March 31, 2009

Tuesday Headlines: Heavy Rain Causes Major Sewer Overflows in SW Alabama

Posted in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia at 12:23 pm by bengann

In Southwest Alabama, heavy rain last week resulted in at least a million gallons of untreated sewage flooding into area creeks, rivers and ultimately Mobile Bay. Bacteria levels in local waters will remain above EPA standards for safe contact for the next several days.

Water officials in Durham, North Carolina say a road will be closed for several hours today while crews work to repair a break in a 20-inch water main that is affecting 50-60 customers.

Officials in Lafayette, Indiana have declared a sewer emergency after it was discovered that a sewer pipe had deteriorated to half its normal size.  The project could cost as much as $800,000 and will take several months to complete.

A city committee in Denton, Texas voted Monday to spend more than $200,000 in federal stimulus funds to replace a sewer line. Under the plan, the city would allocate a large share of its Community Development Block Grant funding from the economic stimulus for the project.

Planners in Lake Placid and the Adirondacks are learning just how stiff the competition is for federal stimulus water and sewer funding. So far, the state has received $11 billion worth of requests for the $216 million available.

Sewer Rate News
Bedford County, Virginia
Cape Coral, Florida
O’Fallon, Missouri
Phoenix, Arizona

March 30, 2009

Monday Headlines: Two More Sewer Overflows in Columbus, Georgia

Posted in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Virginia at 9:50 pm by bengann

The weekend’s heavy rains caused two large sewage spills in Columbus, Georgia. More than five inches of rain overwhelmed the storm sewer system leading to almost 140,000 gallons of untreated wastewater to enter the Chattahoochee River.

The New York City Comptroller has proposed using federal stimulus money and other solutions to spare city water ratepayers from another rate hike.

Cheansing, Michigan is struggling to separate its storm sewer from the sanitary sewer by the end of 2010. The deadline was set in 2000 by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality as part of an ongoing project that would greatly reduce the potential for sewer overflows.

The state of Virginia has released $1.5 million to the city of Lynchburg for use in the combined sewer overflow program. Over the past decade the state has given over $20 million to fund a replacement of city’s largest sewer line.

Sewer Rate News
Benton, Arkansas
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
St. Lucie County, Florida

March 27, 2009

Friday Headlines: Sewer Main Collapse in Fort Wayne Keeps Road Closed

Posted in California, Delaware, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Washington at 3:12 pm by bengann

Following up on a story from Tuesday, officials in Fort Wayne, Indiana say it will take longer than expected to fix a 30-foot deep sinkhole that’s closed a street near the city’s downtown since the weekend. The sinkhole was caused after a 125 year-old brick sewer main collapsed.

Residents in Seabrook, New Hampshire will have to pay about $2.5 million less for their new water treatment plant thanks to the federal stimulus money allocated to the town. Construction of the new plant is expected to begin this summer.

Doheny State Beach, in Dana Point, California  reopened today following a sewage spill that forced swimmers, surfers and divers out of the ocean Monday.

The state of Washington has received 347 applications totaling $416 million for the $38 million from the economic stimulus devoted to water projects. 

The city of Hesperia, California will pay $6 milion for a new sub-regional wastewater facility with the goal is to make the city’s water supplies stretch further for an ever-growing population.

Sewer Rate News
West Cape May, New Jersey
Wilmington, Delaware
Xenia, Ohio

March 26, 2009

Thursday Headlines: St. Louis Proposes $2 Billion Sewer System Upgrade

Posted in California, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Vermont at 10:16 pm by bengann

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, the nation’s fourth largest sewer system, has proposed a $2 billion sewer improvement project to last several decades aimed at correcting the city’s sewer overflow problem. It’s the largest public infrastructure improvement in the region’s history. Customers would pay for most of the improvements through increased sewer rates.  

In California, arguments between urban and rural water districts may slow down how fast the $280 million in wastewater infrastructure from the economic stimulus can be used for projects. At the heart of the argument, urban lawmakers have taken exception with guidelines for projects that they believe benefit poor rural areas but keep poor areas of large cities from getting any funding. The state legislature is working on amending the rules to allow urban water districts to apply for grant funding that rural water districts are already eligible to receive. 

