June 30, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: St. Louis Agrees with EPA to $4.7 Billion, 23-Year Plan to Upgrade Sewers

Posted in California, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Dakota at 6:40 pm by bengann

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Sewer bills are in line for big increases in St. Louis (Mo.) to cover a $4.7 billion, 23-year plan to stop sewage from bubbling into the area’s rivers and stream. The plan is part a consent decree reached with EPA. St. Louis is one of many older urban areas that face the common problem of sewer overflows, mainly because of combined sewer systems dating to the 19th century.

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The city of Sioux Falls (S.D.) has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed after its storm and sanitary sewer systems failed in 2004 and hundreds of homes flooded. The settlement creates a fund of $1.95 million that, if approved by a court, will allow about 160 people to recoup some of their losses.

Today the city of San Diego launched an $11.8 million water purification demonstration project to test the feasibility of turning wastewater into drinking water. The city relies almost exclusively on water imported from the Colorado River and the Sacrament-San Joaquin River Delta — increasingly expensive sources over which San Diego has little control.

In Idaho, a regional wastewater plant to serve both Hansen and Kimberly came one step closer to fruition after the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality awarded the project a $25,000 grant.

The failure of one of two water mains in Humphrey, Nebraska left the town’s residents without water for about two hours while stopgap repairs were accomplished.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Midland, Michigan
Nortonville, Kentucky
Scituate, Massachusetts

I’m taking Friday off. Enjoy your 4th of July weekend. We’ll post again on Tuesday, July 5.

June 29, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Study Says 2010 One of Worst Years for Polluiton-Related Beach Closures

Posted in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, National, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin at 5:36 pm by bengann

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The Natural Resources Defense Council’s has released  its annual beach water quality report which reveals that bacterial contamination at many beaches across the nation still poses risks to swimmers’ health. Last year was one of the worst in two decades for pollution-related beach closures and warnings, partly due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and storm water runoff.

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A water main break in a Sacramento, California neighborhood yesterday flooded three city blocks and left business owners scrambling to keep the water from flooding their shops. The water was several inches deep across a road, leaving an intersection impassable to traffic during the height of the evening rush hour. At least six businesses have interior flooding, and employees at some businesses are using sandbags to try and keep the water out.

Oak Ridge North, Texas has decided to move forward on phase two of its sanitary sewer rehabilitation project at a cost of over $730,000. Phase two of the project involves replacing the 40-year-old existing pipeline. The project is being funded through the Clean Water SRF.

The town of Southington, Connecticut will spend $184,000 to repair sewers in a neighborhood that has been plagued with sewage backups into homes, which had been occurring because so much stormwater leaks into the pipes during rain storms that their capacity is overwhelmed, forcing sewage back into houses.

Construction is set to begin in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania to install new sanitary sewer lines as part of a $1 million project. Completion of the project is expected this fall.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Abbotsford, Wisconsin
Mulberry, Arkansas
Ripon, Wisconsin
Shepherdsville, Kentucky

June 28, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Overworked Treatment Plant in Bellevue, Neb. Leads to 12-Foot Geyser

Posted in Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, South Carolina at 8:35 pm by bengann

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A sewer treatment plant in Bellevue, Nebraska blew a manhole lid from a bolted platform, creating a 12-foot geyser of water. The Papio treatment plant, which handles municipal sewage from Douglas and Sarpy County, suffered the break when a box culvert, which discharges treated sewage from the plant to the Missouri River, could no longer handle the intense pressure caused by excessive waste.

Other Headlines
Parts of Interstate 70 in downtown St. Louis reopened this morning after repairs were made to a sewer line break which had shut down the highway since early Sunday morning.

In Alabama, the Jefferson County Commission and the court appointed receiver of its sewer system are on stand still for 30 days. Commissioners will use the time to try to negotiate a settlement with creditors and the state on the $3 billion sewer debt.

With nearly 25 percent of Bloomington, Illinois’ sewer lines dating back to the 19th century, the city will next month begin a study of its sewer infrastructure needs to determine how much of it needs replaced and what it will cost.

Residents in New Rochelle, New York are being advised to stay away from the Long Island Sound after a small amount of sewage leaked into the water following a sewer backup.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Cleveland, Ohio
Taylors, South Carolina
Waukee, Iowa

June 27, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Public Health Warning Issued in Pensacola After 2.2M Gallon Sewage Spill

Posted in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia at 11:28 pm by bengann

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A public health warning is in effect for the waters near the University of West Florida after 2.2 million gallons of raw sewage spilled from a nearby sewer main into the surrounding wetlands. “This illustrates the problems we are facing to address our crumbling infrastructure and we are doing that; obviously not fast enough,” said Emerald Coast Utilities Authority board member Lois Beson. “This is a regrettable occurrence, but we will be diligent in finding all of these problem areas and fixing them.”

