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

Top Story
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.

Other Headlines
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.

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.

Other Headlines
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

Top Story
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.

Other Headlines
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 14, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Congress Passes Final FY 2011 Budget Cutting $1 Billion from SRF Programs

Posted in California, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, National, Pennsylvania, Utah at 7:58 pm by bengann

Top Story
Congress passed a final spending bill today for the current fiscal year ending September 30, 2011. The legislation is bad news for water and wastewater infrastructure which cuts the EPA’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs by nearly $1 billion. In the budget agreement, the Clean Water SRF will receive $1.525 billion (down from $2.1B in FY10) and the Drinking Water SRF will receive $965 million (down from $1.387 billlion). The cuts to the SRF programs come at a time when EPA estimates America’s water and wastewater infrastructure needs exceed $630 billion over the next 20 years.

Other Headlines
In Pennsylvania, the Abington Regional Wastewater Authority will miss the May 5 deadline to submit a plan mapping out the future needs of their sewer systems after two of the three municipalities served have refused to approve it.

Officials hope a $639,000 upgrade to the city of Attleboro, Massachusetts’ almost-new $30 million wastewater treatment plant will put the city in compliance with some tough mandates from the EPA.

Work should start in June on the next phases of two sewer projects in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The projects will cost $1 million and be paid with general obligation bonds.

A water main break in front of a home in Murray, Utah flooded the garage and basement causing $60,000 in damages.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Baltimore, Maryland
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Santa Clara County, California
Windsor, Colorado

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

April 8, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Water Main Break in Oceanside (Calif.) Cancels Classes College

Posted in California, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia at 6:17 pm by bengann

Top Story
A water main break in a Oceanside, California parking lot spewed more than 1 million gallons of water and left businesses and homes in the MiraCosta College area without service. A car sank into a hole created by the large leak and had to be towed out. A section of road was closed to traffic until crews could clear away the mud, dirt and debris in the road and the college closed it main campus.

Other Headlines
A plan to harness green technology to help reduce the amount of raw sewage that spills into Buffalo New York’s waterways was unveiled today by an environmental group. The study advocates for both traditional methods of improvements such as expanding sewer system capacity and newer methods such as green design schemes.

A broken pump station in Huntington, West Virginia is releasing millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Ohio River. The time frame for stopping the flow depends is somewhat unknown. The raw sewage will continue to go into the Ohio River for at least four to 24 hours and, under a worst case circumstance, up to a week.

Pennsylvania environmental regulators said Wednesday that they were calling for waste treatment plants and drinking water facilities to increase testing for radioactive pollutants and other contaminants, to see whether they are ending up in rivers because of the growth of natural gas drilling in the state.

Portions of a street in Moundsville, West Virginia are closed because of a leak in a main sewer line on Annadale Avenue. The leak had been going on for quite a while causing the road to slowly sink.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clive, Iowa
Holly, Michigan
New York, New York
Portland, Oregon

April 6, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Archaelogical Dig to Delay Sewer Construction in Des Moines

Posted in Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia at 6:43 pm by bengann

Top Story
Human remains that could be 7,000 years old have been found by sewer construction workers in Des Moines, Iowa and will delay construction of a sewer project. The find will delay the original $37.8 million sewer project for at least six months and cost the Des Moines area’s Wastewater Reclamation Authority an estimated $1.5 million or more because of delays caused by the archaeological dig.

Other Headlines
Voters in St. Joseph, Missouri approved a $105 million sewer bond yesterday. The funds will be used for projects related to a federal mandate that it address its combined sewer overflow issues and to meet new regulations concerning the amount of ammonia and other chemicals it may discharge into the Missouri River.

The City of Tonawanda, New York Common Council last night approved bonding more than $2.2 million for a variety of expenses, including a multi-year sewer reconstruction that may cost the city up to $1.9 million the first year.

Nebraska state lawmakers disagree on a bill that would return some state sales tax money to Omaha to help pay for $1.7 billion in federally mandated sewer renovations.

A broken 36-inch sewer main that flooded a major road on Miami Beach could be causing traffic delays in the area for days to come. To make matters worse, businesses and residents near the broken sewer main are not only dealing with flooding problems, they are also dealing with a horrible stench from the dirty water.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Evansdale, Iowa
Newton Falls, Ohio
Williamstown, West Virginia
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

March 22, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Sewer Overflow from Heavy Rains Leads to Beach Closures in Long Beach

Posted in California, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Washington at 9:43 pm by bengann

Top Story
All beaches in Long Beach, California are closed after storms caused a 250,000 gallons of untreated wastewater near Studio City to overflow into the Los Angeles River. The beaches will be closed until water test results show that contamination levels are within state standards.

Other Headlines
The City Council in Akron, Ohio has delayed action on three sewer projects amid questions about the improvements and the status of the city’s overall sewer-system improvements. Council members questioned whether the city should be moving forward with the improvements after a federal judge last week threw out an agreement between Akron and the EPA on how to solve the city’s sewer overflow problems.

Officials in Cumberland, Maryland have an agreement that would enable the western Maryland city to sell treated wastewater for hydraulic fracturing in recovering natural gas.

A $14.5 million construction project to increase Panama City Beach, Florida’s treated wastewater capacity is nearing completion. The project, 10 years in the planning, is meant to halt the release of treated wastewater into West Bay and expand the capacity of the city’s treatment plant from 10 million gallons to 14 million gallons a day.

Public Works crew in Duluth, Minnesota are working to repair water service after a water main break has caused residents in West Duluth to be without water until at least Wednesday afternoon.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clive, Iowa
Rainier, Washington
Shelton, Washington
Yuba City, California

March 18, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Judge Rejects Akron’s Consent Decree to Address Sewer Overflows

Posted in Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, National, Ohio at 11:54 am by bengann

Top Story
A U.S. District Court Judge has rejected a consent decree between the city of Akron, Ohio, the Department of Justice and the Ohio Attorney General’s office to address the city’s sewer overflow issues. The decision will result in a three-part civil trial later this year.

Other Headlines
A water main break on the west side of Indianapolis tied up traffic for three hours yesterday.

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) has reintroduced legislation which amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, updating the EPA’s clean water affordability policy to assist municipalities’ that cannot meet unfunded mandates to improve their wastewater infrastructure projects.

Officials in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa want the state to give them $10 million in a tight budget year to rescue their town from a failed multimillion dollar wastewater lagoon system.

In Ohio, plans have moved one step closer which would pave the way for Washington County to initiate $1.3 million in sewer system improvements, as well as allow plans to move forward on the city of Marietta’s $22 million wastewater treatment plant improvement project.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clive, Iowa
Rio Rico, Arizona
Springboro, Ohio

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

Top Story
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.

Other Headlines
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

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