State and local officials in Vermont are trying to figure out which communities will benefit from millions in federal stimulus money for drinking water and sewer projects.

A 20-inch sewer line  in a Tampa, Florida neighborhood has broken for the third time since September. City officials say they won’t know how much sewage flowed into a nearby creek until tests are completed.

Fort Madison, Iowa, a small city in the southeastern part of the state, has reached an agreement with the EPA to implement a plan addressing  combined sewer overflows into the Mississippi River.

Sewer Rate News
Del Mar, California
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Waukee, Iowa

March 25, 2009

Wednesday Headlines: Stimulus Funds Likely for Projects in Portsmouth, N.H.

Posted in Alabama, Connecticut, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia at 6:07 pm by bengann

Portsmouth, New Hampshire has received preliminary approval for $7.2 million in funding through the federal economic stimulus package for two infrastructure projects. The two projects expected to receive money are a continuation of a sewer separation project and replacement of a water treatment plant. 

Some Mayors in the state of Vermont are unhappy over which drinking water and wastewater projects are being funded with funds from the economic stimulus bill.

Alabama Governor Bob Riley has formally asked the White House to guarantee Jefferson County’s bonds as part of a debt-restructuring plan to solve the $3.9 billion sewer debt crisis.

According to the local utilities department in Charlotte, North Carolina, about 182,000 of partially-treated sewage spilled into a local creek on Saturday.

Classes at Cheyney Univerity in Pennsylvania were cancelled today and the campus was closed after a water main break today. The break prevented anyone on campus from drinking water from the tap or using it for bathing.

Sewer Rate News
Cape Charles, Virginia
Fairhope, Alabama
Huntington, West Virginia
Norwich, Connecticut

March 24, 2009

Tuesday Headlines: Part of San Diego Without Drinking Water After Break

Posted in California, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island at 1:00 pm by bengann

Homes and businesses in a large portion of northern San Diego are without drinking water after a 24-inch water transmission pipeline burst on Sunday possibly contaminating the water supply. The city has ordered about 140 restaurants to shut down, and residents are being asked to use bottled water or boil their tap water.

The state of Rhode Island has announced $150 million in federal grants and low-interest loans will be available for drinking water and sewer projects because of the federal stimulus legislation. The state estimates $149 million in proposed sewer projects and $20 million in proposed drinking water projects are considered “shovel ready.”

A sewage spill in Mission Viejo, California forced the closure of the Doheny State Beach on Monday. The closure comes two weeks after a 25,000 gallon sewage spill closed the beach.

Crews in the Niagara Falls, New York are working to repair a water main that broke and flooded a neighborhood, forcing some residents out of their homes.

A 125-year-old brick sewer pipe in Fort Wayne, Indiana caved in on Sunday creating a sinkhole and closing a portion of the road to all traffic. The road is expected to be closed two to four days as repairs are made.

Sewer Rate News
Gerber, California
Zanesville, Ohio

March 23, 2009

Monday Headlines: Colo. Communities Struggle Maintaining Water Systems

Posted in Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania at 12:32 pm by bengann

Smaller communities across Colorado are having a difficult time maintaining their drinking water systems and meeting stricter federal requirements for those systems. Despite receiving $32 million in stimulus funds to help finance drinking-water projects, the money is only a down payment on the state’s existing needs. To illustrate this point, requests for state aid to improve water systems have increased from $800 million to $1.3 billion since 2005.

Most of the water projects in Allegany County, Maryland will be funded with money from the economic stimulus money. The city of Cumberland will receive $6 million to help upgrade its wastewater treatment plant, and the town of LaVale will receive $1.3 million to rehabilitate an  interceptor.

Fulton County, Georgia is likely to have to pay huge fines after spilling almost 1 millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Chattahoochee River in the first few months of 2009.

