June 30, 2009

Tuesday’s Water News: GAO Releases Study on Clean Water Trust Fund

Posted in Georgia, Michigan, National, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee at 6:18 pm by bengann

Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study titled Clean Water Infrastructure: A Variety of Issues Need to be Considered When Designing a Clean Water Trust Fund.

GAO was asked to (1) obtain stakeholders’ views on the issues that would need to be addressed in designing and establishing a clean water trust fund and (2) identify and describe potential options that could generate about $10 billion in revenue to support a clean water trust fund.

In designing and establishing a clean water trust fund, stakeholders identified three main issues that would need to be addressed: (1) how a trust fund should be administered and used; 2) what type of financial assistance should be provided; and 3) what activities should be eligible to receive funding from a trust fund. Click here for for a summary of the study.

Headlines
On Thursday of last week, the Senate Appropriations Committe approved $2.1 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), $1.39 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and $150 million for targeted water and sewer projects as part of the FY 2010 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. And on Friday, before the Independence Day District Work Period, the House of Representatives passed the FY 2010 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill by a vote of 254-173, which includes $2.3 billion for the CWSRF, $1.44 billion for the DWSRF and $160 million for targeted water and sewer projects.

A water main break in Oklahoma City poored thousands of gallons of water onto the streets and into the buildings near downtown including a church charity.  The water flowed unabated outside causing a sinkhole, which nearly swallowed the charity’s minivan.

Stimulus Spotlight
The city of Valdosta, Georgia is receiving $10 million in federal economic stimulus funds as part of an expansion of a wastewater treatment plant.

Sewer Rate News
Dyersburg, Tennessee
Holly, Michigan
Warren County, Ohio

June 23, 2009

Tuesday’s Water News: Senate Appropriations Subcommitte Approves Infrastructure Funding

Posted in California, Connecticut, Michigan, National, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington at 8:25 pm by Colleen Wetherill

The Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously approved legislation this morning that would cut environmental agencies’ spending by $200 million from what the House appropriations approved. The measure includes $3.6 for water and waster infrastructure.

Headlines
Beaches that have been closed in Greenwich, Connecticut due to heavy rainfall and sewage overflows have now been reopened. Byram Beach still remains closed to swimmers, however, because the rainfall in the shallow cove caused more concern.

A plugged valve caused an estimated 10,000 gallons of sewage to spill into a creek in Grass Valley, California. Valley officials are investigating why an alarm system didn’t sound when it happened. Signs have been posted warning people of the bacteria within the creek and contact with the water should be avoided. 

Stimulus Spotlight
The Utah Water Quality Board meets Wednesday to consider requests involving the Ogdan River Restoration Project and 12 other similar projects around the state. The Ogdan River could be restored to a natural wider river channel that could accommodate higher flows, and reduce urban encroachment for $7.25 million. Ogden officials are hoping up to $4 million will come from federal stimulus money.

Sewer Rate News
Detroit, Michigan
Monroe, Pennsylvania
Spokane County, Washington

June 22, 2009

Monday’s Water News: Oversight Board Proposed for Jefferson County (Ala.) Sewer System

Posted in Alabama, Arkansas, DC, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Nevada, Washington at 7:21 pm by bengann

In Alabama, Jefferson County officials have proposed an oversight board for the sewer system in an effort to get support from state lawmakers and creditors to solve its lingering sewer debt crisis. The county said the proposal is likely the last hope of reaching a solution that involves concessions to creditors.

Headlines
Amtrak halted all train service between Baltimore and Washington on Saturday because of a major water main break north of BWI  that covered the tracks with mud. 

City officials in Wichita, Kansas took bottled water to residents and businesses in a neighborhood that was without water after a ruptured water main.

The Muncie (Ind.) Sanitary District plans to borrow $9 million to clean up sewage overflow in northwest Jakes Creek and along the White River.

Stimulus Spotlight
The construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in the city of Prairie Grove is one of seven Arkansas clean water projects on a short list to get federal stimulus funding.

