December 30, 2009

Top 10 Sewer Overflow Stories of 2009

Posted in National at 7:30 pm by bradhannon

We hope you like the list from yesterday on the Top 10 water main breaks of 2009. As previously noted, the daily headlines will return on January 4.  Today we’re counting down the top 10 Sewer Overflow stories of 2009. On to the list.

10. In Michigan, the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) suggested that CSOs, of partially treated stormwater and sanitary sewage, should be called “retention treatment basin discharges.” The state’s DEQ argues that the RTB label is a better one, because not all CSOs receive partial treatment in the state.

9. More than three million gallons of raw sewage poured into the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky last month. Officials said the sewage is from two sewer overflow points just upstream from a wastewater treatment plant.

8. In Columbus, Ohio, the city received approval from Ohio EPA in February to complete a $2.5 billion wet weather management plan to reduce sewer overflows. The Columbus sewer system currently discharges 1.65 billion gallons of sewer overflow in a typical year.

7. Shepard Park Beach in Lake George, New York, was closed for the remainder of the summer after a July 5 sewage spill. The beach was shut down after a pipe broke in the village’s main sewage pump station spewing nearly 10,000 gallons of pollution across the beach and into the lake.

6. In June, the giant Upper Rouge Tunnel combined sewer overflow control project was canceled Friday by Detroit city officials worried about residents’ ability to pay increased sewer fees to build the $1.2 billion project.

5. The New York Times as part of its ongoing series on the worsening pollution in America’s waters, focused on the alarming number of sewer overflows across the country. The article cited data from the EPA that  in the last three years alone, more than 9,400 of the nation’s 25,000 sewage systems have reported violating the Clean Water Act by dumping untreated or partly treated human waste, chemicals and other hazardous materials into rivers and lakes and streams.

4. Storms that pelted Mid-Missouri in October dumped more than 5 inches of rain in about a 24-hour period, causing 29 sanitary sewer overflow incidents according to the Columbia Department of Public Works–the highest number of such events from a single rainstorm in Columbia in more than 30 years.

3. A sewer overflow from a storm that dumped 6.9 inches on Morgan Hill, California caused the cancellation of a fundraiser to feed the homeless. Much of the city was underwater as the largest storm in decades hit the Bay Area.

2. More than 1 billion gallons of partially treated sewage was dumped into the Saginaw River during the first four months of the year according to the Bay City Times. The city of Saginaw was the largest contributor of CSOs to the river with approximately 904 million gallons.

1. The largest sewage spill in North Carolina in at least a decade went unreported for about 20 days until an environmentalist notified federal investigators that millions of gallons of untreated wastewater had flowed into a tributary that feeds into a lake popular with boaters and fishermen. A a 32-year veteran of the City of Thomasville’s Public Works department resigned from the fallout over the unreported spill.

That’s it for 2009. Thanks for reading. Regular posting will resume on January 4.

December 29, 2009

Top 10 Water Main Break Stories of 2009

Posted in National at 6:31 pm by bengann

The daily headlines will return on January 4. Today we’re counting down the top 10 water main breaks of 2009. On to the list.

10. A 140-year old water main in New York City burst in August causing flooding in 15 residential and office buildings. A clothing store was the most affected having as much as $50,000 worth of merchandise badly damaged.

9. It’s the kind of sinkhole you have to see to believe.  A broken water main in Pittsburgh collapsed part of Smallman Street causing a major sinkhole.

8. A road in San Francisco disintegrated several weeks ago after a 100-year-old pipe broke causing four intersections to be closed while repairs were made. The break also caused flooding, a sinkhole 20 feet in diameter. Some businesses were affected by flooding and/or sludge from the break.

7. The Mayor of Warren, Michigan declared an emergency after 42 water main breaks broke in the span of a week. The emergency declaration allowed the city to hire outside crews without the city council approval to fix the gushing breaks.

6. On consecutive days in April, Baltimore was greatly impacted by water main breaks. All city buildings in downtown Baltimore and the federal and circuit courts were closed after a massive water main break. And the following day, MARC and Amtrak train services between Baltimore and Washington were suspended after a water main break.

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

4. US Airways canceled all flights into and out of Reagan National Airport the day after Christmas when a 6-inch water main caused 200,000 gallons of water to fill the terminal. The baggage claim was closed as well as the water was ankle-deep in some areas.

3. A 22-ton Los Angeles fire engine was swallowed by a huge sinkhole caused by a water main break in the San Fernando Valley.

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

1. It’s not a single water main failure, but collectively I think it is the biggest water main break story of the year. In September, there were over 40 water main breaks in Los Angeles. The problem was so bad in fact that it led to the formation of a panel of engineering experts to examine why there were so many breaks.

