September 30, 2009

Wednesday’s Water News: Municipalities Under Pressure to Upgrade Systems

Posted in California, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, National, Texas, Virginia at 6:18 pm by bengann

Engineering News-Record examines the challenges facing municipalities as aging wastewater treatment systems reach the end of their useful life and stricter regulations for removing nutrients. Here is quote from the article detailing where most of the funding comes from for these improvements.

Glen Daigger, senior wastewater technologist at Englewood, Colo.-based CH2M Hill, says municipalities spend approximately $50 billion a year on maintenance and upgrade projects. The stimulus money, which provided $4 billion for the clean-water state revolving fund and $2 billion for the drinking-water SRF, is a drop in the bucket compared to what’s needed, he says. “The funding source for municipal water and wastewater systems is the ratepayers. That’s where the bulk of the money is coming from, and that’s where the bulk of the money will come from in the future.”

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September 29, 2009

Tuesday’s Water News: Leaky Water Main Causes Bay Bridge Lane Closure

Posted in California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia at 6:43 pm by bengann

An eastbound lane of the Bay Bridge connecting Oakland and San Francisco was closed today after a water main began leaking water onto the lower deck of the bridge.

The former supervisor of the Fort Gibson (Okla.) wastewater treatment plant was sentenced to six months of home confinement and fined $5,000 for falsifying statements about water quality at the plant.

In Virginia, the Hampton Roads Sanitation District has agreed to pay a $900,000 civil penalty after overflows from its collection system and nine sewage treatment plants polluted the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Students at Johnsonville High School in Johnsonville, South Carolina were dismissed early today because of a water main break in the area.

Stimulus Spotlight
Findings from a new International Joint Commission report says a large amount of stimulus funding should be spent on improving infrastructure to avoid millions of gallons of sewage overflowing into the Great Lakes.

Sewer Rate News
Miami Beach, Florida
Rochester, Minnesota
Rome, Georgia
Warren County, Ohio

September 28, 2009

Monday’s Water News: Water Main Woes Continue in Los Angeles

Posted in California, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas at 11:31 pm by bengann

A water main ruptured in Los Angeles this morning, interrupting service to dozens of customers in what is the latest in a series of breaks in L.A.’s water system. The rupture comes on the heels of other water main breaks reported over the weekend. Some experts have speculated that the city’s recent decision to allow sprinklers to be used only on Mondays and Thursdays may be increasing stress on aging pipes because of sudden changes in pressure.

Cleanup continues in the Baltimore suburb of Dundalk after a massive water main break two weeks ago. 33 homes are still without power following the incident. Traffic delays near the area of the break are expected for another two to four weeks while repairs continue.

In Savannah, Georgia, water in the Oatland Island area has been deemed safe after discovered this weekend and according to the Georgia Environmental Protection Department, the waters are safe after 112,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Richardson Creek before they were able to fix the damaged line.

The North Carolina Division of Water Quality has fined the city of Thomasville over $35,000 after a wastewater spill in July and August allowed 15.93 million gallons of raw sewage to enter neighboring creek.

Stimulus Spotlight
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has awarded the city of Blackfoot a low- interest loan of $4 million via the economic stimulus  for improvements to the city’s drinking water system.

Sewer Rate News
Clute, Texas
Mandan, North Dakota
Troy, Missouri

September 25, 2009

Friday’s Water News: In Baltimore, Over 5,000 Water Main Breaks Since 2000

Posted in Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah at 6:00 pm by bengann

Following last week’s massive water main break near Baltimore, a local television station investigation of the area’s water infrastructure points out that there have been more than 5,000 breaks in the Baltimore area since 2000. It is estimated that Baltimore would need $2 billion to fix all its water mains.

One of the largest infrastructure projects in Ironton, Ohio’s history will start on October 5 as work crews will start on the city’s $12 million sanitary sewer re-lining project.

A major water main break in Sandy, Utah caused flooding close to the eastbound off-ramp on Interstate 15.

