July 25, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) to Make Bankruptcy Decision Thursday

Posted in Alabama, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania at 11:49 pm by bengann

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Officials in Jefferson County, Alabama will decide Thursday whether or not to declare bankruptcy, in what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. The county has struggled for the last three years under $3.2 billion in sewer bond debt.

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The northbound lanes of a road in the Chicago suburb of Palatine remained closed today because of a gaping, 20-foot sinkhole caused by a sewer line that collapsed following storms on Saturday bringing about flooding and a record amount of rain.

A large water main break in Tulsa, Oklahoma flooded a neighborhood and cut off water service to many in the area near the break.

Residents in Portland, Oregon have been asked to avoid the Fanno Creek Trail after a sewage pipe leak sent out contaminated water throughout the area.

Crews with the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District were making repairs today after an eight inch sewer main broke and leaked sewage in South St. Louis County. The broken main is currently leaking into a tributary of Mattese Creek. It’s unknown how much sewage has entered the creek and its tributary.

Water and Sewer Rates
Fredonia, New York
Lincoln, Nebraska
Malden, Massachusetts
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

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.

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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 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.

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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

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

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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.

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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 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 27, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Public Health Warning Issued in Pensacola After 2.2M Gallon Sewage Spill

Posted in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia at 11:28 pm by bengann

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A public health warning is in effect for the waters near the University of West Florida after 2.2 million gallons of raw sewage spilled from a nearby sewer main into the surrounding wetlands. “This illustrates the problems we are facing to address our crumbling infrastructure and we are doing that; obviously not fast enough,” said Emerald Coast Utilities Authority board member Lois Beson. “This is a regrettable occurrence, but we will be diligent in finding all of these problem areas and fixing them.”

Other Headlines
Pollution in Illinois waterways has improved dramatically but state and federal environmental officials say it’s still not good enough, and that too many cities still have antiquated sewer systems that route sewage and storm water through the same pipes, causing them to overflow during heavy rains. EPA has ordered cities to submit plans by the end of September for how they will limit overflows to no more than four per year or capture 85 percent of the volume when the systems do overflow.

The New Jersey State Environmental Commissioner expects the state legislature to approve $44 million in funding for stormwater projects aimed at restoring Barnegat Bay.

The City of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania  has moved one step closer to pursuing a $9.4 million loan to upgrade the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The city would be responsible for 50 percent of the loan’s cost, with the other municipalities that receive sewer service from the city picking up the other half.

On Saturday and again on Sunday, a water main break at Kansas City International Airport has shut down water supply to part of Terminal A and slowed traffic near the terminal.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Fall River, Massachusetts
Falls Church, Virginia
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Tega Cay, South Carolina

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

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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 1, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Demand in U.S. for Water and Wastewater Pipe to Increase

Posted in California, DC, Michigan, Missouri, National, North Carolina, Ohio at 9:22 pm by bengann

Top Story
U.S. demand for water and wastewater pipe is expected to increase six percent annually to $19 billion in 2014, equivalent to approximately five billion feet. Stimulants include a rebounding residential building construction sector, the growing obsolescence of sewer and drainage systems, and needs to upgrade municipal water systems.

Other Headlines
Two massive projects underway at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant in Washington, D.C. will not only protect water quality in the Potomac River and downstream in the Chesapeake Bay, but also be the first facility in North America to apply a process that treats sludge and generates electricity in the process.

The city of San Bruno, California has agreed to pay $621,000 in fines to settle a lawsuit filed over nearly 2 million gallons of sewage that spilled from its aging system into the San Francisco bay and Pacific Ocean.

North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan has announced that the town of Robbinsville is receiving more than $4.8 million in funding from USDA to build a new wastewater treatment plant with $3.15 million in grant funding and $1.66 million in loan financing.

Summerfield Schools in Petersburg, Michigan is trying not to extend the school year again after classes were canceled today due to a water main break.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Lebec, California
Nordonia Hills, Ohio
Springfield, Missouri
Willits, California

May 17, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Wall at Treatment Plant Collapses Causing a 600,000 Gallon Sewage Spill

Posted in Alabama, California, DC, Illinois, Missouri, New York at 6:52 pm by bengann

Top Story
Nearly 600,000 gallons of partially treated sewage was released after a 15-foot-high, 100-foot-long concrete wall collapsed at a wastewater treatment plant in Binghamton, New York. Much of the escaped sludge poured into Fuller Hollow Creek, a tributary to the Susquehanna River located just feet from the wall. The plant serves 10 municipalities and Binghamton University.

Other Headlines
In Washington, D.C., officials broke ground today on an expansion of the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The to $1.4 billion, three-year effort to reduce pollution is just the latest step for DC Water. In the fall, they plan to start work on a $2.6 billion effort to reduce sewage overflows by updating sewers built before the Civil War.

A new $404 million Combined Sewer Overflow Facility in Brooklyn, New York will prevent up to 50 million gallons of combined sewer overflows during heavy rain from being discharged into Paerdegat Basin, a 1.25 mile channel that is connected to Jamaica Bay.

The city of Morris, Illinois — as required by the Illinois EPA — will spend about $5.8 million in Tax Increment Financing funds and Water and Sewer funds on a long-term control plan to eliminate any overflow from sanitary sewers.

A $2 billion overhaul project to improve the Kansas City’s aging sewer system got under way on Monday. The project is anticipated to take more than a year to complete, and is the first project of its kind to be tested. City officials said the cost of the project will be shared with residents through increased sewer rates.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Auburn, Alabama
Clarendon Hills, Illinois
Lemon Grove, California
Port Angeles, California

April 27, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: EPA Orders Columbia (S.C.) to Fix Sewer System or Risk Takeover

Posted in California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas at 7:04 pm by bengann

Top Story
EPA has ordered the city of Columbia, South Carolina to fix its sewer system or risk a federal takeover. The city’s plan, after negotiating with EPA officials, is to spend $49.2 million next budget year on sewage system improvements — part of the city’s long-term, $500 million campaign to upgrade both its water and sewage system. But to make the improvements, the city will have to borrow money this year – and raise water and sewage rates by 5 percent to pay the money back.

Other Headlines
Texas faces a significant cut in federal funding for some environmental projects as a result of the recent budget deal in Washington. Cuts to the EPA’s SRF programs for the current fiscal year mean that the Lone Start State anticipates receiving $25 million less for drinking-water projects and $30 million less for sewer projects the previous fiscal year.

Work crews worked to repair a sinkhole today in Kansas City that developed after a water main break. The sinkhole swallowed a car, shutdown traffic at the intersection and affected 20 nearby businesses.

Saturday’s rainfall in Bay City, Michigan caused more than 20 million gallons of partially treated sewage to overflow into the Saginaw River.

The northeastern Missouri city of Macon will get a $1.3 million loan thank to the EPA’s state revolving fund program to improve its wastewater disinfection facilities.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Fountain, Colorado
Grandville, Michigan
Jurupa, California
New Haven, Indiana

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