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

Top Story
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

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

Top Story
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.

Other Headlines
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.

May 3, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Massachusetts to Borrow Another $100M for Water System Improvements

Posted in Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin at 12:50 pm by bengann

Top Story
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which is already saddled with nearly $6 billion in debt, is planning to borrow an additional $100 million to pay for capital improvements to its delivery and storage network in the months ahead. Moody’s Investor Services says much of the authority’s borrowing has been used to finance more than $7 billion in water-system upgrades, but warned that its debt-service obligations will see a “sizable peak” at the end of this decade.

Other Headlines
Town officials in St. Johnsbury, Vermont have broken ground on a $5.3 million project to replace water and sewer infrastructure on St. Johnsbury’s south side. The south side effort is the third phase of the four-phase, $15 million infrastructure project, funded largely by federal stimulus money.

The city of Klamath Falls will enter into a $1 million revolving fund loan agreement with the state of Oregon to lay the foundation for future loans needed to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant. The agreement barely makes a dent into the $40 million it needs to completely upgrade its wastewater treatment plant.

The preliminary cost estimate for damage to public infrastructure in Saranac Lake, New York caused by flooding of Lake Flower and the Saranac River over the past week is in the $5 million range.

In Rockville, Maryland, a sewer line break between Rockville and Garrett Park caused delays for MARC train riders on all Brunswick Line trains into Washington, D.C. this morning.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Jerome, Idaho
Holden, Massachusetts
Knoxville, Tennessee

February 23, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Detroit Looks To Upgrade its Water and Sewer Systems

Posted in California, Connecticut, Idaho, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee at 7:43 pm by bengann

Top Story
Detroit looks to be getting more serious about addressing its decaying water and sewer infrastructure, and is asking the state to approve a 25-year, $814-million project to upgrade the system. The outdated system is frequently criticized for its environmental record, from dumping an average of 40 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage into waterways a year, to losing 100 million gallons of water daily to pipe ruptures.

Other Headlines
City officials in Twin Falls, Idaho are seeking approval for a series of improvements to keep the city’s wastewater facility up to date. These improvements would involve replacing crucial parts of the system in order to ensure that they remain in operation, as well as improve the plant’s ability to ensure that no sewage overflow occurs.

In North Carolina, the Brunswick County Public Utilities reported a discharge of untreated wastewater on the 16th tee of the Carolina Shores Golf Course this morning.  The call came in shortly before noon that about 2,000 gallons of wastewater had spilled out of a broken line.

A mid-morning water main break in South Chattanooga (Tenn.) caused minor flooding and loss of water to businesses and residents in a widespread area. Between 10,000 and 20,000 customers either lost all water or had low pressure.

A water main break Wednesday morning in Middletown, Connecticut left a four-block area of about 20 to 25 residential and commercial buildings without water for most of the day.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bailey, North Carolina
Barstow, California
Chico, California
Harbor Springs, Michigan

February 3, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Study Shows Water Quality Concerns for Lackawanna River

Posted in California, Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia at 8:10 pm by bengann

Top Story
In Pennsylvania, a new assessment of water quality in the Lackawanna River details a dramatic increase of pollutants in the waterway during storm events, evidence of the persistent problem of waste flowing into streams from sewer overflows and stormwater runoff in heavy rains. The study by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission found that two pollutants – nitrogen and phosphorous – were above the level of concern for aquatic life at half of the 15 sites sampled during normal conditions.

Other Headlines
It will cost and estimated $200 million to upgrade 13 West Virginia wastewater treatment plants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The improvements are needed to meet new EPA standards for pollution control.

Visalia, California is upgrading its wastewater treatment plant, which will increase the amount of water that can be recycled and help reduce the need for pumping groundwater.

More than 15 water leaks, water main breaks and flooded homes were reported  this morning in and around Horizon City, Texas.

The ongoing wastewater treatment project Lincoln County, West Virginia has received over $924,000 in SRF money for the third phase of the project.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Burley, Idaho
Canton, Michigan
Great Falls, Montana
Henrietta, Missouri

January 20, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: City Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts Shut Down After Water Main Break

Posted in California, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio at 6:25 pm by bengann

Top Story
In Springfield, Massachusetts, a major water main break forced City Hall to close for the day. Moreover, the break left a 25-story office building without water making the bathrooms essentially unusable. The city has experienced a number of major water main breaks in recent years. One of the most devastating, which occurred nearly two years ago, spilled more than 5.5 million gallons of water onto city streets.

Other Headlines
Last week while most DeKalb County, Georgia residents were stuck at home because of the winter storm, county workers were called out to deal with a 20,000-gallon sewer spill.

A water main break in Lexington, Massachusetts sent water gushing onto Route 128 this morning, backing up traffic for miles during the morning commute and also disrupting water service to about a dozen residents.

EPA has awarded a $1.4 million grant toward proposed sanitary sewer systems in Orange County, North Carolina. Orange County will be using the aforementioned grant funds, bond monies and loans to complete the projects.

