February 21, 2011

Monday’s Water News: House of Representatives Passes Bill Cutting Water Infrastructure Funding

Posted in Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, National, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 10:08 am by bengann

Top Story
On Friday, the House of Representatives passed legislation which would cut funding for the EPA’s SRF programs through the end of the fiscal year which ends on September 30. The SRF programs were cut by $1.967 billion from last year’s fiscal levels to $1.52 billion. The Senate will consider its own spending bill for the remainder of the fiscal year next week. The current continuing resolution for funding the government expires March 4.

Other Headlines
A water main break in Shaler, Pennsylvania late Sunday night spilled 2 million gallons of water onto a popular roadway and flooded nearby homes.

State environmental officials in Delaware have levied penalties totaling $514,000 on the town of Millsboro and city of Harrington for polluting local waterways with excessive and harmful discharges of sewage over the last two years from their wastewater treatment plants.

The city of Akron, Ohio wants a jury to hear a possible civil trial in U.S. District Court over its 34 remaining sewers that overflow The request for a jury trial has been filed with a judge, who first must rule on a proposed consent decree between Akron, the EPA and Ohio EPA.

A $10.5 million, 18-month project to improve the quality of water released from the Bowie, Maryland’s wastewater treatment plant is nearly complete. The upgrade reduces levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the treated water discharged into the Patuxent River which eventually empties into the Chesapeake Bay.

Water and Sewer Rate News
East Union Township, Pennsylvania
Holden, Massachusetts

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

January 28, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Lake George (N.Y.) to Borrow $1.7 Million for Sewer Line Upgrades

Posted in California, Georgia, National, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia at 7:06 pm by bengann

Top Story
Lake George, New York is moving forward with a $1.7 million bond issuance to upgrade the village’s sewer lines. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has given Lake George until September to complete repairs, or further sanctions and fines will be imposed.

Other Headlines
Mexican officials have notified the U.S. portion of the International Boundary and Water Commission that final repairs have complete to a broken collector pipe just south of the border. Beaches on the U.S. side of the border were closed on and off due in part to heavy flow of sewage contaminated water from the Tijuana River watershed.

The city of Marble Falls, Texas is planning a $4.52 million construction project which will increase the capacity of one its wastewater treatment plants to 1.5 million gallons per day.

In California, the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority may be eligible for federal disaster funds to repair a sewer line that separated in December, spilling an estimated 42 million gallons of waste into the Mojave River.

Residents in McMechen, West Virginia are being asked to conserve water through the weekend after a main break caused a drop in water storage in a nearby towers.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Chillicothe, Ohio
Front Royal, Virginia
Madison, New Jersey
Richmond Hill, Georgia

January 27, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Sen. Cardin Calls on President Obama to Invest in Water Infrastructure

Posted in California, Maryland, Michigan, National, New York, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin at 8:13 pm by bengann

Top Story
Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has called on President Obama to include water infrastructure in his six-year plan for investing in our nation’s infrastructure. In his letter to the President, Sen. Cardin pointed out that our nation’s water infrastructure has outlived its 50-year life span and that an investment in the nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure will ensure that American families have access to clean, safe water and create thousands of new, well-paying jobs.

Other Headlines
Elected officials in Lindon, Utah have approved $3 million in bonding to increase the capacity of the city’s sewer system.

In Dundalk, Maryland a 16-inch water main break near the front truck entrance to the Marine Terminal closed some lanes of Broening Highway today.

The Sand Creek Sanitary District, located in Dunn County, Wisconsin has requested approval from the state Department of Natural Resources to replace its 34 year-old wastewater treatment system. The district likely will apply for a Clean Water Fund loan and the project cost is $1,095,000.

A water main break forced an elementary school in Corning, New York to close today.  The break originated near the school’s playground and caused a couple of inches of water to pour into a foyer and two classrooms.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Brighton Township, Michigan
Escondido, California
Eureka, California
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

December 20, 2010

Monday’s Water News: Study Finds Probable Carcinogen in Tap Water of 31 U.S. Cities

Posted in Arkansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, National, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin at 8:31 pm by bengann

Residents in at least 31 U.S. cities could be drinking tap water contaminated with the harmful chemical hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, according to a report released today by the non-profit Environmental Working Group. The EPA has classified hexavalent chromium as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” and the new study may eventually lead to a national drinking water standard for the chemical.

