July 21, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Near Bankruptcy Over $3.2 Billion Sewer Debt

Posted in Alabama, California, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin at 4:21 pm by bengann

Top Story
In Alabama, Jefferson County appears closer to declaring bankruptcy if it cannot reach a settlement with creditors regarding its $3.2 billion in sewer bond debt. If Jefferson County does declare bankruptcy it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.  County commissioners and the state’s governor have said bankruptcy remains a real option if talks with creditors fail but have still held out hopes for the talks success.

Other Headlines
A new $32 million sewer project in Johnson County, Kansas has been given the go ahead which will construct an underground effluent pipe carrying millions of gallons of treated wastewater from a treatment plant and empty into the Kansas River.

The village of Salineville, Ohio will have water service to the sewage plant terminated next week unless it pays an over $9,000 bill to the Buckeye Water District.

Officials in Muskego, Wisconsin have approved a $227,000 storm sewer project to better handle overflow in heavy rains. Work could start as early as October 1 with target completion date in late fall.

A water main break in Scott Township, Pennsylvania left about a dozen people without service on this morning.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Lewisburg, West Virginia
Los Angeles, California
Whitney, Texas
Ypsilanti, Michigan

July 18, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Asks Creditors for $1.3B Write Down of Sewer Debt

Posted in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee at 9:40 pm by bengann

Top Story
Jefferson County (Ala.) officials are asking Wall Street creditors to wipe out nearly $1.3 billion of the $3.14 billion sewer debt as part of a plan presented in secret last week to resolve the lingering financial problems tied to the county’s sewer system bonds.

Other Headlines
A dozen buildings within the State Capitol Complex in Oklahoma City were closed today due to water main breaks in water lines resulting in reduced water pressure. The break caused the air conditioning to malfunction and disrupted the flow of water to restroom. In addition, computer system capabilities of some state agencies are limited due to the extreme heat.

In Michigan, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s Saganing reservation has begun work on a water and wastewater treatment plant that is to serve the Saganing Eagles Landing Casino, the Saganing community center and residents of the reservation south of Standish in Arenac County.

For 11 straight days, Aberdeen, South Dakota’s wastewater treatment plant has released millions of gallons of untreated wastewater into Moccasin Creek. The city is doing what it can to remedy the situation and as wastewater continues to be discharges into the creek.

Officials in Cumming, Georgia  are moving closer to a decision that will lead to the construction of a new wastewater facility near Lake Lanier. The total project is estimated to cost about $700,000 and take about 120 days to complete.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Hazleton, Pennsylvania
La Vergne, Tennessee
Sugar Grove, Illinois
Waco, Georgia

July 13, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Boil Water Advisory for Six New Jersey Towns Following Water Main Break

Posted in Arizona, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Wisconsin at 5:46 pm by bengann

Top Story
A break in a 30-inch water main in Northern New Jersey has shut down part of U.S. Route 9W and is causing six communities to suffer from loss of water. The communities affected are Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Palisades Park, Englewood, Leonia and Tenafly. Affected residents may have low water pressure or no water, especially those living on upper floors of high-rise buildings.

Other Headlines
Staff at Richmond (Ind.) Sanitary District’s wastewater treatment plant have been working around the clock since Friday to resolve an issue that led suspended solids and E. coli to overload the treatment and filtration process and discharge into the East Fork Whitewater River.

In California, the city of Guadalupe is moving forward with a plan on a $4.75 million project to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. The new system, which features new headworks, a dewatering system and biological treatment system will allow the city to meet state discharge standards.

Work started today on a new sewer line in Lexington, Kentucky which will help address sewer overflow problems in one part of the city. The new 24 inch sewer line will replace a 15 inch line, that was originally built in 1966.