December 23, 2009

Wednesday’s Water News: Water Main Break Ruins Xmas for Chicago Family

Posted in Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia at 4:38 pm by bengann

A water main break Wednesday morning flooded a basement and threatens to ruin Christmas for two young children on Chicago’s South Side after their Christmas gifts were destroyed by the flooding. Residents at the home say water poured into the basement of the house and at one point as much as five feet of water filled the unit.

Residents in Herkimer, New York received some unwelcome news this week when they learned that federal money will most likely not be paying for a much-needed upgrade to the village’s over 30-year-old wastewater treatment plant.

Cold temperatures contributed to at least two water main breaks in Danville, Virginia on Tuesday.  Subsurface movement resulting from temperature swings likely caused the brittle pipes to break

Stimulus Spotlight
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has awarded funding for 13 municipalities from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Will County, Illinois has secured $3 million in loans from the economic stimulus to finally solve a neighborhood’s water and sewer needs. The terms of loan include zero interest and must be repaid in 20 years.

Sewer Rate News
Factoryville, Pennsylvania
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Loyalsock Township, Pennsylvania
Tonawanda, New York

This is the last regular post for Water News Update for 2009. We will have a couple of Top 10 lists on Tuesday, December 29 and Wednesday, December 30.

December 22, 2009

Tuesday’s Water News: Water Main Break Soaks Omaha Neighborhood

Posted in Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington at 2:52 pm by bengann

A water main break this morning has done significant damage to a number of homes in south Omaha, Nebraska. The water got high enough to break a main window of a home and flooding it.

A sewer overflow Friday in Columbia, Missouri, sent more than 50,000 gallons of raw sewage into a tributary to Cedar Lake.

City engineers are working to repair a huge water main break in Buffalo, New York. Engineers say only a few residents nearby should see reduced water pressure while they’re repairing the damage.

A broken water main in Atlanta, Georgia forced most of the Cumberland Mall to shut down for several hours om Monday.

 Stimulus Spotlight
The city of McAllen, Texas will save more than $30 million in the upgrade of a wastewater plant after qualifying for federal stimulus dollars.

In Ohio, Tuppers Plains Regional Sewer District has received a grant through the federal economic stimulus program and loan funds to upgrade its 15 year-old sewer system.

Sewer Rate News
Akron, Ohio
Loudon County, Virginia
Somerset, Pennsylvania
Spokane, Washington

December 18, 2009

Friday’s Water News: Baltimore Streets Flooded by Water Main Break

Posted in Arkansas, California, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia at 12:25 pm by bradhannon

Maryland Public Works officials are lifting water restrictions a day after a 42-inch water main broke and flooded neighborhood streets in Northeast Baltimore. The water main break was so big and so close to a water treatment plant the entire system has been impacted.

Work crews have secured a water main break in Huntington, West Virginia that flooded streets and a viaduct. area.  The 12-inch main ruptured just before 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Theodosia, Missouri has been approved for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant for a water system improvement project.  The construction of new water mains, a new well and standpipe will provide an adequate water system for the village.

The tourist destination of Key Largo, Florida needs to borrow $30 million for its wastewater treatment district to complete its centralized sewer system with an estimated total cost of $150 million. An addition factor for Key Largo is that it costs more to install sewers in wet areas compared to dry areas.

Stimulus Spotlight
The Texas Water Development Board has approved $48 million of economic stimulus money for the city Laredo to upgrade its water treatment plant.  This grant of more than $48 million is the largest to be awarded in Texas under the ARRA and one of the largest in the United States.

Sewer Rate News
Cotter, Arkansas
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
Riverbank, California
Standish, Missouri

December 17, 2009

Thursday’s Water News: Broken Water Main Causes Sinkhole in Pittsburgh

Posted in California, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia at 5:01 pm by bradhannon

A broken water main in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania collapsed part of Smallman Street causing a major sinkhole.  The street collapse caused a wooden utility pole to drop about six feet into the hole. Traffic was detoured around the work site and four businesses were without water service.

Water service was interrupted this morning for dozens of customers in the Los Angeles area after two separate water mains ruptured.  A 6-inch  and a 12-inch main  broke affecting 45 residents and businesses.

In Cincinnati, Ohio a water main break this morning spilled water onto the road that turned to ice and created a mess on the roadway.

Stimulus Spotlight
West Virginia officials say they are optimistic about receiving  economic stimulus funds for an ambitious  regional water project that could serve more than 8,000 citizens in McDowell and Wyoming counties.

By next summer, a large new water tower emblazoned with a Corn Palace logo could stand next to Interstate 90 in Mitchell, South Dakota.  The project will be funded through the state’s SRF program and because of the economic stimulus will include 15 percent principal forgiveness.

