July 25, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) to Make Bankruptcy Decision Thursday

Posted in Alabama, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania at 11:49 pm by bengann

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Officials in Jefferson County, Alabama will decide Thursday whether or not to declare bankruptcy, in what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. The county has struggled for the last three years under $3.2 billion in sewer bond debt.

Other Headlines
The northbound lanes of a road in the Chicago suburb of Palatine remained closed today because of a gaping, 20-foot sinkhole caused by a sewer line that collapsed following storms on Saturday bringing about flooding and a record amount of rain.

A large water main break in Tulsa, Oklahoma flooded a neighborhood and cut off water service to many in the area near the break.

Residents in Portland, Oregon have been asked to avoid the Fanno Creek Trail after a sewage pipe leak sent out contaminated water throughout the area.

Crews with the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District were making repairs today after an eight inch sewer main broke and leaked sewage in South St. Louis County. The broken main is currently leaking into a tributary of Mattese Creek. It’s unknown how much sewage has entered the creek and its tributary.

Water and Sewer Rates
Fredonia, New York
Lincoln, Nebraska
Malden, Massachusetts
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

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July 21, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Near Bankruptcy Over $3.2 Billion Sewer Debt

Posted in Alabama, California, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin at 4:21 pm by bengann

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In Alabama, Jefferson County appears closer to declaring bankruptcy if it cannot reach a settlement with creditors regarding its $3.2 billion in sewer bond debt. If Jefferson County does declare bankruptcy it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.  County commissioners and the state’s governor have said bankruptcy remains a real option if talks with creditors fail but have still held out hopes for the talks success.

Other Headlines
A new $32 million sewer project in Johnson County, Kansas has been given the go ahead which will construct an underground effluent pipe carrying millions of gallons of treated wastewater from a treatment plant and empty into the Kansas River.

The village of Salineville, Ohio will have water service to the sewage plant terminated next week unless it pays an over $9,000 bill to the Buckeye Water District.

Officials in Muskego, Wisconsin have approved a $227,000 storm sewer project to better handle overflow in heavy rains. Work could start as early as October 1 with target completion date in late fall.

A water main break in Scott Township, Pennsylvania left about a dozen people without service on this morning.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Lewisburg, West Virginia
Los Angeles, California
Whitney, Texas
Ypsilanti, Michigan

July 19, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Jersey City to Make $52 Million in Sewer Repairs Under Consent Decree

Posted in Alabama, California, Indiana, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 7:15 pm by bengann

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The Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority under a Consent Decree reached with the Department of Justice and EPA will spend more than $52 million on sewer repairs and upgrades and pay a civil penalty of $375,000 after repeated violations of the Clean Water Act.

Other Headlines
In the Cleveland, Ohio area, swimming advisories are in effect for Edgewater Beach, Villa Angela Beach and Euclid Beach after heavy rain and sewer outfalls caused raw sewage to spill into Lake Erie.

A water main break in Lawrence, Kansas has closed several blocks of 19th Street and disrupted water service for 25 customers.

Florence, Alabama is moving forward with plans on a $1 million project to replace a 60-inch sewer line which is collapsing from ground pressure. The work will require blasting, not only because of the depth of the line but because there is a large amount of rock around it.

Public works crews in South Bend, Indiana have closed a key downtown intersection to repair a collapsed sewer line.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Johnson City, New York
Napa, California
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Steelton, Pennsylvania

July 18, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Asks Creditors for $1.3B Write Down of Sewer Debt

Posted in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee at 9:40 pm by bengann

Top Story
Jefferson County (Ala.) officials are asking Wall Street creditors to wipe out nearly $1.3 billion of the $3.14 billion sewer debt as part of a plan presented in secret last week to resolve the lingering financial problems tied to the county’s sewer system bonds.

Other Headlines
A dozen buildings within the State Capitol Complex in Oklahoma City were closed today due to water main breaks in water lines resulting in reduced water pressure. The break caused the air conditioning to malfunction and disrupted the flow of water to restroom. In addition, computer system capabilities of some state agencies are limited due to the extreme heat.

In Michigan, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s Saganing reservation has begun work on a water and wastewater treatment plant that is to serve the Saganing Eagles Landing Casino, the Saganing community center and residents of the reservation south of Standish in Arenac County.

For 11 straight days, Aberdeen, South Dakota’s wastewater treatment plant has released millions of gallons of untreated wastewater into Moccasin Creek. The city is doing what it can to remedy the situation and as wastewater continues to be discharges into the creek.

Officials in Cumming, Georgia  are moving closer to a decision that will lead to the construction of a new wastewater facility near Lake Lanier. The total project is estimated to cost about $700,000 and take about 120 days to complete.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Hazleton, Pennsylvania
La Vergne, Tennessee
Sugar Grove, Illinois
Waco, Georgia

July 14, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Near Plan to Settle Its Sewer Debt

Posted in Alabama, California, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York at 6:54 pm by bengann

Top Story
After being near the brink of insolvency for nearly three years, Jefferson County, Alabama finally has a plan to settle its $3.2 billion sewer debt and hopefully avoid the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. The plan includes a fixed-rate plan with a fixed term, modest sewer rate increases and backed by the state of Alabama’s credit rating.