Sewer Rate News
Mesquite, Nevada
Milton-Freewater, Washington

June 19, 2009

Friday’s Water News: Reduction in Sewer Overflows to Help Great Miami River

Posted in Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio at 11:28 pm by Colleen Wetherill

The Great Miami River’s water quality should get a significant improvement by 2014, when the city of Hamilton, Ohio is required by the state EPA to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows.

Headlines
A $5.7 million project was delayed by a vote from the Englewood Water District of Florida after listening to intense opposition for one hour. The project was set to add roughly 500 new customers to its sewer network.

A water main break has closed a street in Wasilla, Alasaka for up to two weeks. A four foot geyser of water was created by a four foot crack running laterally down a ten inch steal pipe.

Stimulus Spotlight
In the city of Casa Grande, Arizona, the city council approved up to $2.8 million out of the $4 million in projects would be paid through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Sewer Rate News
Highland Park, Michigan
Brownsburg, Indiana

June 18, 2009

Thursday’s Water News: Same Main Breaks Again in Helena, Montana

Posted in DC, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota at 7:44 pm by Colleen Wetherill

Thousands of gallons of water gushed through the pavement of Ninth Avenue in Helena, Montana on Thursday afternoon after the same water pipe broke for the second time in nine days. Most water mains in the area of the break are more than 50 years old.

Headlines
City employees in Bradenton, Florida have closed the Palma Sola Causeway after about 1,000 gallons of sewage leaked into the water and ground area due to a force main break. Workers used lime to disinfect the area where the spill happened, however it will take several days to dilute the sewage in the water.

An overflow of sewage into the East Fork of the Whitewater River in Richmond, Indiana has been caused by recent rainfall. Residents have been advised to avoid all contact with the river water of this area for at least 72 hours.

The $14 million expansion project on the new Reedsport, Oregon  wastewater treatment facility is right on track according to officials. The project came about after the Department of Environmental Quality requested that the plant be expanded.

Stimulus Spotlight
$123 million in water and environmental projects has been pledged by the USDA for South Dakota through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including $3.68 million for the Aurora Brule Rural Water System.

Sewer Rate News
Washington, DC
Melrose, Massachusetts
Eagle Lake, Florida
Tampa, Florida

June 17, 2009

Wednesday’s Water News: Water Main Break Washes Out Road in Monitor Township (Mich.)

Posted in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, West Virginia at 8:04 pm by bengann

A major road in Monitor Township, Michigan will remain closed until some time tomorrow after a break in a 36-inch water main washed out part of the road. It is likely that the age of the main–installed in the 1940’s–was partially responsible for the break.

Headlines
It took Spartanburg (S.C.) Water crews more than 10 hours Monday and Tuesday to clean up more than 94,000 gallons of raw sewage from a small creek.

The city of Essexville, Michigan has reported a combined sewer overflow from its wastewater treatment plant into the Saginaw River.

Stimulus Spotlight
Money from the economic stimulus package continues to reach down to southwest Colorado for infrastructure projects. The latest project to receive funding  is in the town of Norwood. where they have been awarded a $540,000 grant to fix its water system.

Sewer tunnels in Cobb and Gwinnett counties are among $91.5 million in water and sewer projects statewide that the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority approved at its board meeting Tuesday. Of the 11 projects, five are at least partially backed by $40.5 million in federal stimulus money

Sewer Rate News
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Vero Beach, Florida
Waterford Township, Michigan
Williamstown, West Virginia

June 16, 2009

Tuesday’s Water News: Dover (N.J.) Residents Without Water After Main Break

Posted in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, West Virginia at 11:20 pm by Colleen Wetherill

A water main break in Dover, New Jersey left about 500 residents in three towns with low pressure or no pressure today. The town administrator speculates it was wear that caused the eight-inch main to crack.

Headlines
In Fort Wayne (IN), a water main break caused a portion of a street to close causing city utility crews to work to repair the break.

Holbrook, Arizona has been given 30 daysto file approximately two years worth of missing reports related to wastewater treatment and disposal. The city was either late or failed to submit reports describing the quality of treated wastewater, mainly used for irrigation.

The Department of Health & Environmental Control in Columbia, South Carolina is investigating another case of sewage overflow in the city. Some of the overflow may have ended up in the Columbia Canal and the Congaree River which still hold warning signs for elevated bacteria levels found earlier this year.