The city of Whitefish, Montana has begun a five- to six-week project to replace and rehabilitate underground sewer mains throughout the city.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Easton, Massachusetts
Plymouth Township, Michigan
Ripon, Wisconsin
Surprise, Arizona

July 8, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Dearborn, Michigan to Start $325 Million Sewer Separation Project in January

Posted in Alabama, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia at 6:58 pm by bengann

Top Story
Starting in January, the city of Dearborn, Michigan will begin a new $325 million sewer separation project. The work represents the third distinct plan of attack for the massive combined sewage overflow project that has been in the works now for more than three decades.

Other Headlines
The state of Alabama may offer help to debt-laden Jefferson County to prevent the municipality from filing for what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in history. The county, home to the state’s largest city, Birmingham, has struggled for about three years under the weight of $3.2 billion in sewer debt after a failed bond financing.

Hundreds of fish are dead in Peters Creek after a water main broke beneath the South Park Township, Pennsylvania salt storage, carrying salty water into the creek. The break is most likely due to deterioration in the line.

In Corbin, Kentucky, two businesses out of the four that were damaged in mid-April after heavy rains caused by a sewer overflow have now reopened.

Part of a major road in Fairfax, Virginia has been blocked off due to a water main break that caused a sinkhole.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Crescent City, California
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Williamsburg, Colorado
Wilsonville, Oregon

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

Top Story
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

Top Story
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

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.

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.

June 21, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Small Illinois Community Needs $1.5 Million in Sewer Repairs

Posted in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York at 6:45 pm by bengann

Top Story
Repairs to South Beloit, Illinois’s faulty sewer system will cost the city about $1.5 million, according to a study by city engineers. The community of over 8,000 must now determine how they will pay for these needed repairs, and are considering a low-interest loan from the Illinois EPA via the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program.

Other Headlines
The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority has awarded a $1 million to Raburn County to finance sewer system improvements along State Road 441 between Dillard and Mountain City.

In Michigan, the Ottawa County Health Department has issued a no body contact advisory for the Macatawa River and Lake Macatawa after a 50,000 gallon raw sewage spill.

And in more Michigan news, the city of Ann Arbor is planning to embark on a project to relocate 825 feet of sanitary sewer lines at the site of a proposed transit center. The project is estimated to cost $1.2 million.

Leaders in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York  are expected to approve a $6.6 million contract for a private company to operate the town’s largest wastewater treatment plant . Officials estimate the five-year agreement could save the town $2 million over the course of the five-year pact.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Annapolis, Maryland
Lexington, Kentucky
Newmarket, New Hampshire
Solana Beach, California

June 20, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Study Finds More Money Needed to Fix Milwaukee Sewers

Posted in Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin at 7:30 pm by bengann

Top Story
A task force in Milwaukee finds the city must spend more to repair its aging sewers to reduce the catastrophic effects of extreme storms. Storms last July poured up to 9 inches of rain across much of the Milwaukee area, with some neighborhoods receiving more than 3.5 inches of rain in one hour. The deluge caused millions of dollars’ worth of property damage with more than 9,000 homeowners asked for special flood debris pickup.

Other Headlines
A disinfection system that would help curb the level of E. Coli pumping into the Mississippi River is one step closer to becoming reality in Memphis, Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has issued a draft permit for Memphis to install this disinfection system at two treatment plants. The disinfection system is already in place in most other large cities.

Millions of barrels of salty, toxic wastewater from natural-gas wells in Pennsylvania are coming into Ohio despite efforts to keep it at bay. Unlike Pennsylvania, Ohio’s geology supports brine-injection wells. From January through March, nearly half the brine that went into disposal wells in Ohio came from Pennsylvania and other states.

Due to a rainstorm on Saturday, Portland, Oregon’s combined sewers overflowed into the Willamette River. City officials recommend that the public avoid the river for 48 hours after the rain has stopped.

Hundreds of East Baltimore residents who have been without water since Saturday are expected to have service restored this evening. The initial cause of the disruption, a break in a 20-inch main, was repaired early this morning, but three additional small water service lines also broke when they started allowing water to flow through the repaired main.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clarksville, Indiana
Hall County, Georgia
Keizer, Oregon
St. Clair County, Michigan

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