Stimulus Spotlight
In North Dakota, more than $3.7 million in federal stimulus funds will go toward the Cass Rural Water District to build a pipeline that will improve water supply services in the area.

State officials in North Carolina have announced the reallocation of about $7.7 million in economic stimulus funding to 12 communities for green drinking water projects and two communities for wastewater infrastructure projects.

Sewer Rate News
Denmark, South Carolina
Hot Springs, South Dakota
Webb City, Missouri

September 24, 2009

Thursday’s Water News: Civil Engineers to Examine L.A.’s Water Main Breaks

Posted in California, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina at 2:50 pm by bengann

In Los Angeles, a panel of civil engineering experts will try to determine what has caused more than 35 water main breaks during the first three weeks of September. Although the number of breaks is not unusual for a city the size of L.A.,  experts are surprised the number of severe breaks recently.  

Part of a major Tampa thoroughfare was closed to traffic on Wednesday after a major water main broke, causing water damage to the sidewalk and a traffic pole.

Untreated wastewater overflowing from a blocked sanitary sewer line in San Diego led on Wednesday to a coastal pollution alert for a neighboring beach.

A ruptured sewer main in Macon, Georgia left work crews waist deep in the Ocmulgee River, stacking sandbags where the busted concrete main had formed a 15-foot-wide sinkhole at the rising river’s edge.

Stimulus Spotlight
The city of Lake Worth, Florida  expects to get $2.5 million in federal stimulus money toward building a reverse-osmosis water treatment plant and a deep injection well, resolving a long debate about how to meet the city’s future water needs. The overall cost of the project is estimated at $25.1 million.

Sewer Rate News
Colfax, California
Columbia, South Carolina
Williamsport, Pennsylvania

September 23, 2009

Wednesday’s Water News: Public Works Official Resigns After Massive Sewage Spill

Posted in Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin at 6:07 pm by bengann

In North Carolina, a 32-year veteran of the City of Thomasville’s Public Works department has resigned after the largest sewage spill in the state in over a decade went unreported for about 20 days until an environmentalist notified federal investigators.
The EPA, along with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, is suing the city of Evansville for multiple violations of the federal Clean Water Act.
A water main break in Decatur, Alabama caused more than 2.5 million gallons of water to spill, forcing the local high school to close for the day while work crews repaired the broken pipe.
Traffic piled up Tuesday evening in Rutland, Vermont after a water main break, causing a steady stream of flooding to close two lanes of northbound traffic for about half a mile.
Stimulus Spotlight
The city of Escondido, California will receive $3.25 million in federal stimulus money to replace six miles of aging water lines. Funds from the stimulus money will cover only half the cost of the $6.5 million project. The remainder will come from a low-interest state loan the city plans to pay back over a 20-year period.

Sewer Rate News
Big Spring, Texas
Dothan, Alabama
Germantown, Wisconsin
Sanford, Florida

September 22, 2009

Tuesday’s Water News: Senator Cardin Urges Action on Senate Water Bill

Posted in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, National, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota at 4:56 pm by bengann

Following the massive water main break this past weekend in the Baltimore suburb of Dundalk, Senator Ben Cardin took the Senate floor today urging action on the Water Infrastructure Financing Act (S. 1005) which would authorize $20 billion for the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $15 billion for its Drinking Water State Revolving Fund over the next five years.

The high school in Decatur, Alabama was closed Tuesday morning because of a major water main break near the school that forced officials to cut off water to the school to make repairs to the 16-inch pipe.

In Georgia, some Houston County homeowners woke up with no water this morning after a water main break that also caused the pavement to rise causing a sinkhole.

Construction will begin Wednesday in Saint Joseph, Michigan to put in new sewer lines and water mains. The construction is the first of three phases to comply with the stae’s Department of Environmental Quality mandate to eliminate overflows and separate the storm runoff sewers from the sanitary sewers.

Stimulus Spotlight
Residents  in Peterborough, New Hampshire will be able to vote on Wednesday at a special town meeting whether the town should accept federal stimulus funds for a proposed $1.16 million water system improvement project and $220,000 to construct a low impact development stormwater drainage system.

