolis, Michigan
Milpitas, California
Waupun, Wisconsin

January 28, 2009

Wednesday Headlines: House Set to Vote on Economic Stimulus Today

Posted in California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, National, New Jersey, Pennsylvania at 4:20 pm by bengann

The House of Representatives is set to vote today on a $825 billion economic stimulus plan which has $19 billion in water projects–including $6 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and $2 billion for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). Should the legislation pass the Senate is expected to take up its own version of the legislation next week with an estimated cost of $888 billion. The Senate version currently includes $4 billion for the CWSRF and $2 billion for the DWSRF.

The American Scoiety of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, giving it a grade of D. Drinking Water and Wastewater both received grades of D-minus. ASCE estimates that $2.2 trillion in investment is needed over the next 5 years to meet the nation’s infrastructure needs. Click here for more on the Report Card. 

A list of capital projects totaling $120 million, will be submitted by the city of Cumberland, Maryland to state and federal officials for consideration in the federal stimulus package being considered in Washington. The list includes $47.5 million for seven sewer overflow sites in the city.

A six vehicle crash this morning in Des Moines, Iowa is being blamed on a water main break that left a two to three inch sheet of ice on the road creating hazardous driving conditions.

Philadelphia’s elevated high-speed elevated subway service, known as the El, was disrupted this morning after a water main break caused a sinkhole that SEPTA officials feared had compromised a nearby support column.

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Grantville, Georgia
Howell, New Jersey
Jackson County, Florida
Oceanside, California

January 26, 2009

Monday Headlines: Groups of Senators Call for Major Investment

Posted in Michigan, National, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas at 8:15 pm by bengann

A group of U.S. senators has called for major investment in water and sewer infrastructure projects as Congress begins consideration of economic recovery legislation.  In a letter to congressional leadership, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Robert Casey (D-PA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have outlined how federal water and sewer infrastructure investment can create new jobs and economic development while responding to critical environmental needs.

A leak in a 12-inch water main disrupted service Saturday to several hundred customers across a wide section in the northern part of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

A 24-foot stretch of pipe in Greenville, North Carolina had to be removed Friday afternoon when a water-main break caused the road to buckle.

The Utilities Department in El Paso, Texas says a 12-inch pipe busted Friday flooding the area for most of the day and forcing some businesses to close for the afternoon. 

In New York, an analysis by the Observer-Dispatch estimates that it would take over half a billion dollars to repair the Mohawk Valley’s decaying infrastructure. The total cost of sewer district needs for Oneida County, Herkimer County and city of Utica is $620 million.

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Batavia, New York
Grand Haven, Michigan
Rockford, Michigan

January 23, 2009

Friday Headlines: Beach Closures in Florida After Water Main Break

Posted in California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania at 12:35 pm by bengann

In Palm Beach County, Florida, three beaches have been closed to swimmers after a broken pipe leaked raw sewage into the Intracoastal Waterway.

A water main break disrupted service to about 150 households in Binghamton, New York on  Thursday and left some residents coping with a boil-water advisory.  Workers replaced 7 to 8 feet of the 8-inch main which was originally installed in the 1960s.

Water main breaks throughout Rochester, New York kept crews working from the early morning hours through Thursday afternoon to clean out flooding from several businesses.

Friday morning, a water main break had been repaired in Charlotte, North Carolina but the two outbound lanes of major thoroughfare were still shut down this morning. Drivers said they waited in an hour of stop-and-go traffic trying to drive out of Charlotte Thursday evening. 

Water main breaks are causing headaches for Lansing, Michigan residents. Many neighborhoods are dealing with broken water mains this week, and the Board of Water and Light says it’s a typical problem this time of year.

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Antioch, California
Sharon, Pennsylvania
Tulare, California

January 22, 2009

Thursday Headlines: Water Main Break Disrupts Commuter Rail Service

Posted in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York at 12:55 pm by bengann

Crews worked overnight to repair a water main break that disrupted Metra commuter rail service in Elgin, Illinois.  The rupture located under one of the tracks happened during the busy evening rush hour. Metra had to bring in shuttle buses to get commuters to their final stop.

The town of Milford, Massachusetts has submitted to federal officials a $1.2 million “shovel-ready” project to patch and repair its system of cracked sewer pipes as part of economic recovery legislation.  While hoping for federal dollars, commissioners are starting system repairs to comply with a consent order from the EPA to stop sewer overflows caused by wet weather events.

The Mayor of Marion, Indiana has told residents that proposed sewer projects could cost millions of dollars more than the proposed $62.7 million and may be as much as $100 million.  Under a federal mandate the city must repair and replace its water and sewer infrastructure to reduce sewer overflows.  

A large water main break at an intersection in Clifton Park, New York has interrupted water service to most of the town’s water customers. The city has issued a boil water advisory for the entire town.

A water main break between the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Aberdeen, Maryland and a popular restaurant and rest stop reduced traffic to a single lane along I-95 and backed traffic up for five miles.

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Cape May, New Jersey
Daleville, Indiana
Olean, New York
Randolph, Massachusetts

January 21, 2009

Wednesday Headlines: Water Main Break Floods Shopping Mall

Posted in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas at 1:21 pm by bengann

A broken water main is to blame for flooding the Norwichtown Mall in Norwich, Connecticut on Monday. The entire mall was filled with about six to eight inches of water before the utility company finally turned the water off. The mall remains temporarily closed.

Officials in Alexandria, Indiana are considering two options for controlling its combined sewer overflow. Both options would cost approximately $11 million to execute, all Indiana communities are required to develop long-term control plans to limit the amount of overflow into the water by 2015.

