June 23, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Sewer Debt May Have Them on Verge of Bankruptcy

Posted in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma at 5:17 pm by bengann

Top Story
The Alabama court-appointed receiver in charge of managing Jefferson County’s sewer system — as well as its defaulted warrants and swaps — is demanding that the county turn over $75 million from its general fund. The demand for millions from the municipality could be the catalyst that forces Jefferson County to file for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Other Headlines
Owosso, Michigan had a sewer overflow of approximately 40,000 gallons on Tuesday and Wednesday after 2.71 inches of rain fell in the area over the last two days.

USDA has awarded $2.7 million to Rockland, Maine for upgrading its sewers.  Rockland City Manager Rosemary Kulow said, “In these challenging economic times, municipalities and their citizens can use all the financial assistance they can get, especially when it comes to the expensive replacement of old, worn out utility infrastructure.”

In more news concerning USDA awards, Stuttgart Arkansas will receive a $7 million loan from the agency for the purpose of replacing 26.5 miles of drinking water infrastructure which provides service to 2,000 customers.

15-year municipal bonds carrying a an interest rate of just over 3 percent will be issued to finance a $2.4 million in sanitary sewer improvements in Granite Falls, Minnesota, one of the largest utility projects every undertaken by the city.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Antioch, Illinois
Bay Village, Ohio
Clermont County, Ohio
Locust Grove, Oklahoma

I will not be posting tomorrow but look for the next post on Monday, June 27.

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June 14, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: St. Louis Sewer District Considers Settling with Federal, State Regulators

Posted in Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Vermont, Virginia at 7:53 pm by bengann

Top Story
Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District officials are seriously considering a settlement in a lawsuit brought in 2007 by both the Federal government and state agencies over its massive violations of the Clean Water Act. The settlement would cost the district $4.7 billion in system upgrades over 23 years, and another $2.8 million in penalties. Such a settlement would also lead to substantial increases for residents in the district.

Other Headlines
Vermont’s commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation says almost every town in the state needs to upgrade at least a portion of its water or sewer infrastructure, and communities should start planning now how to pay for it.

The Town of Vienna, Virginia is weighing whether it should retain ownership of its water and sewer system or if instead it should sell its water and sewer system. Retaining ownership would mean the town would have to invest at least $12 million in improvements over the next 10 years. However, the town would need to sell its water and sewer systems for at least $28 million to be compensated for its costs.

In Michigan, construction is expected to start next week on a new four-mile sewer pipeline that will link Bear Creek Township’s sewer system with the Harbor Springs Area Sewage Disposal Authority’s treatment plant.

Some residents in Oahu are being asked to conserve water due to a break in a 16-inch water main. The break cancelled classes and activities at Windward Community College and closed the Kaneohe District Court.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bangor, Maine
Corpus Christi, Texas
Dexter, Michigan
Gross Pointe Woods, Michigan

June 7, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: IRS Investigating Jefferson County’s (Ala.) Tax-Exempt Sewer Bonds

Posted in Alaska, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia at 2:34 pm by bengann

Top Story
In Alabama, Jefferson County says the Internal Revenue Service is investigating the tax-free status of sewer bonds that have landed the state’s largest county on the brink of bankruptcy. The county is in default on its sewer bonds, after the spending on a $1 billion project more than tripled and complex Wall Street interest rate swaps backfired.

Other Headlines
An issue with the sewer system could mean big trouble for a popular Northern Kentucky nightspot,  because it has been discovered the restaurant is no longer tied into the sewer system, meaning that their waste was being discharged into the Ohio River.

A $4.7 million project to upgrade the town’ of Wilton, Maine’s sewer system was approved by voters at the town meeting last night. To pay for the project, the town’s 995 sewer customers will pay an added $240 per year over the next 29 years on their sewer bills.

The longtime settling of a concrete vault is being blamed for the collapse of a sewer line along Route 37 in Toms River, New Jersey yesterday, which caused a sinkhole that shut down the right eastbound lane of the roadway until after midnight.

A water main break in the area of Peabody, Massachusetts left about 15 houses and a strip mall without water for about five hours yesterday.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bay City, Michigan
Burlingame, California
Canon City, Colorado
Vienna, Virginia

June 2, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: 2.3 Billion Gallons of Sewage Dumped in Lake St. Clair (Mich.)

Posted in California, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New York, South Carolina at 5:30 pm by bengann

Top Story
In Michigan, 2.3 billion gallons of sewage was dumped into Lake St. Clair and other local waterways due to the recent heavy rains, forcing the continued closure of three local beaches. Of the total pollution discharged, at least 2 million gallons consisted of raw sewage.

Other Headlines
A newly completed sewer facility in northeast Queens (N.Y.) will reduce the amount of pollutants discharged into Alley Creek and Little Neck Bay. As part of the project, several storm drains were installed to reduce flooding issues along the Cross Island Parkway.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell has proposed sending $2 million to the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which would be combined with federal money to help municipalities fund wastewater infrastructure projects.