Other Headlines
Pollution in Illinois waterways has improved dramatically but state and federal environmental officials say it’s still not good enough, and that too many cities still have antiquated sewer systems that route sewage and storm water through the same pipes, causing them to overflow during heavy rains. EPA has ordered cities to submit plans by the end of September for how they will limit overflows to no more than four per year or capture 85 percent of the volume when the systems do overflow.

The New Jersey State Environmental Commissioner expects the state legislature to approve $44 million in funding for stormwater projects aimed at restoring Barnegat Bay.

The City of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania  has moved one step closer to pursuing a $9.4 million loan to upgrade the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The city would be responsible for 50 percent of the loan’s cost, with the other municipalities that receive sewer service from the city picking up the other half.

On Saturday and again on Sunday, a water main break at Kansas City International Airport has shut down water supply to part of Terminal A and slowed traffic near the terminal.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Fall River, Massachusetts
Falls Church, Virginia
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Tega Cay, South Carolina

June 23, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Sewer Debt May Have Them on Verge of Bankruptcy

Posted in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma at 5:17 pm by bengann

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The Alabama court-appointed receiver in charge of managing Jefferson County’s sewer system — as well as its defaulted warrants and swaps — is demanding that the county turn over $75 million from its general fund. The demand for millions from the municipality could be the catalyst that forces Jefferson County to file for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Other Headlines
Owosso, Michigan had a sewer overflow of approximately 40,000 gallons on Tuesday and Wednesday after 2.71 inches of rain fell in the area over the last two days.

USDA has awarded $2.7 million to Rockland, Maine for upgrading its sewers.  Rockland City Manager Rosemary Kulow said, “In these challenging economic times, municipalities and their citizens can use all the financial assistance they can get, especially when it comes to the expensive replacement of old, worn out utility infrastructure.”

In more news concerning USDA awards, Stuttgart Arkansas will receive a $7 million loan from the agency for the purpose of replacing 26.5 miles of drinking water infrastructure which provides service to 2,000 customers.

15-year municipal bonds carrying a an interest rate of just over 3 percent will be issued to finance a $2.4 million in sanitary sewer improvements in Granite Falls, Minnesota, one of the largest utility projects every undertaken by the city.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Antioch, Illinois
Bay Village, Ohio
Clermont County, Ohio
Locust Grove, Oklahoma

I will not be posting tomorrow but look for the next post on Monday, June 27.

June 22, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Federal Judge Accepts Agreement by Evansville (Ind.) to Upgrade Sewers

Posted in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin at 7:59 pm by bengann

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A federal judge has accepted an agreement between Evansville, Indiana and federal and state regulators that gives the city nearly 20 years to upgrade its sewer system to prevent frequent discharges of raw sewage into the Ohio River and other waterways. The Water & Sewer Utility also must pay a civil penalty of $490,000 — $70,000 to the state and $420,000 to the federal government — as part of the settlement.

Other Headlines
Overflows of combined sanitary and storm sewers to local rivers and Lake Michigan ended this morning in Milwaukee. A state permit allows Milwaukee’s Metropolitan Sewer District to skip treatment of up to 60 million gallons of wastewater in 24 hours under extreme storm conditions when both the Jones Island and South Shore treatment plants are at capacity and combined sewer overflows have started.

Atlanta residents will see another increase in their water bill with the city raising rates 12 percent starting in July. It will be the eighth time in eight years the city has raised water rates. The revenue will go toward overhauling the city’s sewer system which has been badly neglected over the years.

More than two inches of rain in less than 48 hours pushed streams to their banks and caused two sewage overflows in Duluth, Minnesota. Approximately 350,000 gallons of rain and untreated sewage leaked from one of its wastewater treatment plants with a smaller amount spilling from another treatment plant.

Appleton, Wisconsin will use methane gas it extracts from sludge that flows into its wastewater treatment plant to heat the facility beginning next month. When the process starts, the city will be one of the last large cities in the state to adopt the green trend of producing heat from methane.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Aurora, Illinois
Cheswick, Pennsylvania
Louisa, Virginia
King George County, Virginia

June 21, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Small Illinois Community Needs $1.5 Million in Sewer Repairs

Posted in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York at 6:45 pm by bengann

Top Story
Repairs to South Beloit, Illinois’s faulty sewer system will cost the city about $1.5 million, according to a study by city engineers. The community of over 8,000 must now determine how they will pay for these needed repairs, and are considering a low-interest loan from the Illinois EPA via the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program.

Other Headlines
The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority has awarded a $1 million to Raburn County to finance sewer system improvements along State Road 441 between Dillard and Mountain City.

In Michigan, the Ottawa County Health Department has issued a no body contact advisory for the Macatawa River and Lake Macatawa after a 50,000 gallon raw sewage spill.

And in more Michigan news, the city of Ann Arbor is planning to embark on a project to relocate 825 feet of sanitary sewer lines at the site of a proposed transit center. The project is estimated to cost $1.2 million.

