July 6, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Wisconsin Community Receives “F” for Sanitary Sewer Maintenance

Posted in Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin at 7:34 pm by bengann

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The city of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin received a grade of “F” in 2010 from the state Department of Natural Resources for its lack of sanitary sewer maintenance. And due to sanitary sewer overflows this year the best grade the city can hope in 2011 is a “C”.

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According to local officials in Bradenton, Florida, about 3.5 million gallons of raw sewage escaped from a broken pipe last month, sending floods of sewage into the area around the city’s wastewater plant and through storm drains to the Manatee River.

Increased groundwater is taking a toll on the sanitary sewer system in Council Bluffs, Iowa which saw two sanitary sewers collapse over the Fourth of July weekend, adding to the four that previously suffered breaks.

Ground was broken today on a new wastewater treatment facility at Tioga Downs, a casino and racetrack in Nichols, New York. The new plant, which can process 75,000 gallons a day, is needed to accommodate a new hotel to be built at the site.

On the New Jersey Turnpike, the John Fenwick Service Area on the northbound side of the turnpike and the Clara Barton Service Area on the southbound side were closed Tuesday night following a water main break which disrupted water service to the service areas.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Annapolis, Maryland
Caledonia, Mississippi
Chesterfield Township, Michigan
Omaha, Nebraska

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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.”

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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 6, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Penn. Treatment Plants No Longer Treating Wastewater from Drilling

Posted in California, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina at 8:21 pm by bengann

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Pennsylvania’s environmental regulators believe that companies drilling in the huge Marcellus Shale natural gas formation have largely stopped taking salty, chemically tainted wastewater to riverside treatment plants that are ill-equipped to remove all the pollutants. Many of the largest drillers have said they have stopped the practice and now either reuse nearly all the wastewater that gushes from gas wells or truck it to Ohio for disposal in that state’s approximately 170 underground injection wells.

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In Hawaii, the public was advised to stay out of Kaneohe Bay and Windward Oahu and North Shore on waters on Saturday because of sewage spills and storm runoff from Saturday’s heavy rains.

St. Augustine Prep School in Richland, New Jersey has expanded its wastewater treatment system to handle the treatment needs of the school for the foreseeable future.

The Las Vegas-area clean water agency that won a crucial $62 million Nevada Supreme Court ruling that changed the way the governor and Legislature handled the state budget is liquidating its assets. The Clark County Water Reclamation District and the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas formed the coalition in 2002 to address the valley’s growing sewage problem, but the bad economy halted growth and dried up the connection charge revenue that was expected to fund most of the work.

Work continues filling sinkholes along Middletown, Ohio’s Great Miami River bike path. The sinkholes were caused by corroded sewer piped and flooding of the river. It’s estimated the price tag so far to make repairs is close to three-quarters of a million dollars.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Gastonia, North Carolina
Lake Wylie, South Carolina
Lee County, Florida
St. Louis, California

May 19, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Study Says 15 Billion Gallons of Sewer Overflows in Michigan in 2011

Posted in California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania at 9:03 pm by bengann

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A new study by a Michigan trade association shows that almost 15 billion gallons of raw or partially treated sewage has been dumped into the state’s rivers, lakes and streams since the beginning of the year. By far the biggest polluter is Wayne County which has discharges 13.4 billion gallons of raw or partially treated water since the beginning of the year.

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Akron, Ohio and the federal government are getting closer on a $1.3 billion agreement to curtail the city’s overflowing sewers. Funding the first of the sewer projects could cost Akron as much as $120 million over the next two years. That could trigger sewer-rate increases of another 45 percent in 2012 and 40 percent in 2013.

Work to begin decommissioning a sewer plant in Ocala, Florida will not be going forward this year as planned. The city’s Water and Sewer Director asked the City Council to keep the plant on-line for roughly four more years to give him time to learn what, if anything, the city will be required to do to reduce the nutrients of nitrogen and phosphates coming from the city’s sewer plants.

