May 31, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Report Finds Wrong Studs Led to Massive Water Main Break in Massachusetts

Posted in California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington at 9:54 pm by bengann

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A clamp joining two giant water pipes failed last May largely because it was held together by wrong-sized studs, investigators said yesterday in a report on the cause of the massive water main break that cut off clean drinking water to nearly 2 million residents of the Boston area for more than two days.

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In California, a federal judge has found a San Francisco Bay area sanitary district is responsible for 21 illegal sewage spills into a number of creeks and sloughs that drain into the bay. For the spills, the district could be fined up to $975,000 in federal Clean Water Act violations.

Raw sewage spilling into streets and waterways. Rodent droppings in chemical tanks that feed a public water supply. Severe disrepair at water and sewage plants. The complaints and violations at the West Milford (N.J.) Municipal Utilities Authority facilities are numerous and residents want the utility to take action.

Pierce County, Washington is planning a $305 million expansion for its wastewater treatment plant in University Place. Design work is underway with construction planned to take place between 2013 to 2016. Once completed, almost everything at the plant will get an upgrade.

The small community of South Beloit, Illinois faces steep costs in upgrading its sewer system. In addition to a series of Illinois EPA deadlines to replace miles of leaky sewer pipes, which could cost up to $5 million and take several years to complete, pending federal and state regulations on wastewater treatment standards would require the city’s plant, which is already past its design life, to be upgraded or redesigned.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Cumberland, Maryland
Elk Grove, California
New Haven, Indiana
Porterdale, Georgia

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May 20, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Chicago Under Increased Pressure to Stop Sewer Overflows

Posted in California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey at 7:31 pm by bengann

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In recent days, the federal government and environmental groups have increased the pressure on Chicago’s wastewater treatment agency to stop discharging untreated sewage into the Chicago River during storms and to disinfect the treated sewage that makes up 70 percent of the river’s flow.

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Three families are displaced as cleaning crews are mopping up a stinky mess at their homes in Boonton, New Jersey after massive pumps draining raw sewage failed Wednesday night, filling the yards and basements with several feet of waste early Thursday.

EPA is requiring the town of Exeter, New Hampshire  —  as well as other communities along the Great Bay — to reduce nitrogen pollution coming from its plant. The stricter limits will force the town to build a new plant that will cost ratepayers millions. A number of communities along the Great Bay have asked the EPA to delay final permitting for Exeter until a further scientific study is done on the effect of nitrogen pollution specifically on the Squamscott River.

In Davenport, Iowa, the City Commission wants to continue to move forward with its plan to install a sewer collection system and an additional wastewater treatment plant. Its current system can handle 150,000 gallons of wastewater per day, but the projected flow after hooking up eastern Davenport would be 155,000 gallons per day. An additional plant would allow the city to process 375,000 gallons per day.

A water main break in downtown Bangor, Maine that forced the closure of the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building today has been repaired. The federal building, which houses U.S. District Court, the local offices of the Social Security Administration and other federal agencies, was closed all day Friday.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Canton, Georgia
Holly, Michigan
Newton, Massachusetts
Tulare County, California

I am on vacation next week. All new stories will be posted to Water News Update on Tuesday, May 31. Thank you for reading.

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 26, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Breached Levee Causes Evacuation in Poplar Bluff, Missouri

Posted in California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas at 8:00 pm by bengann

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The levee along the Black River near Poplar Bluff, Missouri was breached south of the city on Tuesday morning forcing an evacuation of 1,000 people. In 2008, flooding damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes in Poplar Bluff, raising doubts about whether the levee was capable of protecting the town during heavy rain. A federal inspection gave the levee a failing grade, and the private district that maintains it has been unable to make repairs.

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The City of Dubuque, Iowa will pay a $205,000 penalty and make several changes after acknowledging it has illegally allowed hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage to discharge into the Mississippi River and a tributary for years during major storms.

Columbus, Georgia has agreed to pay the state $150,000 for sewer spills that happened in one of the rainiest years on record. As part of the agreement, the city will speed up the process of assessing, repairing and replacing its sewer system.

Officials in Kerrville,  Texas have advised residents to avoid Quinlan Creek due to contamination from a sewage spill that was blamed for a fish kill in the tributary of the Guadalupe River.

The EPA has awarded Goliad, Texas $194,000 to upgrade and elevate the city’s primary sewer line so its wastewater is treated in compliance with federal and state laws.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Belmont, California
Easthampton, Massachusetts
La Vergne, Tennessee
Rochester, Illinois

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

March 30, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Million Gallon Sewer Spill in Augusta, Georgia

Posted in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Washington at 9:05 pm by bengann

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In Augusta, Georgia, a combination of pumps failing and heavy rains caused almost a million gallons of diluted raw sewage to spill into the Phinizy Ditch, a stream that flows into the Savannah River.

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A water main which provides drinking water for an apartment complex broke yesterday in Loveland, Ohio leaving about 90 families without water.

The City of Toppenish, Washington has agreed to pay $134,500 for wastewater violations spanning a two-year period. Between 2008 and 2010, the facility exceeded levels of ammonia, zinc and copper allowed in its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit more than 1,800 times.

In a Letter to the Editor, the Executive Director of the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Water Board points out that the wastewater facility it operates may provide an economic boon to the area because the plant is capable of treating wastewater used in the hydraulic fracturing  process used to recover oil and natural gas.