Construction has begun on a hard-rock stormwater overflow and relief sewer tunnel 180 feet below the surface in Columbus, Ohio. The nearly 4.5-mile-long tunnel has a 20-foot diameter and will further limit combined sewer overflows into the Olentangy and Scioto rivers.

A major water main break this afternoon in Gloucester, Massachusetts cut off water supply to about 70 percent of the city. Schools in the city will be closed tomorrow because of the disruption in service and residents will likely remain under a boil-water order until Wednesday.

The city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire is taking the first step to secure funding for a massive overhaul of its wastewater systems.  The city wants to borrow $3 million for a preliminary sewer plant upgrade. The cost is at a tenth of the expected funding needed for the treatment plant upgrades mentioned in the city’s master plan.

Stimulus Spotlight
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago has decided to delay a $280 million municipal bond sale until next year, due to volatile conditions in the municipal bond market. The district had planned to sell $280 million in Build America Bonds — an economic stimulus program — but the bond market has been in turmoil with the BAB  program ending on December 31.

Sewer Rate News
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Kalispell, Montana
Verona, Wisconsin

December 17, 2010

Friday’s Water News: Pittsburgh Area Road Reopens After Water Main Breaks

Posted in Illinois, National, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia at 7:35 pm by bengann

Five water mains broke this morning in various parts of Pittsburgh’s Northern suburbs (known as North Hills), including one that closed a major road and delayed the opening of a shopping mall for about an hour-and-a-half on a bustling shopping day. The closing of the major road meant no one could use the two ramps leading to the shopping mall or gain access to other businesses on the road.

The Weirton Sanitary Board and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection are about 16 months apart on their timelines for a major overhaul to the city’s aging sewer system. The massive upgrade is the result of a March discovery that 7 to 8 percent of the city’s untreated sewage had been flowing into the Ohio River through an outfall.

In Oregon, Clackamas County commissioners have unanimously approved a $3.2 million contract to install the second phase of a public sanitary sewer system in the North Clackamas Revitalization Area. The project is funded through a loan from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s clean water state revolving fund. The project was also awarded $4 million federal stimulus money, which helped pay for the first phase of construction.

Stimulus Spotlight
House members on Thursday night voted 277 to 148 to approve an $858 billion tax package that contains few bond-related provisions and no extension of the Build America Bond program, which was included in the economic stimulus and helped finance infrastructure construction–including for water and sewer systems. The bill was signed into law today by President Obama.

Incoming House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) plans to introduce a “reincarnation” of the Build America Bond program in the next Congress set to expire at the end of the year.

Sewer Rate News
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Galena, Illinois
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania

December 14, 2010

Tuesday’s Water News: San Diego County Strip Mall Flooded by Water Main Break

Posted in California, Illinois, Michigan, National, South Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming at 12:03 pm by bengann

Several businesses in a San Diego County strip mall were cleaning up their flooded stores yesterday following an early morning water main break. The break occurred in Solana Beach under a pet store set to open today, and due to the flooding is pushing back its grand opening at least several weeks.

In Washington, heavy rains over last weekend caused sewage to overflow into the Port Angeles harbor. According to local officials, the four combined sewer overflow outfalls in Port Angeles discharged approximately 15 million gallons of a mixture of stormwater and raw sewage into the harbor.

The city of Naperville, Illinois expects construction for a sanitary sewer project to last two weeks but should be finished by Christmas.  The project is part of the city’s long-term capital improvement plan to maintain its sanitary sewer infrastructure.

Officials in Alpine Township, Michigan are moving closer to approving a $2.29 million sewer project which they hope will qualify for state funding.

Stimulus Spotlight
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D) is proposing what may be a last-ditch effort to extend the Build America Bonds program as part of legislation being considered by the Senate to continue the 2001 and 2003 income-tax cuts. The program has provided billions of dollars for infrastructure improvements, including water and sewer projects, but Republicans have made it clear that they oppose extending the Build America program.