Two to three feet of water flooded streets and caused road closures near Fenway Park in Boston after a water main break ruptured shooting water 25-feet in the air.

A long-awaited sanitary and storm-sewer replacement project designed to alleviate flooding and sewer backups in Moosic, Pennsylvania is now under construction. The project will provide relief to some residents who have experienced flooding and sewer backups for several decades.

Sewer Rate News
Dryden, New York
Sea Isle City, New Jersey

March 20, 2009

Friday Headlines: Calif. Communities Want Stimulus Funds for Water Projects

Posted in California, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma at 3:26 pm by bengann

In California, the demand for stimulus funds for water and sewer projects is much greater than the money available. The Department of Public Health has received 2,274 drinking water project proposals with a total value of $6.8 billion, but California can expect to receive only $168 million from the federal stimulus. On the wastewater side, the State Water Resources Control Board is in a similar position, with $280 million to distribute and initial requests that already surpass $1 billion.

State legislators in Eastern Oklahoma are encouraging area municipalities to apply for stimulus funds for water and sewer infrastructure projects. The economic stimulus includes $31 million each for Oklahoma’s CWSRF and DWSRF programs,  and also includes $70 million for USDA Rural Development’s Water and Wastewater loans and grants.

Jeffersonville, Indiana sewer customers are likely to see their rates double in the next two to four years as the city makes $47.6 million in improvements to its sewer system to eliminate frequent overflows after heavy rains and comply with federal mandates.

Next month, Lansing, Michigan will roll out the next phase of its Combined Sewer Overflow project. Lansing is in the 18th year of a 30-year plan to eliminate sewer overflows from entering into the Grand River.

Following up on a story from Wednesday, it will cost  the city of Springfield, Massachusetts more than $500,000 to repair Wednesday’s water main break that spilled more than 5.5 million gallons of water.

Sewer Rate News
Fremont, Ohio
Lakemore, Ohio
Liberty Center, Iowa

March 19, 2009

Thursday Headlines: Fines Likely for Georgia Community After Overflow

Posted in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia at 5:03 pm by bengann

Water officials in Columbus, Georgia  could face stiff fines after more than five inches rain overwhelmed the system causing 1.5 million gallons of sewage to spill into the Chattahoochee River over the weekend.

In California, a five-year plan of over $22 million in upgrades is planned for the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District’s sewer system and water treatment facilities, prompting officials to propose annual rate hikes to pay for the improvements.

A sewer line failure resulted in the discharge of untreated sewage in Graniteville, South Carolina today. The public has been advised to avoid contact with waters around and downstream of the overflow.

The state of Texas will receive nearly $342 million from the economic stimulus for improvements and protection of public water supplies.

Iowa Governor Chet Culver has announced that the city of Centerville will receive a federal award of $600,000 to replace its aging and damaged storm sewer system.

Sewer Rate News
Albemarle County, Virginia
Ashland, Oregon
El Dorado, Arkansas
Vernon, Michigan

March 18, 2009

Wednesday Headlines: West Virginia City Receives Grant to Correct Overflows

Posted in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, West Virginia at 3:35 pm by bengann

Shinnston, West Virginia has received a $866,000 federal grant to help finance upgrades that should prevent sewage overflows into the West Fork River. The town plans to spend $4.5 million to upgrade its collection and treatment system.

The state of California’s Central Valley Water Board has issued more than $225,000 worth of fines to local districts for violations at their wastewater treatment plants.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has extended its deadline for pre-applications for municipalities that wish to get onto the fund’s project priority list as part of the federal stimulus package. To be eligible for this funding, applications must be received by March 25.

City commissioners in Enid, Oklahoma were presented options for borrowing money through the Oklahoma Water Resources Board for a new wastewater treatment plant, installation of a new automated water reading system and construction of two water towers.

A major water main break this morning in Springfield, Massachusetts forced the closure of schools and caused traffic detours. An estimated 5.5 million gallons of water spilled into the street, climbing to the tops of the wheel wells on some cars.

Sewer Rate News
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Huntington, West Virginia
Mission Springs, California

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