July 22, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Kane County (Ill.) Receives Disaster Aid for Storm Sewer and Drainage Projects

Posted in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia at 5:30 pm by bengann

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Kane County, Illinois has been awarded more than $2.27 million in federal disaster aid for five infrastructure projects aimed at alleviating chronic flooding. The projects—which will cost an estimated $5.3 million—are expected to create approximately 165 jobs and benefitsome 2,000 residents.

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The Montgomery County (Penn.) courthouse closed early today after a water main break on cut off water pressure to the building.

Nearly 70 homes on small lots in South Mills, North Carolina — many of which have had failing septic systems for decades — are on target to hook up to a public sewer system. The $1.6 million project is mostly funded through grants from the state’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the N.C. Rural Center.

A large sinkhole in Council Bluffs, Iowa started as a dip in the road and has just kept growing. The sinkhole is believed to have been caused by a collapsed sewer line.

In Hawaii, Maui community groups have sent Maui County a formal notice of their intent to sue the county for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility (LWRF) into the nearshore waters of West Maui.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Kingwood, West Virginia
Nipomo, California
Park City, Utah

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.

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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 20, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Penn. Governor Announces $99M for Water and Sewer Projects

Posted in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas at 11:45 pm by bengann

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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has announced the investment of $99 million in 27 non-point source, drinking water, and wastewater projects in 20 counties. Of the $99 million total, $73 million is for low-interest loans and $26 million is offered as grants. The funding comes from a combination of funds approved by voter referenda, federal grants to PENNVEST from the EPA and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards.

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The southbound lanes of a major road in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Wheaton, Maryland will remain closed tomorrow morning because of a broken water main. 4 million gallons of water gushed from the main onto the street and the amount of water and the pressure of the flow was enough to crack pavement and flood several streets.

Twelve miles of aging water mains and more than a mile of old, frequently clogged sewer lines across Gwinett County, Georgia will be replaced. The water mains run through 15 subdivisions and along key sections of residential roads.

In Louisiana, Jefferson Parish officials are asking residents of Metairie to limit their sewer system usage as they work to fix a major main break. Lift stations in the community are being shut down for repair of the main.

Local health officials have closed the Inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, California beach following contamination from a sewer line break.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Carpentersville, Illinois
Honolulu, Hawaii
Lufkin, Texas
Waco, Georgia

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.

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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 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

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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 13, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Boil Water Advisory for Six New Jersey Towns Following Water Main Break

Posted in Arizona, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Wisconsin at 5:46 pm by bengann

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A break in a 30-inch water main in Northern New Jersey has shut down part of U.S. Route 9W and is causing six communities to suffer from loss of water. The communities affected are Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Palisades Park, Englewood, Leonia and Tenafly. Affected residents may have low water pressure or no water, especially those living on upper floors of high-rise buildings.

Other Headlines
Staff at Richmond (Ind.) Sanitary District’s wastewater treatment plant have been working around the clock since Friday to resolve an issue that led suspended solids and E. coli to overload the treatment and filtration process and discharge into the East Fork Whitewater River.

In California, the city of Guadalupe is moving forward with a plan on a $4.75 million project to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. The new system, which features new headworks, a dewatering system and biological treatment system will allow the city to meet state discharge standards.

Work started today on a new sewer line in Lexington, Kentucky which will help address sewer overflow problems in one part of the city. The new 24 inch sewer line will replace a 15 inch line, that was originally built in 1966.

The city of Whitefish, Montana has begun a five- to six-week project to replace and rehabilitate underground sewer mains throughout the city.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Easton, Massachusetts
Plymouth Township, Michigan
Ripon, Wisconsin
Surprise, Arizona

July 12, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: 40 Million Gallons of Water Spills in Louisville (Ky.) Following Main Break

Posted in California, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri at 9:16 pm by bengann

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Water has finally stopped spilling out of a broken 48-inch water main in Louisville, Kentucky, but not before spewing more than 40 million gallons across the University of Louisville campus and curtailing drinking water to 75,000 residents. Flooding was severe enough to cancel classes at U of L. Meanwhile, hundreds of central Louisville homes and businesses were coping with the temporary loss of water pressure that put them under a boil-water advisory — even as the heat index climbed well past 100 for a second straight day.

Other Headlines
The city of Taunton, Massachusetts’ aging sewer infrastructure is getting a major upgrade, as workers are in the midst of a project to repair and replace failing pipes across the city. In fact yesterday, workers replaced a 111-year-old clay pipe. The work is part of a larger project to prevent the city’s sewer system from overflowing into the Taunton River.

Two broken water mains in Fort Lauderdale occurred miles apart today and caused a huge mess on the streets and in the water. City officials are stumped regarding the cause of the two pipe ruptures, but they speculate the high temperatures may have caused the pipes to burst.

Crews with the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District are cleaning up and making repairs after a sewer line broke and leaked sewage in north St. Louis County.

A break in a wastewater main in Milford, Iowa has sent untreated sewage spilling into West Lake Okoboji. Residents have been advised to keep their children and pets away from the shoreline and out of the water for the next 48 hours.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bay City, Michigan
Tulare County, California
Yuba City, California

July 11, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Advisory Issued for Beach in Bellingham, Washington

Posted in California, Idaho, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin at 5:14 pm by bengann

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In Washington, a beach advisory has been posted for Wildcat Cove in Larrabee State Park because tests have consistently shown increased levels of fecal bacteria that exceed federal standards for clean water. Sewage spills or leaks were the biggest culprits in Washington state in 2010, causing 67 percent of beach closing and advisory days.

Other Headlines
The city of Jerome, Idaho needs a plan that will convince the EPA it’s doing everything necessary to get its wastewater treatment plant up to snuff following sewer overflow problems tied to the dairy industry. Without a plan in place, the city stands a stronger chance of a lawsuit and steep EPA fines. The city’s initial estimates put the necessary work on the plant at $3.25 million.

The public disclosure that Rialto, California’s water system needs $42 million in upgrades and renovations is symptomatic of a national trend that civil engineers have long called alarming. Needed upgrades to its water and sewer system will have to be paid for through rate increases. Rialto has not raised its wastewater rates in 10 years and water rates in seven years.

For the Milwaukee (Wisc.) Metropolitan Sewer District is planning to install new, smaller screens to remove debris, trash and plastic containers from wastewater flowing into the Jones Island sewage treatment plant, as well as other upgrades at the 25-year-old preliminary treatment facility, the project is estimated to cost $14.9 million.

Water was restored to the 30 homes in Winchester, Massachusetts last night which were impacted by a water main break. Although the water is back on the Department of Public Works needed to come out today to clean the streets of mud and make needed repairs to the road.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Fredonia, New York
Hayward, California
McLean, Virginia

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

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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

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