Sewer Rate News
Casper, Wyoming
McHenry, Illinois
Pickens, South Carolina
Wausau, Wisconsin

December 10, 2010

Friday’s Water News: $2.2 Million Sewer Project to Begin Soon in St. Louis

Posted in California, National, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington at 8:16 pm by bengann

In St. Louis, construction will begin soon on a major storm sewer project to ease basement backups and flooding. The new sewer will convey storm water through a storm-sewer system to the River des Peres, relieving existing combined sewers. The project is estimated to cost $2.2 million.

A broken water main flooded roads and parking lots in Auburn, Washington causing residents in the area of the break to have no or low water pressure.

Construction will begin soon on an $18 million sewer plant project in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

Stimulus Spotlight
The U.S. Senate has kept a continuation of the Build America Bond program out of a bill to extend income-tax cuts made in 2001 and 2003, according to the latest draft of the legislation. The federal subsidy for debt to finance public works projects–including water and sewer projects–isn’t among changes made to win support for the measure.

In New York, the Monroe County Water Authority has approved issuing $94.5 million in 30-year taxable bonds to help finance ongoing construction of a new water treatment plant in the town of Webster. Authority officials estimate the issuance of taxable Build America Bonds rather than non-taxable bonds will save the authority between $10 million and $30 million.

Sewer Rate News
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Sacramento, California

December 8, 2010

Wednesday’s Water News: Water Main Break in Bellingham (Wash.) Floods Streets

Posted in Georgia, Kansas, National, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin at 11:26 pm by bengann

A break in a large water main in Bellingham, Washington flooded streets and cut water service to three square blocks of city’s southside early this morning. City officials said the break spilled about 728,000 gallons of water in less than an hour.

Copperhill, Tennessee has been ordered to pay a local business owner $100,000 for damage from a sewage spill in January 2009.

Some residents in DeKalb County, Georgia are complaining about the cost of a proposed $1.4 billion plan to upgrade its water and sewer system. Officials have said it will cost even more if they wait to complete the project.

More than a dozen properties in Dunmore, Pennsylvania were without water today after a water main break.

Stimulus Spotlight
Democratic senators are urging the chamber’s leaders to continue the Build America Bond program as part of legislation enacting the agreement that President Barack Obama struck to extend the 2001 and 2003 income-tax cuts. The federally subsidized initiative, which pays 35 percent of the interest on state and local government bonds sold for public-works projects–including water and sewer projects, wasn’t included in the deal that the White House brokered with Republicans.

Sewer Rate News
DeKalb County, Georgia
Gardner, Kansas
Hamilton County, Ohio
Wausau, Wisconsin

December 7, 2010

Tuesday’s Water News: Dowtown Lexington (Ky.) Impacted by Water Main Break

Posted in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, National, West Virginia at 8:45 pm by bengann

At least ten businesses in the downtown Lexington, Kentucky area noticed lower water pressure today or had their water shut off due to a water main break. Officials say a 12-inch main broke overnight spilling water onto the roadway, causing one lane of traffic to be temporarily shut down. The break is expected to be fixed sometime this evening.

In Florida, the Army’s 7th Special Forces cantonment at Eglin Air Force Base now has a working sewer system after the Okaloosa County Water and Sewer department completed it 14-month, $5.2 million project in late-November.

Construction on a 20-mile sewer pipeline and four pump stations from Mathews to Gloucester in Massachusetts is expected to wrap up in January. The $10 million sewer pipeline construction will spell the demise of the wastewater treatment plant that befouls the air and water in the Mathews Village area.

Stimulus Spotlight
The City Council in St. Albans, West Virginia has approved a resolution that will allow the city to issue $12.5 million in Build America Bonds to replace the antiquated water and sewer pipes in the city.

Extension of the Build America Bonds program isn’t included in a wide-ranging tax agreement between President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders. It is possible the bond program could be added in subsequent negotiations as the tax package is finalized, but that will be difficult due to Republican opposition.

Sewer Rate News
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
DeKalb County, Georgia
Picayune, Mississippi
Spencer, Iowa

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