In Pennsylvania, officials in the borough of Sewickley says a $5.5 million upgrade of the borough’s wastewater treatment plant is nearing completion. The project includes an upgrade of several specific areas of the plant and brings it into compliance with state environmental regulations.

The West Campus of Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida has been closed for classes and operations through the weekend because of a water main break.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bangor, Maine
Hinsdale, Illinois
Lemon Grove, California
Portland, Oregon

May 16, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Water Main Break Snarls Traffic for Beach-Bound Motorists

Posted in California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina at 5:20 pm by bengann

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Some people expecting to go to the beach yesterday were instead treated to a day stuck in traffic, after a ruptured water main shut down U.S. 98 eastbound in Gulf Breeze, Florida on Sunday morning, causing a day-long traffic snarl that stretched as far as downtown Pensacola.

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The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says about 1 million gallons of untreated sewage has flowed into Steele Creek because of a sewage line break. Steele Creek merges into Sugar Creek, which eventually feeds into the Catawba River.

The City Council in Winnebago, Minnesota has decided to move forward with a sanitary sewer project.  The total cost of the project will be nearly half a million dollars, with 28 connections being impacted by the new project, 24 of them businesses.

The borough of Freeport, Pennsylvania wants the state to declare its multimillion-dollar storm sewer solutions too costly for customers. The state could grant extensions to the project until government funding is found to reduce the burden, which could take from six to 12 years.

EPA has presented a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund award to Missoula County, Montana for water system improvements to the Lewis and Clark Subdivision. In 2009, Missoula County was awarded $572,400 in economic stimulus funding to provide reliable water to residents in the subdivision, a low-income neighborhood.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Brooktrails, California
Massena, New York
Northville, Michigan
Novato, California

May 6, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Citrus County (Fla.) Beach Closed After High Bacterial Count in Water

Posted in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee at 7:35 pm by bengann

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In Florida, the Citrus County Parks and Recreation Division have put up the no swimming signs at the Ft. Island Gulf Beach Park after the county Environmental Health Department found high bacterial counts in the most recent water samples. The beach had been open to swimming for a month up until Thursday, after having been closed to swimming for a number of consecutive weeks prior to that.

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Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s plan to ax a $750,000 grant appropriation aimed at helping the town of Brady replace its ailing water system has officials there grappling over what to do next.

When the Upper Hocking Wastewater Treatment Plant begins pumping sludge this summer, it will mark the end of a $50 million construction project on what officials in  Lancaster, Ohio have called the largest public works project in the city’s history.

An estimated 100,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Jump and Run Creek in Harnett County, North Carolina on Thursday after a force main break.

In Pennsylvania, several Bucks County municipalities and water authorities will receive state grants totaling $9.8 million to help pay for various water and sewer projects.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bend, Oregon
Columbia, Tennessee
Louisville, Kentucky
Newburgh, Indiana

This blog will not be updated next week as I will be at the 2011 NUCA Washington Summit. Regular posts will return Monday, May 16.

May 5, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Palm Beach, Broward Losing 33 Million Gallons of Water Per Day

Posted in California, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia at 9:07 pm by bengann

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The utilities that supply water to South Florida residents are losing more than 33 million gallons every day — all while users are being asked to cut back lawn watering in the name of conservation. The lost water is costing area cities hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and fixing the problems will cost millions.

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A $15 million project to upgrade the wastewater collection system at the naval base in Guam is nearly one-third complete, bringing the island’s largest military base closer to its updated targets for capacity and reliability at the Apra Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The sewer system in Minnewaukan, North Dakota, was inundated Wednesday evening – for the second time in a week – by floodwaters from the growing Devils Lake.

In Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) has awarded $7.5 million in three grants for wastewater projects in Lycoming County. The grants are awarded through the CFA’s H2O PA Program, which provides grants to independent agencies, municipalities or municipal authorities for the construction of drinking water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer projects or to help repair, rehabilitate or remove high-hazard unsafe dams.

