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.

Other Headlines
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

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July 15, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Davenport (Iowa) Deals with Aftermath from Water Main Breaks

Posted in Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 7:17 pm by bengann

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Broken water mains in Davenport, Iowa caused streets to crumble, flooded houses with water and mud and forced one couple from their home. They’ve also left some people wondering if the breaks are a sign of a bigger infrastructure problem, since some are a century old.

Other Headlines
Thanks to the USDA 14 Alaska communities will receive $23.6 million through the Rural Alaska Village Grant program to fund water quality improvement projects in rural Alaska villages.

In Pennsylvania, the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority has received a $4 million state grant to help finance its projected $18 million regional sewer service project. The authority is also hoping for funding from PENNVEST to help finance the project. Without additional financing, user rates are projected to be $100 to $125 per month.

Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed Atlanta’s A1 rating on the city’s $3.2 billion water and wastewater revenue bonds. Atlanta is in the midst of the largest capital project in its history with a $4 billion upgrade to its sewer and drinking water systems. Most of the program is expected to be paid for by borrowing and repaid through a sales tax and rate increases on the system’s customer accounts.

A sanitary sewer problem in Council Bluffs, Iowa forced nearly 70 families to move out of their homes at an apartment complex.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Lindsey, Ohio
Loganville, Georgia
O’Fallon, Missouri

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 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 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

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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 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”.

Other Headlines
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

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

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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

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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 15, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: 25 Percent Rate Hike for Jefferson County (Ala.) Proposed

Posted in Alabama, California, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Oregon, South Dakota, West Virginia at 8:29 pm by bengann

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A court-appointed receiver says Jefferson County, Alabama, should raise its sewer rates by 25% in order to help repay bondholders and avoid filing what would be the largest bankruptcy in municipal history. Jefferson County has $3.2 billion in sewer debt. BNY Mellon asked for a receiver for the sewer system when it sued the county in 2008, alleging that county officials had mismanaged the system’s finances while accumulating more than $515 million in payment defaults.

Other Headlines
Clarksville, Indiana residents could see their monthly sewage bills double and their drainage fees rise 15 percent to pay for a $20 million upgrade of the town’s sewage plant and storm drainage system.

Heavy rains today caused Portland, Oregon’s’s combined storm and sanitary sewers to overflow, sending untreated sewage into the Willamette River. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services warns the public to avoid recreational activities in the river until 48 hours after the rain has stopped.

In California, work is beginning on replacing a mile of main sewer line near the Sonoma County Sanitation District plant, where a sinkhole developed last year when the aging pipe collapsed. The work includes a second pipe that will carry recycled wastewater that will be used for agricultural irrigation. The cost to replace the main is $2.3 million, with economic stimulus money covering the $500,000 cost for the recycled water line.

A precautionary boil water advisory in Beaver, West Virginia caused local restaurants to shutdown their soda machines for most of their lunch rush period.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clinton, Iowa
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
St. Clair, Michigan
Warrenton, Oregon

I’m off the next few days. Blogging will resume on Monday, June 20

June 10, 2011

Friday’s Water News: 50 Homes in Iowa Community Damaged by Sewer Overflows

Posted in Arkansas, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina at 7:35 pm by bengann

Top Story
About 50-homes in Indianola, Iowa saw their homes damaged by runoff from sewer overflows.  With about eight inches of rain in just 24 hours, it was too much for the 100-year old sewer system to handle. Even the wastewater treatment plant was flooded with 18-feet of raw sewage. On most days, it handles about 2-million gallons of wastewater and sewage. Over the past two days, it’s handled about 14-million gallons.

Other Headlines
The California’s Water Resources Control Board has received information it requested from San Luis Obispo County regarding a massive sewage spill last December and will now determine whether it will levy fines against the county.

In North Carolina, a damaged wastewater pump station spewed an estimated 50,000 gallons of raw sewage into a tributary of Upper Barton Creek, killing dozens of fish in the stream that flows into Falls Lake

The new pump station in Windsor, California will help resolve the town’s dilemma of storing and disposing its excess treated wastewater, sending millions of gallons of treated wastewater northward, connecting to Santa Rosa’s pipeline and The Geysers geothermal field.

Some residents in Hartford, Arkansas not only had to contend with 90 degree temperatures today, but also were without water after a water main break. It was the third break for the main, and rather than refurbishing the pipe, crews installed 300 feet of new piping.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Covington, Louisiana
Rochester Hills, Michigan
Salisbury, North Carolina
Waukee, Iowa

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