June 29, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Study Says 2010 One of Worst Years for Polluiton-Related Beach Closures

Posted in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, National, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin at 5:36 pm by bengann

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The Natural Resources Defense Council’s has released  its annual beach water quality report which reveals that bacterial contamination at many beaches across the nation still poses risks to swimmers’ health. Last year was one of the worst in two decades for pollution-related beach closures and warnings, partly due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and storm water runoff.

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A water main break in a Sacramento, California neighborhood yesterday flooded three city blocks and left business owners scrambling to keep the water from flooding their shops. The water was several inches deep across a road, leaving an intersection impassable to traffic during the height of the evening rush hour. At least six businesses have interior flooding, and employees at some businesses are using sandbags to try and keep the water out.

Oak Ridge North, Texas has decided to move forward on phase two of its sanitary sewer rehabilitation project at a cost of over $730,000. Phase two of the project involves replacing the 40-year-old existing pipeline. The project is being funded through the Clean Water SRF.

The town of Southington, Connecticut will spend $184,000 to repair sewers in a neighborhood that has been plagued with sewage backups into homes, which had been occurring because so much stormwater leaks into the pipes during rain storms that their capacity is overwhelmed, forcing sewage back into houses.

Construction is set to begin in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania to install new sanitary sewer lines as part of a $1 million project. Completion of the project is expected this fall.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Abbotsford, Wisconsin
Mulberry, Arkansas
Ripon, Wisconsin
Shepherdsville, Kentucky


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

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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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 12, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: SRF Cut by Nearly $1 Billion in Budget Deal

Posted in Arizona, California, Illinois, National, New Mexico, New York, Virginia, Washington at 10:56 pm by bengann

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The continuing budget resolution passed last week contained major cuts to the SRF programs. Specifically, the one-week CR cuts the Clean Water SRF to $1.535 billion (from $2.1B in FY10) and Drinking Water SRF to $965 million (from $1.387B in FY10). These represent major cuts to programs vital to public health which also creating well-paying jobs.

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In Staten Island, New York, FDNY, NYPD and Department of Environmental Protection officials were on the scene after a water-main break causeda flood of water to cascade onto the street.

The city of Lynchburg, Virginia hopes to be able to break ground by late summer on phase two of improvements to its water and sewer system. The project is expected to take 18 to 20 months and is part of the city’s 10-year master plan.

Laguna Pueblo in central New Mexico will receive two grants totaling $2 million to improve its water and waste water systems. The current sewage collection system was built more than 20 years ago and the water distribution systems were constructed more than 50 years ago.

In Washington, a much-hoped-for funding source for a proposed sewer system in Carlsborg is one step closer to reality, after the state House of Representatives included a $10 million loan in its proposed state construction budget.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Los Altos, California
Mesa, Arizona
Montgomery, Illinois
West Dundee, Illinois

March 24, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Gloucester (Mass.) Asks EPA to Renew Secondary Treatment Waiver

Posted in Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, National, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 12:02 pm by bengann

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With potentially higher water and sewer bills looming for Gloucester, Massachusetts, city officials and business leaders are expecting a big turnout for tonight’s EPA public hearing. Mayor Carolyn Kirk will try to persuade EPA officials to rescind a tentative decision to deny Gloucester’s request to renew its secondary treatment waiver. Without it, Gloucester will be forced to spend $60 million on a secondary treatment plant, which will double residents’ already high water and sewer rates.

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Thanks to a $369,000 grant courtesy of the economic stimulus two suburban Pittsburgh communities will soon commence work on sewer reconstruction project.

A new GE white paper says one of the best ways to stretch Earth’s supply of available water is through increased reuse and recycling, yet progress in these areas has been limited due to a lack of effective incentives.

In Missouri, the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance has received a $740,000 grant from the EPA for projects to better control stormwater runoff.