Stimulus Spotlight
The federal government on Monday awarded $185 million in stimulus money to the state of Massachusetts for projects aimed toward improving drinking water and the treatment of wastewater. The money will create new opportunities and jobs but a figure cannot be given as to how many will be created.

Sewer Rate News
Melrose, Massachusetts
Tampa Bay, Florida
Marietta, Ohio
Morgantown, West Virginia

June 15, 2009

Monday’s Water News: Water Main Break Floods Bronx Streets

Posted in California, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah at 5:36 pm by bengann

A water main break transformed four blocks of the Bronx, New York into a swimming pool early Sunday morning, flooding streets, cars and causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Headlines
Last week’s heavy rains caused sewage spills in several Dallas-area cities. The largest spill by far was in Fort Worth, where 1.1 million gallons spilled.

A water main break caused water to spill into a home in West Valley, Utah over the weekend causing muddy water to gush up through a crack in the sidewalk and pour into the home.

Several business, an apartment building and a hotel in San Diego were without water Saturday when a nearby 16-inch water main broke. Twelve hours after the problem was first reported, the hotel’s manager said they still did not have water.

Stimulus Spotlight
The Dayton, Ohio area is getting additional stimulus dollars to improve drinking water quality and fund water pollution control projects.  Ohio EPA has added three Montgomery County projects to its revised fundable list for economic stimulus projects.

Sewer Rate News
Grand Ledge, Michigan
Riverdale, Utah
Stillwater, Oklahoma

June 12, 2009

Friday’s Water News: Sausalito/Marin City Fined for February Sewage Spills

Posted in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 4:09 pm by bengann

The Sausalito-Marin City Sanitary District (Calif.) faces $332,000 in fines for three spills of more than 775,000 gallons of sewage that occurred in February when partially treated wastewater gushed into Richardson Bay after an underwater pipe at one of the district’s wastewater treatment plants burst.

Headlines
An equipment failure at a Barnstable, Massachusetts pumping station has caused several beaches around Lewis Bay to be closed until further notice.

Scott Township, Pennsylvania has secured a $2.5 million grant from the USDA–in addition the $15 million loan the agency had already allocated–for its long-awaited sewer project.

Stimulus Spotlight
On Long Island, the economic stimulus bill will pay $13.2 million to bring sewer service to 63 Locust Valley homes with failing septic systems, and an additional $10.4 million to build a sewer plant for a Brookhaven industrial park sited in a special groundwater protection area.

Ironton, Ohio’s persistence has netted the city federal stimulus money for its aging sewer system.  Following an April 23 setback that shut out Ironton from receiving a portion of $278 million the Ohio EPA allocated for water and sewer rehabilitation, the state agency reconsidered this week and earmarked $5 million towards the city’s sanitary and overflow sewer separation facilities.

Sewer Rate News
Middlebury, Connecticut
Springfield, Massachusetts
Wellsley, Massachusetts

June 11, 2009

Thursday’s Water News: Tunnel Project to Capture Half of Indy’s Overflows

Posted in California, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia at 6:41 pm by Colleen Wetherill

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has announced that federal officials approved a change to city sewer improvement plans that will more quickly capture billions of gallons of sewage now overflowing into the White River. A $257 million Deep Rock Tunnel Connector project will replace earlier plans to connect the city’s two wastewater treatment plants and will capture more than half of the city’s overflows.

Headlines
Heavy rain caused two sewage spills in Alamance County (N.C.) last week. The city of Graham reported a spill on Friday of approximately 9,000 gallons, while the town of Swepsonville also a reported a spill of 4,800 gallons.

The Richmond, Indiana Sanitary District expects to replace part of its aging sanitary sewer line for almost $1 million less than the original estimate. 

Stimulus Spotlight
Several Southern Colorado water projects have a good shot at receiving federal stimulus money due to the recent ranking by state water quality regulators.

Water districts in the Kansas counties of Osage and Pottawatomie will receive a total of $5.4 million in federal stimulus funds to install and replace water lines and build new water storage tanks.

Sewer Rate News
Bandon, Oregon
Rochester, New Hampshire
San Luis Obispo, California
Willards, Maryland

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