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.

Other Headlines
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

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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

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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

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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

April 29, 2011

Friday’s Water News: State Legislation to Help Fix Omaha’s Sewers Must Wait Until Next Year

Posted in California, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin at 1:53 pm by bengann

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A bill in the Nebraska state legislature to help Omaha pay for the federally mandated reconstruction of its sewer system will have to wait until next year. The bill was expected to pass but was shelved because of an expected veto by Gov. Dave Heineman. The measure would have redirected $65 million in state and local sales taxes on local sewer rates to Omaha to help pay for the $1.7 billion sewer project.

Other Headlines
In Bad Axe, Michigan, about 80,000 gallons of fully treated water and a mixture of raw sewage and storm water was discharged into the Bad Axe Drain yesterday because the infiltration flows exceeded the Bad Axe Wastewater Treatment Plant’s capacity.

Financing has been secured for the oft-delayed Puckety Creek sewer project in Washington Township, Pennsylvania. But threatened legal action could further delay the project, which will affect 750 authority customers. Washington Township Municipal Authority will get an $8 million loan from PNC Bank to finance the project. It is believed that project delays for the past 18 months have increased its cost by about $1.3 million.

The Borough Council in Hightstown, New Jersey has agreed to consider over $1.9 million for sewer improvements at its beleaguered sewage treatment plant and to bring a new well on-line.

The Village of Wilton has settled with the state of Wisconsin over alleged violations at its wastewater treatment plant in Monroe County. As part of the agreement the village has agreed to pay $7,000 and retain a second certified wastewater operator for six months.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Los Gatos, California
Port Angeles, Washington
Rock Hill, South Carolina
San Diego, California

April 7, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Officials Search for Answers in Wastewater Plant Tragedy

Posted in Arizona, California, Illinois, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin at 2:09 pm by bengann

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Operators of a wastewater treatment plant in Gatlinburg, Tennessee where a wall collapse killed two employees are working to restart it and stop a flow of sewage into a rain-swollen river while regulatory agencies try to find out what happened.

Other Headlines
City of Akron Public Service officials have been authorized by the City Council to seek permits for two sewer separation projects and subsequently to move forward with construction.

The flow of untreated sewage that pours into the San Francisco Bay every rainy season could finally be curtailed by a new state law and a string of lawsuits. The EPA and local nonprofits have launched lawsuits against multiple sanitary and utilities districts and municipalities in a bid to end the spills, many of which could violate the Clean Water Act.

State lawmakers in Nebraska have given first-round approval to a bill that would help the city of Omaha pay for $1.7 billion in federally mandated sewer upgrades.

Residents in a section of Laurel, Mississippi will soon have some relief from issues involving sewer water flowing on their property thanks to a sewer construction project funded by a Community Development Block Grant.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Madison, Wisconsin
Marana, Arizona
Newtown, Pennsylvania
West Dundee, Illinois

April 6, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Archaelogical Dig to Delay Sewer Construction in Des Moines

Posted in Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia at 6:43 pm by bengann

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Human remains that could be 7,000 years old have been found by sewer construction workers in Des Moines, Iowa and will delay construction of a sewer project. The find will delay the original $37.8 million sewer project for at least six months and cost the Des Moines area’s Wastewater Reclamation Authority an estimated $1.5 million or more because of delays caused by the archaeological dig.

Other Headlines
Voters in St. Joseph, Missouri approved a $105 million sewer bond yesterday. The funds will be used for projects related to a federal mandate that it address its combined sewer overflow issues and to meet new regulations concerning the amount of ammonia and other chemicals it may discharge into the Missouri River.

The City of Tonawanda, New York Common Council last night approved bonding more than $2.2 million for a variety of expenses, including a multi-year sewer reconstruction that may cost the city up to $1.9 million the first year.

Nebraska state lawmakers disagree on a bill that would return some state sales tax money to Omaha to help pay for $1.7 billion in federally mandated sewer renovations.

A broken 36-inch sewer main that flooded a major road on Miami Beach could be causing traffic delays in the area for days to come. To make matters worse, businesses and residents near the broken sewer main are not only dealing with flooding problems, they are also dealing with a horrible stench from the dirty water.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Evansdale, Iowa
Newton Falls, Ohio
Williamstown, West Virginia
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

April 5, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Two Dead Following Basin Wall Collapse at Wastewater Treatment Plant

Posted in Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia at 7:11 pm by bengann

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The bodies of two missing wastewater plant employees in Gatlinburg, Tennessee were found this afternoon under the wall of a basin that collapsed, sending 850,000 gallons of wastewater into the Little Pigeon River. The cause of the collapse remains unclear and is part of an ongoing investigation. Four workers, including the missing men, were at the site this morning when a wall of one of the multi-cell sewage basins completely collapsed.

Other Headlines
The city of Biloxi, Mississippi is finally ready to repair damage to its water and sewer system caused by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. The $1.36 million federally funded contract will involve removing and replacing about 7,800 feet of damaged 6-inch and 8-inch water and sewer lines, repairing storm drains, rebuilding a wastewater pump station, and repairing any part of the roadway damaged during the work.

It could cost West Seneca, New York between $50 million and $70 million to fix its aging, leaking sewer system that causes raw sewage to seep into some residents’ showers and basements, according to an engineer hired by the town.

Aquatech has begun deployment of its mobile frac wastewater treatment solution at a field location in Western Pennsylvania. The company says it will also significantly reduce the volume of wastewater that must be disposed or treated off-site, alleviating the burden on local water resources and roadways.

The morning commute in parts of Omaha was slower today after a 12-inch water main break cut traffic down to one lane in the area around the break. The break cut water service to about two dozen customers, many of them commercial businesses.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Ellsworth, South Dakota
Farmington, Michigan
Ilwaco, Washington

March 31, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Omaha Set to Begin $200 Million Sewer Project

Posted in California, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington at 9:12 pm by bengann

Top Story
Omaha is set to begin a new $200 million sewer project. From now through the next year, residents will see a lot of heavy equipment around town as the city moves ahead with separating old sewer lines and putting in new infrastructure. The work could mean as many as 2,000 jobs for the area, and is part of a 15-year, $1.7 billion federally effort  to separate the sewers in the eastern half of town.

Other Headlines
The planned upgrades to the Jamestown, North Dakota sewer system will concentrate on increasing capacity of the system while also reducing infiltration. The project time frame allows for engineering work until roughly the end of 2011 with construction occurring during both the 2012 and 2013 construction seasons.

In California, Orange County’s world-famous system for turning sewer water into highly purified drinking-water will receive a $156 million upgrade — boosting its capacity to 100 million gallons per day.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has announced a number of low-interest loans through the EPA’s SRF programs for projects aimed at improving water and wastewater infrastructure.

A water main break this morning in downtown Everett, Washington closed part of a busy street while also flooding nearby businesses.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Corpus Christi, Texas
Fresno, California
Goleta, California

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

Top Story
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.

Other Headlines
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

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