A boil-water advisory remains in effect for about 60,000 customers of the Anderson Regional Joint Water System in South Carolina after a water main break Wednesday evening. Although water service has been restored to the customers, the boil water advisory affects a third of the systems customers.

Eighty percent of the 74 water sample locations conducted along the Hudson River after the heavy rains of mid-May resulted in “unacceptable” levels of pollution from sewage overflow into the river. The sampling was conducted from New York Harbor north to Waterford. Not one sample north of Poughkeepsie had an acceptable reading.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Millinocket, Maine
Onsted, Michigan
Roseville, California
Washington Township, Michigan

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.

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

Top Story
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.

Other Headlines
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

April 28, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Greenwich Reaches Deal With State, EPA Over Massive Sewage Spills

Posted in Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington at 6:44 pm by bengann

Top Story
In a deal announced yesterday, the town of Greenwich, Connecticut has agreed to pay the federal government and the State of Connecticut each $100,000 to settle the complaints lodged against the town by the state and the federal EPA for a pair of sewer breaks that sent tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage into Cos Cob Harbor in 2005 and 2008. As part of the agreement,  the town also agreed to replace the section of sewer main where both breaks occurred and have most of the work done by the end of 2013.

Other Headlines
Working hard to avoid sewer backups as its wastewater system flooded with storm water, a pump station in Salina, New York used a backup pump to operate far beyond its normal capacity. On a normal day the station pumps 11 million gallons. Tuesday, it pumped about 53 million gallons, and about 43 million gallons on Wednesday.

The Town of Thomaston, Maine will receive a total of $1,887,000 from the USDA to make numerous improvements to its wastewater infrastructure. The Town will contribute $113,000 to make the $2 million project possible, which will upgrade the town’s primary sewer lines, which were constructed between 1891 and 1925.

The supervisor of Flint, Michigan’s water pollution control plant says an overflow of partially treated sewage into the Flint River is continuing and has already surpassed the volume of a 4.1 million gallon spill on April 23.

In Pennsylvania, after being forced from their offices at Montgomery County’s Human Services Center by a flood 11 weeks ago, the Coroner’s office is are moving back in Friday, and the office will be operational Saturday. On Feb. 11, an 8-inch water main burst underneath the floor of the Coroner’s Office on the first floor, and the operation relocated temporarily to buildings at the Emergency Services Center.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Falls Church, Virginia
Port Orchard, Washington
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Tulsa, Oklahoma

April 21, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Shale Operators Told to Stop Sending Wastewater to Treatment Plants

Posted in Arkansas, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania at 8:52 pm by bengann

Top Story
Because of high levels of dissolved solids and bromide in rivers and streams used for public drinking water sources, the state Department of Environmental Protection has asked all Marcellus Shale operations to voluntarily stop disposal of drilling wastewater at 15 municipal sewage treatment plants.

Other Headlines
In California,  water customers packed a meeting of the Ross Valley Sanitation District last night to protest a rate increase that could make their bills spike by hundreds of dollars. Ross Valley has a history of spills. This past December, more than a million gallons of raw sewage ran into Corte Madera Creek and local roads.

Plans are in the works for the second phase of the southwest sewer area project in Agawam, Massachusetts, a project currently estimated at $7.3 million.

The sewage system in Vidalia, Louisiana is getting another much-needed overhaul through a grant from the Louisiana Community Development Block Grant program.

Bingham, Maine, a town of approximately 1,000 people, has learned its wastewater infrastructure will be upgraded with the help of $1.57 million in federal loan and grant funds from USDA.

Water and Sewer Rate News
El Dorado, Arkansas
Loves Park, Illinois
North Reading, Massachusetts
Ramsey, New Jersey

I am taking tomorrow off but will be back on Monday. Enjoy your weekend.

April 4, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Water Main Break in El Paso Spills a Half Million Gallons

Posted in California, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia at 9:50 pm by bengann

Top Story
A water main leak near the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas disrupted traffic Saturday and spilled about a half million gallons.

Other Headlines
The City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi is about to undertake a three-phase, $5.5 million dollar sewer rehabilitation project. City officials say the Army Corps of Engineers is footing 75% of the bill.

Several hundred homes in Liberty Township, Ohio are slated to have access to the village of West Union’s public waste water system sometime this year. $2 million in funding from the Ohio Pollution Control Lon Fund is earmarked for the next phase of the sanitary sewer project.

For more than seven years, officials in Houlton, Maine have worked to find a way to expand water and sewer services on a section of Route 1, which has blossomed over the past decade into the town’s major economic corridor.

The city of Greenfield, Ohio has been awarded $500,000 to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant in order to handle increased sewage flows and meet state EPA requirements.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Paso Robles, California

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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