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 22, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Federal Judge Accepts Agreement by Evansville (Ind.) to Upgrade Sewers

Posted in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin at 7:59 pm by bengann

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A federal judge has accepted an agreement between Evansville, Indiana and federal and state regulators that gives the city nearly 20 years to upgrade its sewer system to prevent frequent discharges of raw sewage into the Ohio River and other waterways. The Water & Sewer Utility also must pay a civil penalty of $490,000 — $70,000 to the state and $420,000 to the federal government — as part of the settlement.

Other Headlines
Overflows of combined sanitary and storm sewers to local rivers and Lake Michigan ended this morning in Milwaukee. A state permit allows Milwaukee’s Metropolitan Sewer District to skip treatment of up to 60 million gallons of wastewater in 24 hours under extreme storm conditions when both the Jones Island and South Shore treatment plants are at capacity and combined sewer overflows have started.

Atlanta residents will see another increase in their water bill with the city raising rates 12 percent starting in July. It will be the eighth time in eight years the city has raised water rates. The revenue will go toward overhauling the city’s sewer system which has been badly neglected over the years.

More than two inches of rain in less than 48 hours pushed streams to their banks and caused two sewage overflows in Duluth, Minnesota. Approximately 350,000 gallons of rain and untreated sewage leaked from one of its wastewater treatment plants with a smaller amount spilling from another treatment plant.

Appleton, Wisconsin will use methane gas it extracts from sludge that flows into its wastewater treatment plant to heat the facility beginning next month. When the process starts, the city will be one of the last large cities in the state to adopt the green trend of producing heat from methane.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Aurora, Illinois
Cheswick, Pennsylvania
Louisa, Virginia
King George County, Virginia

June 8, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Chicago-area Water District Decides to Clean Up Chicago River

Posted in California, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee at 6:58 pm by bengann

Top Story
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which serves Chicago and Cook County, has decided to support efforts to clean up the Chicago River after spending $13 million in resisting efforts to clean up the river. Most of the water in the Chicago River and its connected waterways comes from sewage treatment plants operated by the district, which for years has skipped an important germ-killing step adopted by most other U.S. cities.

Other Headlines
Sanitary sewage overflows into homeowners’ basements and a local waterway in Elmhurst, Illinois and the city’s failure to prevent or report the issues has prompted the Illinois EPA to tell the city to comply with state and federal laws or face penalties.

A stretch of road in Fargo, North Dakota turned into a river this morning after a massive water main break. The break was so bad that it completely drained the water tower which served the affected neighborhood and left some residents without water while the break was being repaired.

There are concerns that Greenville, South Carolina’s aging sewer system is hindering the city’s economic growth, as sewer capacity has become a big concern when planning new development.

A raw sewage spill spewed a foul mess all over the street in a Gulf Park Estates, Mississippi neighborhood. One affected resident says that since moving to the area in 2002 she has seen 30 or so nasty leaks.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bell Buckle, Tennessee
Lake Elmo, Minnesota
San Clemente, California
Smithsburg, Maryland

May 16, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Water Main Break Snarls Traffic for Beach-Bound Motorists

Posted in California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina at 5:20 pm by bengann

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Some people expecting to go to the beach yesterday were instead treated to a day stuck in traffic, after a ruptured water main shut down U.S. 98 eastbound in Gulf Breeze, Florida on Sunday morning, causing a day-long traffic snarl that stretched as far as downtown Pensacola.

Other Headlines
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says about 1 million gallons of untreated sewage has flowed into Steele Creek because of a sewage line break. Steele Creek merges into Sugar Creek, which eventually feeds into the Catawba River.

The City Council in Winnebago, Minnesota has decided to move forward with a sanitary sewer project.  The total cost of the project will be nearly half a million dollars, with 28 connections being impacted by the new project, 24 of them businesses.

The borough of Freeport, Pennsylvania wants the state to declare its multimillion-dollar storm sewer solutions too costly for customers. The state could grant extensions to the project until government funding is found to reduce the burden, which could take from six to 12 years.

EPA has presented a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund award to Missoula County, Montana for water system improvements to the Lewis and Clark Subdivision. In 2009, Missoula County was awarded $572,400 in economic stimulus funding to provide reliable water to residents in the subdivision, a low-income neighborhood.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Brooktrails, California
Massena, New York
Northville, Michigan
Novato, California

May 5, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Palm Beach, Broward Losing 33 Million Gallons of Water Per Day

Posted in California, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia at 9:07 pm by bengann

Top Story
The utilities that supply water to South Florida residents are losing more than 33 million gallons every day — all while users are being asked to cut back lawn watering in the name of conservation. The lost water is costing area cities hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and fixing the problems will cost millions.

Other Headlines
A $15 million project to upgrade the wastewater collection system at the naval base in Guam is nearly one-third complete, bringing the island’s largest military base closer to its updated targets for capacity and reliability at the Apra Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The sewer system in Minnewaukan, North Dakota, was inundated Wednesday evening – for the second time in a week – by floodwaters from the growing Devils Lake.

In Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) has awarded $7.5 million in three grants for wastewater projects in Lycoming County. The grants are awarded through the CFA’s H2O PA Program, which provides grants to independent agencies, municipalities or municipal authorities for the construction of drinking water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer projects or to help repair, rehabilitate or remove high-hazard unsafe dams.