Sewer Rate News
Cherokee, Iowa
Erie, Pennsylvania
Holland, Missouri
Muskegon Heights, Michigan

December 16, 2009

Wednesday’s Water News: DC Suburbs Use Technology to Monitor Aging Pipes

Posted in California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin at 5:10 pm by bradhannon

It was almost a year ago that a broken water main made national news when River Road in Bethesda, Maryland was flooded, stranding motorists. Now, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is highlighting technology designed to detect problems in the largest water mains that should prevent another incident like the one last year.

20 senior citizens in Bellevue, Wisconsin were forced from their apartments on Sunday after a water main break soaked portions of a retirement community.

In Seaside, California, work began this week on a $7 million water main project that will replace aging pipes prone to leaks and breaks. Work on the project will continue during the next three years.

One lane of a busy road  in Colorado Springs, Colorado was closed this morning as crews tried to fix a broken 24-inch water main under the road.

Stimulus Spotlight
Cleaner water is expected for residents of the Tennessee communities of Sewanee, Cleveland, and Athens after the cities were given more than $6.6 million in stimulus money or stimulus-assisted state loans.

Thayer, Missouri has received $4.25 million in grants and loans of federal stimulus funds through the state’s Department of Natural Resources for wastewater treatment improvements.

Sewer Rate News
Amherst County, Virginia
Berkeley County, West Virginia
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Pentwater Township, Michigan

December 15, 2009

Tuesday’s Water News: Water Main Break Closes Schools, Businesses

Posted in Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington at 7:02 pm by bradhannon

The city of Kalama, Washington, ran out of water on Monday after a water main ruptured, draining the municipal reservoir. That left most residents without water for several hours and shut down schools and some businesses. 

A break in a 12-inch water pipe in a Port Townsend, Washington neighborhood led to the temporary closure of restaurants in the area using city water.

Officials in Lyon County, Nevada  issued a boil order for a some residents in the small community of Stagecoach after a water main in the area broke Monday afternoon.

Board of Water Supply crews this morning are repairing a broken 6-inch water main in Wahiawa, Hawaii, near Honolulu.   About 20 homes were without water after the break.

Stimulus Spotlight
Several Western Slope communities in Colorado are going to have to spend millions of dollars more for various water and wastewater expansion projects because of Davis-Bacon provisions in ARRA.  The Mayor of Fruita estimates his city’s $30.9 million wastewater treatment project, which it has been planning for years and was about to start, will cost another $1.3 million because of the provision.

Sewer Rate News
Caseville, Michigan
Egelston Township, Michigan
South Williamsport, Pennsylvania

December 14, 2009

Monday’s Water News: Headaches After 100 Year-Old Pipe Break in San Francisco

Posted in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin at 10:01 pm by bengann

A road in San Francisco disintegrated Saturday afternoon after a 100-year-old pipe broke causing four intersections to be closed while repairs were made. The break also caused flooding, a sinkhole 20 feet in diameter. Some businesses were affected by flooding and/or sludge from the break.

A water main break in Duluth, Minnesota forced Miller Hill Mall to close on Monday, meaning a lost day of business for the mall during the busy holiday shopping season.

In Columbus, Ohio, a water main break  this morning shot water 50 feet in the air, disrupted traffic and left many residents without water.

The only one bid for the latest phase of the Combined Sewer Overflow project in Fall River, Massachusetts has come in  nearly $2 million above estimates, forcing the city to think about rebidding the job.

Stimulus Spotlight
Construction of a water tower in Frankfort, Illinois could begin this month, boosted by an interest-free loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.  25 Percent of the $2.68 million will not have to be repaid because of a principal forgiveness program from the economic stimulus.

Sewer Rate News
Anthem, Arizona
Berkeley  County, West Virginia
Egelston Township, Michigan
Watertown, Wisconsin

December 11, 2009

Friday’s Water News: Break Closes Library, Businesses in Lawrence (Kan.)

Posted in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington at 4:36 pm by bradhannon

A water main break Friday in downtown Lawrence, Kansas has caused the public library to shut down and two businesses–Cold Stone Creamery and Starbucks–to go without water.

In Greensboro, North Carolina, a water main break caused icy spots and closed lanes near a major intersection this morning.

A water main break has closed a major road in Johns Creek, Georgia.  Fulton County water crews are on the scene working to repair the 8- to 10-inch line. The repairs and road closures are expected  to take all day.

There is a water main break in Jefferson City. Missouri that has caused a small wave of water flowing into a street right.

Stimulus Spotlight
Federal stimulus money will help Frankfort, Illinois upgrade its water system, local officials said this week.  Mayor Jim Holland said the city is getting a 20-year, zero-interest $2.7 million loan as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Alabama environmental management agency rewarded the city of Decatur with an extra $600,000 in economic stimulus funds for drinking water projects. 

Sewer Rate News
Bristol Township, Pennsylvania
Longview, Washington
Maysville, Kentucky
Pelham, Alabama

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