Other Headlines
Citizens Energy Group will take control of Indianapolis’ water and sewer utilities in about six weeks, following state regulators’ approval of the deal.  Citizens will take over the utilities’ operations and capital projects, as well as $1.5 billion in debt. No immediate rate increases are associated with the deal, although water and sewer rates are expected to increase by triple-digit percentages over the next 15 years to pay for system upgrades.

A 19th-century water main broke this morning in the Manhattan, New York neighborhood of Chelsea flooded a street and left dozens of area residents and businesses without water. The broken 12-inch main was originally installed in the 1870s.

San Benito, California is in the process of undertaking a multi-million dollar project to address its sewer problems. In fact, in a recent study it was found that many manholes need to be repaired and that drainage needs to be improved.

Spencer, Iowa has received a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant for sanitary sewer collection improvements. Expenses for the project will be split nearly 50-50, with the city paying $650,000 of the total cost.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Hayward, California
Middleboro, Massachusetts
Reno, Nevada
Solvang, California

July 8, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Dearborn, Michigan to Start $325 Million Sewer Separation Project in January

Posted in Alabama, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia at 6:58 pm by bengann

Top Story
Starting in January, the city of Dearborn, Michigan will begin a new $325 million sewer separation project. The work represents the third distinct plan of attack for the massive combined sewage overflow project that has been in the works now for more than three decades.

Other Headlines
The state of Alabama may offer help to debt-laden Jefferson County to prevent the municipality from filing for what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in history. The county, home to the state’s largest city, Birmingham, has struggled for about three years under the weight of $3.2 billion in sewer debt after a failed bond financing.

Hundreds of fish are dead in Peters Creek after a water main broke beneath the South Park Township, Pennsylvania salt storage, carrying salty water into the creek. The break is most likely due to deterioration in the line.

In Corbin, Kentucky, two businesses out of the four that were damaged in mid-April after heavy rains caused by a sewer overflow have now reopened.

Part of a major road in Fairfax, Virginia has been blocked off due to a water main break that caused a sinkhole.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Crescent City, California
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Williamsburg, Colorado
Wilsonville, Oregon

July 7, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Northeast Ohio Reaches Consent Decree on $3 Billion, 25-year Fix for Sewers

Posted in Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania at 9:11 pm by bengann

Top Story
A federal judge has approved a $3 billion, 25-year deal for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, which includes Cleveland, to reduce the amount of untreated waste that is dumped into local waterways. The agreement reached with the EPA, Department of Justice and Ohio Attorney General’s office promises to reduce discharges of untreated waste from the current level of about 4.5 billion gallons a year to under 500,000 gallons annually by 2036.

Other Headlines
In Alabama, a judge has ruled on the side of Jefferson County in a hearing between the county and the receiver appointed to oversee its sewer system. The receiver John Young wanted to transfer $60 million of the county’s money into an account only he would have control over, but the judge ruled the transfer was illegal under state law.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has issued a warning after the city of Maquoketa discovered untreated wastewater going into the Maquoketa River. Based on flow records, the city estimates 400,000 gallons of untreated wastewater poured into the river before it was discovered.

EPA has released excerpts of responses from Pennsylvania’s six most active Marcellus Shale drillers describing how they plan to deal with their wastewater instead of discharging it through conventional treatment plants.

A water main break late Wednesday night in Lafayette, California was forceful enough to blow surrounding soil into the air and disrupt service for about 100 customers.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Flowery Branch, Georgia
Macomb Township, Michigan
Manchester, Ohio
Umatilla, Oregon

July 5, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Stormwater Contamination Increasing Shut Down of Connecticut Beaches

Posted in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington at 5:00 pm by bengann

Top Story
Connecticut’s coastal beaches in 2010 had to be shut down twice as often as in recent years between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Stormwater contamination was the cause 66 percent of the time a beach had to be closed.

Other Headlines
A state circuit court judge has set a Wednesday hearing on a request to transfer about $60 million from the Jefferson County sewer system to a corporation set up by the court-appointed receiver in charge of the system. The matter is separate from a demand made last month by the court-appointed for $75 million that the county has in reserves.

Ascension Parish, Louisiana has received more than $5 million in federal hurricane recovery money to consolidate and upgrade rural sewer services. The funding will be used to buy 14 acres of rights of way and allow parish government to build lift stations to consolidate sewer services in unincorporated areas of the parish.

The state of Ohio is set to make $1 million this year from treating wastewater from natural gas drilling sites in Pennsylvania. The amount of wastewater Ohio accepted from out-of-state drillers has jumped, in part because Pennsylvania officials this year increased pressure on drillers to keep fracking waste out of surface water.

A broken water main caused a mess in a Los Angeles neighborhood Sunday afternoon. About a half-dozen homes in Sherman Oaks were affected, including one that had its swimming pool filled with mud.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania
Hobart, Wisconsin
Newburyport, Massachusetts
Polk City, Iowa

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

Top Story
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 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

Top Story
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.

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