Sewer Rate News
Arma, Kansas
Mitchell, South Dakota
Silver Creek, New York
West Branch, Michigan

September 21, 2009

Monday’s Water News: Water Main Break Soaks Baltimore Suburb

Posted in California, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 6:38 pm by bengann

Water gushed for hours Friday from a broken 72-inch water main in the Baltimore suburb of Dundalk, flooding several communities, drenching a shopping center, washing out a main road to the southeastern Baltimore County peninsula and stranding dozens or area residents.

The latest in a string of water main blowouts in Los Angeles causing a sinkhole on Lincoln Boulevard. Since September 1, there have been 34 “major blowouts” in L.A.’s water system in which streets have flooded and pavement has buckled.

A water main break Sunday in San Diego closed a major thoroughfare in a neighborhood and left dozens of businesses and residents without water.

In Hyde County, North Carolina, a ruptured sewer line spilled about 28,000 gallons of untreated sewage into the waters of Swan Quarter Bay upstream of the Swan Quarter Ferry Canal.

Stimulus Spotlight
Federal stimulus funds are helping New Jersey and Pennsylvania put a dent in completing much-needed clean-water and wastewater projects, and create jobs. For example, w.ork has already started on a $4.3 million project to update Atlantic City’s water delivery system. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is receiving $220 million in stimulus funds for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

Sewer Rate News
Eureka, California
Kent, Ohio
Leo-Cedarville, Indiana
South Hadley, Massachusetts

September 18, 2009

Friday’s Water News: Another Day, Another Water Main Break in L.A.

Posted in Alabama, California, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, Washington at 12:46 pm by bengann

A major state highway in Los Angeles was shut down during the afternoon commute yesterday after another broken water main flooded the street and sent dirty brown water pouring into nearby businesses. This is the fourth major water main break this week in L.A.

Separate water main breaks the California cities of San Carlos and San Bruno occured in the early morning hours this morning causing minor flooding but no injuries.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has announced that he and the state’s Department of Environmental Management have signed a consent decree to spur the city of Jeffersonville’s sewer operation. The city has projects planned including construction of a new water treatment facility and improvements to downtown areas that experience recurring overflow problems.

Stimulus Spotlight
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has chosen the city of Great Falls wastewater system for funding from the economic stimulus bill. The funding improvements consist of $390,700 in principal forgiveness and $359,300 at an interest rate of 1.75 percent and a loan period of 20 years.

$6 million from the economic stimulus will help Ocean Shores, Washington, a city of approximately 4,500, finally get the water treatment plant it has needed for over 20 years.

Sewer Rate News
Alabaster, Alabama
Chino, California
Ontario, Ohio

September 17, 2009

Thursday’s Water News: Los Angeles Can’t Explain ‘Major Blowouts’

Posted in California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas at 5:35 pm by bengann

City engineers in Los Angeles don’t know why underground water pipes in the city have suffered significantly more “major blowouts” in the last three months. City officials have noted that the blowouts underscore the fact that the city’s aging water system, which has 7,200 miles of pipe and moves 600 million gallons of water a day, needs an upgrade.

The city of Jeffersonville, Indiana has agreed to make extensive improvements to its sewer systems that will significantly reduce the city’s longstanding sewage overflows into the Ohio River.

Wednesday’s rainstorm in Portland, Oregon caused the city’s sewer system to overflow into the Willamette River leading the city to issue an advisory against any recreational activity in the river until 48 hours after rain has stopped.

In Inkster, Michigan, classes and activities have been cancelled Thursday and Friday at the city’s high school because of water main break repairs. The school has been closed all this week because of the break.

Stimulus Spotlight
Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved yesterday distributing $119.2 million in federal economic stimulus funds for fixing and upgrading water and sewer systems, restoring streams and ponds and creating wetlands.

Sewer Rate News
Clute, Texas
Ridgway, Colorado
Sayre, Pennsylvania
Tampa, Florida 

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