Failing pumps at the Airport Wastewater Treatment Plant in Galveston, Texas caused sewage to overflow into ditches near Lake Madeline last week. Although crews were able to contain 300,000 gallons of the 800,000 gallon spill, most of the sewage ended up in the lake.

The city of Cape Coral, Florida wants $1.1 million to repair a major pipe to make sure a large sewer overflow event does not happen. City officials have seen evidence of corrosion on the 42-inch wide, 4,500-foot-long pipe leading into the sewage treatment plant, and if the pipe were to break, the city would have to shut off sewage service to thousands of customers until it was fixed.

A law office in Lansing, Michigan is drying out after a water main break Monday night left the lower level of the office flooded with two feet of water that soaked up offices and paperwork. Employees will be out of the building for about a week.

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Chapel Hill, Tennessee
El Dorado, Arkansas
Folkston, Georgia
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January 19, 2009

Monday Headlines: 90,000 Residents Without Water Service After Mains Break

Posted in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia at 1:25 pm by bengann

At least 90,000 people in parts of Prince George’s County, Maryland were without water on Saturday as more than 20 water main breaks affected the area. Officials blame freezing weather and aging infrastructure for the breaks, which snarled traffic and bogged down emergency crews days before the presidential inauguration.

An SUV fell into a giant sinkhole caused by a water main break which knocked out water pressure for a large portion of Winthrop, Massachusetts on Saturday. (picture courtesy of WHDH-TV)

In Paw Paw, Michigan, emergency 911 telephone service in Allegan and Van Buren counties had to be re-routed to neighboring dispatch centers Sunday after a water-main break affected equipment at a local Verizon office.

Police and firefighters were called out to a senior citizen apartment building in Philadelphia Sunday morning after a 4-inch water pipe broke in the basement of the building.

Around 1,500 customers of the Birmingham, Alabama Water Works were without water Saturday afternoon after an eight-inch water main break.

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Brooklyn, Indiana
Colonial Beach, Virginia
Forsyth County, Georgia

January 16, 2009

Friday Headlines: Kansas City Seeks Federal Funding for Sewers in Stimulus

Posted in California, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 2:56 pm by bengann

Kansas City, Missouri is looking for help from the proposed economic recovery legislation to pay for part of its $2.4 billion in federally mandated sewer upgrades. Kansas City has identified $300 million in “shovel-ready” projects where construction could begin immediately if funding was provided.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is considering paying nearly $5 million more than originally planned to complete a sewer project in The Flats section of Cleveland, even though it’s unclear if a planned neighborhood will ever be built.

In California, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) has reached an agreement with regulators about fixing its a sewage overflow system. The settlement requires EBMUD to spend at least $2 million a year to speed repairs. EBMUD  has estimated fixing the problems could take up to 30 years and cost several hundred millions dollars.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is repairing a water main break in College Park, Maryland that has damaged seven homes and left 10 customers without water. The 55-year-old pipe may have failed due to exposure to a few days of 40 degree weather followed by a string of 20 degree temps.

Crews in Greensburg, Pennsylvania are braving the bitterly cold temperatures today while they make repairs to a large water main break. The break set water gushing over the road, creating icy conditions and affecting traffic.

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Arma, Kansas
Jackson, California
Pawling, New York

January 15, 2009

Thursday Headlines: D.C. to Have Special Crews for Water Main Breaks During Inauguration Weekend

Posted in California, Colorado, DC, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia at 1:04 pm by bengann

City officials in Washington, D.C. said Wednesday they will deploy special road crews during the extended inauguration weekend to fix broken water mains after two in the past three days have snarled already barricaded-and-detoured downtown streets.

In Pennsylvania, the borough of Hanover will be taking a major step in the next few months in complying with state mandates to upgrade its sewer system. Since 2006, the borough has been raising sewer rates gradually from $250 to $400 now yearly for the average household to offset the costs.

A 12-inch water main break snarled rush-hour traffic this morning at a major three-way intersection east of Cleveland in East Richmond, Ohio.  Witnesses at the scene said water was running down the road creating icy conditions.

The extremely cold temperatures may be to blame for a water main break in a Cincinnati neighborhood early this morning. Water was seen shooting several feet into the air for about an hour before the being shut off and salt trucks dispatched to help combat the sheet of ice forming on the road.

A major road in Foster Township, Pennsylvania was closed and three customers were without water after a main break on Wednesday. There was no estimate as to when the main would be fixed and the road re-opened.

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Antonito, Colorado
Kenova, West Virginia
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January 14, 2009

Wednesday Headlines: Water Main Break Closes Street Near Verizon Center

Posted in California, DC, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, West Virginia at 2:59 pm by bengann

Repairs to an 8-inch water main are underway near the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.  Authorities shut down 7th Street between G and H streets after a bus slid sideways down the ice-covered street this morning.

Public works crews in Springfield, Missouri replaced a broken water main blamed for creating a void underneath the street and filled the 10-feet by 10-feet hole overnight. The break disrupted the flow of water to parts of one neighborhood.

A Maryland state delegate yesterday called on Anne Arundel County officials to spend money allocated for bay restoration on upgrading sewer pumping stations along two heavily polluted creeks.

In San Diego, a sewage spill that made its way to the Pacific Ocean and a surfing Park has prompted health officials to put up warning signs Tuesday. The overflow of wastewater was caused by blocked sanitation line.

A work crew is on the scene of the latest water main break in Wormleysburg, Pennsylvania. The leak buckled pavement in several places. This is the latest in what some have called a rash of water main breaks in the area.

A midday water main break yesterday in Natick, Massachusetts left residents and businesses along a nearly one mile-long stretch without water for up to 10 hours yesterday.

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Ellettsville, Indiana
Pentwater, Michigan
Point Pleasant, West Virginia

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