The Valley Falls Public Service District in West Virginia has announced it is shutting water off due to some Morgan County residents after a water main break.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clarkston, Washington
Coon Rapids, Minnesota
Cupertino, California
Kauai, Hawaii

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 17, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Paterson, N.J. to Borrow $2.8 Million for Sewer Upgrades

Posted in California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania at 7:47 pm by bengann

Top Story
Paterson, New Jersey is looking to borrow $2.86 million to make repairs to its aging sewer system. That money represents just a fraction of the investment municipal officials say the sewer system needs – a complete overhaul that would cost as much as $500 million.

Other Headlines
Rainfall and saturated ground in Salem, Oregon caused 1.25 million gallons of sewage to overflow into the Willamette River yesterday. The incident pales in comparison to a sewer overflow incident last December when 25 million gallons was pumped into the river.

In California, the Calera Creek Water Recycling Plant has agreed to pay a $1.7 million fine and a total overhaul of its sewer maintenance system under a settlement reached with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Construction is set to begin this July to triple the processing capacity of the wastewater treatment plant in Princeton, Minnesota.

A water main break sent water pouring into a Pittsburgh senior citizens center on Thursday morning, canceling a planned St. Patrick’s Day celebration. 

Water and Sewer Rate News
Buellton, California
Norco, California
Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
West Reading, Pennsylvania

February 24, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Indianapolis Airport Without Water After Main Break

Posted in Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 9:49 pm by bengann

Top Story
A water main break turned off all water at the Indianapolis International Airport Wednesday night after its main water line broke. During the outage, there was no water in the main terminal including the restrooms. Portable restrooms were brought in as stopgap measure.

Other Headlines
Hollywood, Florida is beginning the second year of a five-year, $200 million-plus water and sewer capital improvement program. 70 percent of the system is over 50 years old and needs refurbished or replaced. Funding for the program has come from the bond issuance, grants and to a lesser degree, money from federal government stimulus funds.

A water main break in Chanhassen, Minnesota led to a sewer back up for 18 area residents after water from the broken pipe couldn’t make its way to the surface due to the frozen ground. The back up led to a mixture of water and sewage spewing into the affected homes, filling the basements with a foul, smelly mess.  

A new $695,000 sewer line project in Harrison Township, Pennsylvania is expected to eliminate sewer backups into homes caused by an overloaded combined sewer system. The problem has plagued the area for 30 years, according to longtime residents.

A $2.6 million federal grant and loan from USDA will help pay for construction of a wastewater treatment plant for the village of Waldo, Ohio.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Corona, California
North Lauderdale, Florida
St. Helena, California
Tuscon, Arizona

February 18, 2011

Friday’s Water News: $7 Million in Sewer Improvements On Tap for Jacksonville, Arkansas

Posted in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas at 6:57 pm by bengann

Top Story
Jacksonville, Arkansas is scheduled to spend $3 million on construction this year to update its wastewater treatment plant. Also this year, the city plans to spend $4.2 million to construct gravity flow sewer pipelines with manholes to replace city pump stations.

Other Headlines
Water service has been restored to residents of an Austin, Texas neighborhood that suffered a water main break. At least 30 homes were without water because of the break. It is the fifth time over the past two years, the same 6-inch pipe has broken.

The city of Richmond Hill, Georgia has been awarded a nearly $1.9 million Clean Water SRF loan for the upgrade and expansion of its wastewater treatment. As part of the loan, up to $687,500 will be forgiven and does not need to be repaid.

The City Council in Coon Rapids, Minnesota has approved plans for a project to replace its sewer lift station. The project will begin in May, cost an estimated $421,000 and is expected to be complete this fall.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Marin County, California
Middle Smithfield Township, Pennsylvania
Middlesboro, Kentucky
Northville Township, Michigan

February 14, 2011

Monday’s Water News: President’s Budget Cuts Funding for Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

Posted in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, National, New York, North Carolina at 9:23 pm by bengann

Top Stories
President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget includes $2.5 billion –a decrease of $947 million — combined for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs). The President’s budget includes $1.55 billion for the CWSRF and $990 million for the DWSRF. In 2010, the SRF programs — excluding  funding from ARRA — made available $8.8 billion in financing to local communities.

In other important news on federal spending for environmental infrastructure, the House Committee on Appropriations has introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for the last seven months of the fiscal year. The proposed CR has bad news for the SRF programs which would receive a cut of $1.967  billion from the current levels in the CR.

Other Headlines
Clean-up efforts are continuing in an area of northeast Minneapolis after a major water main break flooded basements of homes and businesses. A large sinkhole developed where the main broke and 28 homes and two businesses remain without water service.

A water main break has been fixed in Asheville, North Carolina. Earlier today a major 36-inch main broke disrupting water service to most of the city.

Some residents in Richmond, New York are being asked to boil water before drinking it, following a weekend water main break. The break caused a loss in water pressure, which can allow contaminants like E.coli to enter the system.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Charlotte, North Carolina
Southwick, Massachusetts
Torrance, California
Winnebago, Minnesota

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