Leaders in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York  are expected to approve a $6.6 million contract for a private company to operate the town’s largest wastewater treatment plant . Officials estimate the five-year agreement could save the town $2 million over the course of the five-year pact.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Annapolis, Maryland
Lexington, Kentucky
Newmarket, New Hampshire
Solana Beach, California

June 20, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Study Finds More Money Needed to Fix Milwaukee Sewers

Posted in Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin at 7:30 pm by bengann

Top Story
A task force in Milwaukee finds the city must spend more to repair its aging sewers to reduce the catastrophic effects of extreme storms. Storms last July poured up to 9 inches of rain across much of the Milwaukee area, with some neighborhoods receiving more than 3.5 inches of rain in one hour. The deluge caused millions of dollars’ worth of property damage with more than 9,000 homeowners asked for special flood debris pickup.

Other Headlines
A disinfection system that would help curb the level of E. Coli pumping into the Mississippi River is one step closer to becoming reality in Memphis, Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has issued a draft permit for Memphis to install this disinfection system at two treatment plants. The disinfection system is already in place in most other large cities.

Millions of barrels of salty, toxic wastewater from natural-gas wells in Pennsylvania are coming into Ohio despite efforts to keep it at bay. Unlike Pennsylvania, Ohio’s geology supports brine-injection wells. From January through March, nearly half the brine that went into disposal wells in Ohio came from Pennsylvania and other states.

Due to a rainstorm on Saturday, Portland, Oregon’s combined sewers overflowed into the Willamette River. City officials recommend that the public avoid the river for 48 hours after the rain has stopped.

Hundreds of East Baltimore residents who have been without water since Saturday are expected to have service restored this evening. The initial cause of the disruption, a break in a 20-inch main, was repaired early this morning, but three additional small water service lines also broke when they started allowing water to flow through the repaired main.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clarksville, Indiana
Hall County, Georgia
Keizer, Oregon
St. Clair County, Michigan

June 15, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: 25 Percent Rate Hike for Jefferson County (Ala.) Proposed

Posted in Alabama, California, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Oregon, South Dakota, West Virginia at 8:29 pm by bengann

Top Story
A court-appointed receiver says Jefferson County, Alabama, should raise its sewer rates by 25% in order to help repay bondholders and avoid filing what would be the largest bankruptcy in municipal history. Jefferson County has $3.2 billion in sewer debt. BNY Mellon asked for a receiver for the sewer system when it sued the county in 2008, alleging that county officials had mismanaged the system’s finances while accumulating more than $515 million in payment defaults.

Other Headlines
Clarksville, Indiana residents could see their monthly sewage bills double and their drainage fees rise 15 percent to pay for a $20 million upgrade of the town’s sewage plant and storm drainage system.

Heavy rains today caused Portland, Oregon’s’s combined storm and sanitary sewers to overflow, sending untreated sewage into the Willamette River. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services warns the public to avoid recreational activities in the river until 48 hours after the rain has stopped.

In California, work is beginning on replacing a mile of main sewer line near the Sonoma County Sanitation District plant, where a sinkhole developed last year when the aging pipe collapsed. The work includes a second pipe that will carry recycled wastewater that will be used for agricultural irrigation. The cost to replace the main is $2.3 million, with economic stimulus money covering the $500,000 cost for the recycled water line.

A precautionary boil water advisory in Beaver, West Virginia caused local restaurants to shutdown their soda machines for most of their lunch rush period.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clinton, Iowa
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
St. Clair, Michigan
Warrenton, Oregon

I’m off the next few days. Blogging will resume on Monday, June 20

June 14, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: St. Louis Sewer District Considers Settling with Federal, State Regulators

Posted in Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Vermont, Virginia at 7:53 pm by bengann

Top Story
Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District officials are seriously considering a settlement in a lawsuit brought in 2007 by both the Federal government and state agencies over its massive violations of the Clean Water Act. The settlement would cost the district $4.7 billion in system upgrades over 23 years, and another $2.8 million in penalties. Such a settlement would also lead to substantial increases for residents in the district.

Other Headlines
Vermont’s commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation says almost every town in the state needs to upgrade at least a portion of its water or sewer infrastructure, and communities should start planning now how to pay for it.

The Town of Vienna, Virginia is weighing whether it should retain ownership of its water and sewer system or if instead it should sell its water and sewer system. Retaining ownership would mean the town would have to invest at least $12 million in improvements over the next 10 years. However, the town would need to sell its water and sewer systems for at least $28 million to be compensated for its costs.

In Michigan, construction is expected to start next week on a new four-mile sewer pipeline that will link Bear Creek Township’s sewer system with the Harbor Springs Area Sewage Disposal Authority’s treatment plant.

Some residents in Oahu are being asked to conserve water due to a break in a 16-inch water main. The break cancelled classes and activities at Windward Community College and closed the Kaneohe District Court.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bangor, Maine
Corpus Christi, Texas
Dexter, Michigan
Gross Pointe Woods, Michigan

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