A precautionary boil water notice has been issued for 350 homes in St. Augustine, Florida following a water main break.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Chester, Ohio
Detroit, Michigan
Otsego, Michigan
Salida, Colorado

March 23, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Omaha Mayor Makes Case for Federal Investment in Sewers

Posted in California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, National, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia at 11:47 am by bengann

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Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle traveled to the Washington, D.C. yesterday to ask for federal help with the metro area’s $1.7 billion bill for federally mandated sewer improvements. The work must be done by 2024. Mayor Suttle provided a number of ideas for ways the federal government could help finance sewer projects, including a tax on toilet paper.

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A water main break this morning in Cleveland, Ohio flooded a local road and forced the closure of an exit ramp from Interstate-90. A portion of the road caved in, making the underpass impassable in both directions.

In Tampa, Florida, sewage discharged into Trout Creek during a rupture last week is expected to reach the upper Hillsborough River today.

A follow-up to a story from yesterday, beaches in the area around Long Beach, California will remain closed through Monday as bacteria levels in the water remain high following a 250,000 gallon sewage spill.

The natural gas industry is promoting the use of recycled wastewater in hydraulic fracturing to address concerns that wastewater from mining for natural gas has polluted waterways in Pennsylvania.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Findlay, Ohio
Fort Wright, Kentucky
Lynchburg, Virginia
Taunton, Massachusetts

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

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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

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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.

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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

March 9, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Rep. Rahall Criticizes Budget Cuts to Water and Wastewater

Posted in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, National, New York, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming at 11:44 am by bengann

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Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is criticizing proposed Congressional budget cuts that would eliminate federal grants and loans providing water and wastewater services to communities in Southern West Virginia. “When we invest in America, we put Americans to work,” Rahall said. “Without basic services, like clean water, even the health of families can falter.”

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The LOTT Clean Water Alliance in Olympia, Washington is about to embark on a $3 million project to increase the public’s comfort level with reclaimed wastewater. Last year, about 12.4 percent of the nearly 4 billion gallons of wastewater treated at the two LOTT treatment plants received advanced treatment to qualify for reuse.

A new U.S. Geological Survey study shows that nutrient levels decreased in the upper Blue River following upgrades to the Johnson County’s Blue River Main Wastewater Treatment Facility in Overland Park, Kansas. Excessive nutrients can be harmful by degrading habitats and decreasing the amount of oxygen in the water.

A broken water main in Staten Island which  flooded the basement at Borough Hall caused the cancellation of a Red Cross Month proclamation ceremony.

DeKalb County, Georgia has experienced s even raw sewage spills in the last four days because of heavy rains. In December, the EPA mandated DeKalb upgrade its sewer system after the county reported more than 800 raw sewage spills in five years.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Barstow, California
Corpus Christi, Texas
Freeport, Illinois
Laramie, Wyoming

February 22, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Study Suggests Greater Sewer Overflows for Great Lakes Communities

Posted in Alaska, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, National, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin at 7:23 am by bengann

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A new study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee says climate change may bring heavier spring rains to communities across the Great Lakes which could cause some sewers to overflow more heavily. According to the study in the worst case scenario there could be an average 20 percent increase in the volume of overflows, and a ten percent increase in the number of such events.

Other Headlines
Four water main breaks occurred yesterday in Rockford, Illinois, with two of them on the same street. Included in the water main breaks, a sinkhole developed after one of the water mains broke and covered the residential road in water. A city salt and plow truck was called to spread salt but fell into a sinkhole after the ground under the vehicle was weakened by the water main break.

In Houston, Texas, a sewage leak last November will cost almost $7 million to permanently repair. The city’s already in the midst of a $900 million sewer system improvement program and this new repair would be on top of that.

The City Council in Columbia, Missouri voted unanimously yesterday to extend the Hinkson Creek sewer outfall by constructing 29,000 feet of extra sewage line. The project is estimated to cost $8.1 million.

It could be another month before repairs are completed to a sewer line which broke earlier this month in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Guadalupe, California
Henderson, Kentucky
Kenai, Alaska
Lynchburg, Virginia

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