A ruptured water line beneath a main thoroughfare in Pittsburg, California has created a large sinkhole, closing the road while city crews repair the damage.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Chickasha, Oklahoma
Delaware, Ohio
Hartland Township, Michigan
Sharon, Massachusetts

March 16, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Senators Introduce Bipartisan Proposal to Create Infrastructure Bank

Posted in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Montana, National, Virginia at 11:47 am by bengann

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A bipartisan Senate proposal introduced yesterday would create a national infrastructure bank to help finance the construction and repair of infrastructure, including water and wastewater systems. The idea is to attract more infrastructure investment from the private sector for projects of regional or national significance.

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It will take days to repair about 60 feet of roadway that was washed away when a water main broke earlier today in Decatur, Georgia. An aging pipe has been blamed for the mess. Two homes were evacuated after reports of flooded basements.

Engineers estimate that $5 million is needed for repairs to the sewer system in South Beloit, Illinois. Excess groundwater has caused sewage problems for several years.

A water main break this morning in Springfield, Virginia closed down an intersection forcing traffic to be detoured and disrupted service to 20 homes in the area.

Officials in Cedar Falls, Iowa have accepted bids for construction of two major wastewater projects. The bids include $17.85 million to add an ultraviolet disinfection system to the wastewater plant and $7.1 million to replace a lift station.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Ames, Iowa
Bangor, Maine
Great Falls, Montana
Vinton, Virginia

March 9, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Rep. Rahall Criticizes Budget Cuts to Water and Wastewater

Posted in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, National, New York, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming at 11:44 am by bengann

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Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is criticizing proposed Congressional budget cuts that would eliminate federal grants and loans providing water and wastewater services to communities in Southern West Virginia. “When we invest in America, we put Americans to work,” Rahall said. “Without basic services, like clean water, even the health of families can falter.”

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The LOTT Clean Water Alliance in Olympia, Washington is about to embark on a $3 million project to increase the public’s comfort level with reclaimed wastewater. Last year, about 12.4 percent of the nearly 4 billion gallons of wastewater treated at the two LOTT treatment plants received advanced treatment to qualify for reuse.

A new U.S. Geological Survey study shows that nutrient levels decreased in the upper Blue River following upgrades to the Johnson County’s Blue River Main Wastewater Treatment Facility in Overland Park, Kansas. Excessive nutrients can be harmful by degrading habitats and decreasing the amount of oxygen in the water.

A broken water main in Staten Island which  flooded the basement at Borough Hall caused the cancellation of a Red Cross Month proclamation ceremony.

DeKalb County, Georgia has experienced s even raw sewage spills in the last four days because of heavy rains. In December, the EPA mandated DeKalb upgrade its sewer system after the county reported more than 800 raw sewage spills in five years.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Barstow, California
Corpus Christi, Texas
Freeport, Illinois
Laramie, Wyoming

March 8, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Mass. Community Needs Another $48M in Wastewater Treatment Upgrades

Posted in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Wisconsin at 1:49 pm by bengann

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Despite finishing $30 million in upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant three years ago, the city of Attleboro has been told by state officials in Massachusetts that $48 million in additional upgrades are needed to reduce the amount of phosphorous and nitrogen it discharges into the Ten Mile River.

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In Baltimore, a coalition of residents, business owners, neighborhood leaders and city officials has launched the Healthy Harbor initiative, a plan to make the Inner Harbor fishable and swimmable by 2020. The city is currently under a $1 billion EPA Consent Decree to fix its wastewater infrastructure.

The largest expansion project in the Butler County (Ohio) Water and Sewer Department’s history will begin this month. The project will cost $42.5 million and expand and upgrade one of its regional wastewater treatment plants.

The eastbound direction of State Route 10/Atlanta Highway eastbound at Epps Bridge Road in Athens, Georgia is closed due to a water main break along the roadway after an eight inch water main broke in the median early this morning.

Traffic was snarled and ground floor businesses were flooded in the Waikiki section of Honolulu yesterday after a water main break.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Aberdeen, Ohio
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Mill Valley, California
Sonoma County, California

March 7, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Escondido Announces $200M Water Recylcing and Reclamation Plan

Posted in DC, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont at 10:08 pm by bengann

Top Story
The city of Escondido, California has launched an ambitious $200 million plan that would recycle sewage into drinking water and irrigate much of the city with reclaimed water. Facing increased scarcity of water and dwindling sewer capacity, transforming much of the city’s sewage into drinking water and irrigation water would eliminate the need to spend about $400 million widening the sewer pipes connecting Escondido to the Pacific Ocean. The city’s water and sewer customers would face higher rate for many years to pay for the upgrades.

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Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown has announced that a $2.4 million loan has been awarded to the Ross County to improve water distribution. The USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant funds will help to construct transmission mains and distribution lines that will bolster rural development.

A water main break on in Northborough, Massachusetts has affected a pressurized water main that takes the flow to the treatment plant.

In Georgia, Oglethorpe County has won a $4 million federal grant to build a wastewater treatment plant and sewer lines. The funding will be used to for the construction of a $7.3 million sewer system which local officials hope will encourage business growth.

Thanks to a more than $100,000 grant and $300,000 loan from the USDA, Hanson, Kentucky will soon finish a much-needed sewer system improvement project. The city’s building a gravity sewer system replacing the current grinder system.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bolton, Vermont
Coralville, Iowa
Sallisaw, Oklahoma
Washington, D.C.

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