The city of Bonners Ferry, Idaho has agreed to pay a $12,300 fine to EPA for discharge permit violations from its wastewater treatment plant. To address the permit violations, the city has reduced inflow and infiltration into their collection system and is removing the sludge buildup in the sewage lagoons.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Leipsic, Ohio
Sacramento, California
Vineland, New Jersey
Wauneta, Nebraska

January 6, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: FEMA to Pay $350 Million to Fix Biloxi, Mississippi’s Water and Sewer ines

Posted in California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania at 4:40 pm by bengann

Top Story
In the next couple of months, more than a million feet of sewer and water lines will get a major overhaul in Biloxi, Mississippi. FEMA is footing the nearly $350 million bill to repair existing lines, including storm drains damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

Other Headlines
In Georgia, DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis says 1,300 jobs will be created by the county’s water and sewer upgrades.

A water main first installed in 1924 broke in front of a Santa Cruz, California condominium complex causing flooding today. A couple of vehicles near the water main were damaged by rocks that were shot from the geyser of water when the pipe burst.

EPA is investigating two wastewater spills that occurred in Marin County, California last month which released an estimated at 2.6 million gallons. The spills were a mixture of sewage and rainwater. EPA is investigating the cause of the spills, the district’s response, and construction practices.

The city of Bonners Ferry, Idaho has agreed to pay a $12,300 penalty to EPA for alleged violations of clean water rules caused by discharges from its water treatment plant. To remedy the problems, plant officials have reduced inflow and infiltration into the collection system and removed sludge buildup collected in sewage lagoons.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Cedaredge, Colorado
New Baltimore, New York
Sorrento, Louisiana
West Pottsgrove Township, Pennsylvania

November 9, 2010

Tuesday’s Water News: Indianapolis Reaches Agreement to Modify Consent Decree

Posted in Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 6:28 pm by bengann

The Department of Justice, EPA, and the state of Indiana have reached an agreement with the city of Indianapolis on important modifications to a 2006 consent decree that will make Indianapolis’ sewer system more efficient, leading to major reductions in sewage contaminated water at a savings to the city of approximately $444 million. 

The final step of getting Lorain, Ohio’s sewer system in line with EPA orders is on track to begin next year. It will be starting a construction of a $46 million retention tunnel, next year and the project is expected to be completed in 2014.

The village of Naples, New York is reaching out to residents who may have to pay as much as $3,000 out-of-pocket to run sewer lines from their homes if a multi-million dollar project is approved by voters next week.

Utility crews in suburban St. Louis are repairing two water mains today after breaks early this morning caused major flooding and a mess for morning commuters. It is believed the breaks were caused because the pipes decayed after being installed 80 years ago.

Stimulus Spotlight
Village officials in Maple Park, Illinois have moved to claim $100,000 in economic stimulus money to upgrade a portion of its water delivery system. The money will fund a project estimated to cost $303,000.

Sewer Rate News
Barton, Pennsylvania
Chubbuck, Idaho
Cranford, New Jersey
Vermilion, Ohio

November 2, 2010

Tuesday’s Water News: Idaho Community Benefits from State Grant for Water Infrastructure

Posted in California, DC, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 6:45 pm by bengann

The city of Burley, Idaho will install new water, sewer and stormwater systems for a new potato dehydration plant at the city’s industrial park, thanks to a $499,000 state grant. The infrastructure will allow the Oregon Potato Co. to open a new plant which will bring 50 new jobs to the area, providing opportunities for people to find a better job or just get back to work.

A burst sewer pipe today in Burbank, California  sent sewage down curbsides and caused public works employees from both Burbank and Los Angeles County to work to divert the spill away from the storm drains.

A water main break on Pennsylvania Avenue in the Foggy Bottom area of Washington, D.C. created a traffic headache for drivers this morning after the water damaged the road.

In Florida, the St. Johns County utility department issued a precautionary boil water notice for portions of the county after a water main break disrupted service to over 200 homes.

Stimulus Spotlight
The City Council in Austin, Minnesota has approved issuing $2.88 million in Build America Bonds to pay for a new sewer system.  

Sewer Rate News
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Crawfordsville, Indiana
Folkston, Georgia
Heath, Ohio

October 29, 2010

Friday’s Water News: Georgia Awards $18.2 Million to Eight Communities for Water and Sewer Projects

Posted in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington at 7:38 pm by bengann

The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority has approved financing for eight water and wastewater infrastructure projects totaling $18.2 million. “Investment in our state’s water and sewer infrastructure stimulates the economy, promotes the stewardship of our natural resources, and helps to meet Georgia’s future water needs,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.

Repairs and clean-up took place yesterday in Bend, Oregon after a water main break downtown sent water shooting some 70 feet into the air for about an hour and flooding several homes. Streets around the break were closed as crews worked to stop the flow of water.

A wastewater treatment plant in Cullman, Alabama had to contend with sewage run-off in Mud Creek, one of the city’s main drainage channels yesterday. City officials hope to correct the problem in the next few months when a new treatment plant will come online.

Stimulus Spotlight
Stamford, Connecticut is considering using revenue from Build America Bonds so residents in the northern part of the city currently using wells can connect to the city’s water and sewer system. Connecting to the system would allow aforementioned residents concerned about levels of pesticides and other toxins found in drinking water from wells in the area.

Federal stimulus funding made possible the construction of a solar array to provide electricity for Hailey, Idaho’s wastewater treatment plant. The plant is the largest single user of energy in all city facilities and buildings.

Sewer Rate News
Edmond, Oklahoma
Franklin, Tennessee
Longview, Washington
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

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