The Valley Falls Public Service District in West Virginia has announced it is shutting water off due to some Morgan County residents after a water main break.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clarkston, Washington
Coon Rapids, Minnesota
Cupertino, California
Kauai, Hawaii

May 4, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Oceanside (Calif.) Could be Fined $10 Million for December Sewage Spill

Posted in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia at 7:58 pm by bengann

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Oceanside, California could face a fine of up to $10 million for a huge sewage spill which released nearly 5.4 million gallons of untreated sewage into Buena Vista Creek last December from a broken pipe. Initially city officials reported only 180,000 gallons were released into the environmentally sensitive creek. The city could be fined as much as $10 million for the incident.

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As part of a consent order negotiated with Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the city of Augusta will adopt a five-year program of preventive maintenance of underground sanitary sewer lines, instead of simply treating backups when they occur.

With no end in sight to Chicago’s chronic water pollution problems, environmental groups filed a lawsuit yesterday seeking to stop the routine dumping of human and industrial waste into the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The complaint comes as the federal and state EPA and the Department of Justice inch closer to a legal deal intended to address the pollution problems.

Officials in Shepherdstown, West Virginia have started the process to increase capacity and decrease sewer overflows by renovating and upgrading its wastewater treatment facility at a cost of $9.6 million. The project will double the capacity of the treatment plant to 800,000 gallons and is being financed mostly from a low-interest loan through the SRF.

In Florida, a break yesterday in a 48-inch water main in Miami-Dade County caused flooding to local homes and business, stranded an empty school bus and has closed streets while repairs are being made.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Graham, North Carolina
Lathrop, California
Milpitas, California
Waynesboro, Virginia

April 18, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Water Main Break Sends High School Students Home Early

Posted in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina at 11:10 pm by bengann

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A water main break at Hernando High School in Brooksville, Florida prompted school officials to send students home early today. The break caused the campus to lose water pressure causing the school Superintendent to make the decision to send students home early.

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In North Carolina, the Thomasville City Council has unanimously voted to accept a state emergency loan to replace the Baptist Children’s Home sewage collector line.

It has taken almost nine years but an advanced wastewater treatment plant to reuse and treat wastewater for irrigation in Lake Placid, Florida is almost complete.

Congressman Dave Loebsack has announced that Appanoose County, Iowa was awarded a $565,000 grant and a $280,000 loan from the USDA to improve its wastewater facilities.

Public Works crews in Woodland, California were fixing a 15-foot-wide sinkhole yesterday after a break in an eight inch water line cause the road to cave in.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Carroll County, Georgia
Davenport, Iowa
Madison County, Alabama
Northampton, Massachusetts

April 11, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Proposal to Move Iowa’s Water and Sewer Loan Fund Criticized

Posted in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee at 11:51 am by bengann

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Critics fear that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s proposal to shift a state program that helps fix sewer systems and drinking water plants to a new economic development authority could be a money grab. If enacted, the legislation would shift control of the water and wastewater loan programs from the Department of Natural Resources and the state Finance Authority to a new economic development authority.

Other Headlines
Several blocks of in downtown Durham, North Carolina were shut down Saturday, after a 12-inch water main burst.

Officials in Minneola, Florida hope the city’s dismal financial picture will brighten a bit after agreeing to refinance Minneola’s nearly $15 million debt on a new wastewater-treatment plant.

Grand Island, Michigan faces a series of challenges in repairing its aging wastewater system. Among the problems facing the city has critical deterioration in three of its main sewer collector lines and at the headworks of the wastewater treatment plant. Immediate repair needs total about $45 million.

People in Casselton, North Dakota had to conserve water this weekend when the city’s sanitary sewer system became overworked.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Asheville, North Carolina
Bartlett, Tennessee
Delran, New Jersey
Madison County, Alabama

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