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

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July 19, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Jersey City to Make $52 Million in Sewer Repairs Under Consent Decree

Posted in Alabama, California, Indiana, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania at 7:15 pm by bengann

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The Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority under a Consent Decree reached with the Department of Justice and EPA will spend more than $52 million on sewer repairs and upgrades and pay a civil penalty of $375,000 after repeated violations of the Clean Water Act.

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In the Cleveland, Ohio area, swimming advisories are in effect for Edgewater Beach, Villa Angela Beach and Euclid Beach after heavy rain and sewer outfalls caused raw sewage to spill into Lake Erie.

A water main break in Lawrence, Kansas has closed several blocks of 19th Street and disrupted water service for 25 customers.

Florence, Alabama is moving forward with plans on a $1 million project to replace a 60-inch sewer line which is collapsing from ground pressure. The work will require blasting, not only because of the depth of the line but because there is a large amount of rock around it.

Public works crews in South Bend, Indiana have closed a key downtown intersection to repair a collapsed sewer line.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Johnson City, New York
Napa, California
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Steelton, Pennsylvania

July 14, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Near Plan to Settle Its Sewer Debt

Posted in Alabama, California, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York at 6:54 pm by bengann

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After being near the brink of insolvency for nearly three years, Jefferson County, Alabama finally has a plan to settle its $3.2 billion sewer debt and hopefully avoid the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. The plan includes a fixed-rate plan with a fixed term, modest sewer rate increases and backed by the state of Alabama’s credit rating.

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Citizens Energy Group will take control of Indianapolis’ water and sewer utilities in about six weeks, following state regulators’ approval of the deal.  Citizens will take over the utilities’ operations and capital projects, as well as $1.5 billion in debt. No immediate rate increases are associated with the deal, although water and sewer rates are expected to increase by triple-digit percentages over the next 15 years to pay for system upgrades.

A 19th-century water main broke this morning in the Manhattan, New York neighborhood of Chelsea flooded a street and left dozens of area residents and businesses without water. The broken 12-inch main was originally installed in the 1870s.

San Benito, California is in the process of undertaking a multi-million dollar project to address its sewer problems. In fact, in a recent study it was found that many manholes need to be repaired and that drainage needs to be improved.

Spencer, Iowa has received a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant for sanitary sewer collection improvements. Expenses for the project will be split nearly 50-50, with the city paying $650,000 of the total cost.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Hayward, California
Middleboro, Massachusetts
Reno, Nevada
Solvang, California

July 11, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Advisory Issued for Beach in Bellingham, Washington

Posted in California, Idaho, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin at 5:14 pm by bengann

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In Washington, a beach advisory has been posted for Wildcat Cove in Larrabee State Park because tests have consistently shown increased levels of fecal bacteria that exceed federal standards for clean water. Sewage spills or leaks were the biggest culprits in Washington state in 2010, causing 67 percent of beach closing and advisory days.

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The city of Jerome, Idaho needs a plan that will convince the EPA it’s doing everything necessary to get its wastewater treatment plant up to snuff following sewer overflow problems tied to the dairy industry. Without a plan in place, the city stands a stronger chance of a lawsuit and steep EPA fines. The city’s initial estimates put the necessary work on the plant at $3.25 million.

The public disclosure that Rialto, California’s water system needs $42 million in upgrades and renovations is symptomatic of a national trend that civil engineers have long called alarming. Needed upgrades to its water and sewer system will have to be paid for through rate increases. Rialto has not raised its wastewater rates in 10 years and water rates in seven years.

For the Milwaukee (Wisc.) Metropolitan Sewer District is planning to install new, smaller screens to remove debris, trash and plastic containers from wastewater flowing into the Jones Island sewage treatment plant, as well as other upgrades at the 25-year-old preliminary treatment facility, the project is estimated to cost $14.9 million.

Water was restored to the 30 homes in Winchester, Massachusetts last night which were impacted by a water main break. Although the water is back on the Department of Public Works needed to come out today to clean the streets of mud and make needed repairs to the road.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Fredonia, New York
Hayward, California
McLean, Virginia

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”.

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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 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 21, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Small Illinois Community Needs $1.5 Million in Sewer Repairs

Posted in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York at 6:45 pm by bengann

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Repairs to South Beloit, Illinois’s faulty sewer system will cost the city about $1.5 million, according to a study by city engineers. The community of over 8,000 must now determine how they will pay for these needed repairs, and are considering a low-interest loan from the Illinois EPA via the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program.

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The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority has awarded a $1 million to Raburn County to finance sewer system improvements along State Road 441 between Dillard and Mountain City.

In Michigan, the Ottawa County Health Department has issued a no body contact advisory for the Macatawa River and Lake Macatawa after a 50,000 gallon raw sewage spill.

And in more Michigan news, the city of Ann Arbor is planning to embark on a project to relocate 825 feet of sanitary sewer lines at the site of a proposed transit center. The project is estimated to cost $1.2 million.

Leaders in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York  are expected to approve a $6.6 million contract for a private company to operate the town’s largest wastewater treatment plant . Officials estimate the five-year agreement could save the town $2 million over the course of the five-year pact.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Annapolis, Maryland
Lexington, Kentucky
Newmarket, New Hampshire
Solana Beach, California

June 3, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Sewer System Improvements to Cost Capital Region (N.Y.) Residents $110M

Posted in Arizona, California, Georgia, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania at 6:55 pm by bengann

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Sewer rates in much of the Capital Region of New York could be rising steadily during the next two decades under a $110 million plan to reduce sewage pollution in the Hudson River. Such overflows occur about 90 times a year in the region when sewer plants, which also handle storm water, are overwhelmed during heavy rains and dump untreated sewage directly into the Hudson.

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In Georgia, the Augusta Utilities Department is using a dog to sniff for raw sewage in order to help detect and eliminate elusive sewage leaks. This spring, the state’s Environmental Protection Division fined the city roughly $45,000 for about 100 sewage spills dating to 2004.

A water main break created a sinkhole that sunk part of the pavement on Thursday at the Taste of Syracuse (N.Y.) was fixed this morning, three hours before the annual celebration of Central New York cuisine opened. The two-foot wide sinkhole opened early Thursday morning less than 200 yards from the stage where music artists are scheduled to perform on Saturday.

Ruscombmanor Township has accepted a $500,000 grant from the state of Pennsylvania to extend an existing sewer line through the township which is expected to cost $1.8 million.

A Georgia Administrative Law Judge has revoked Forsyth County’s permit allowing it to discharge 6 million gallons a day of treated waste water into the Chattahoochee River. In her ruling, Judge Kristin Miller said the permitted discharge would violate state and federal laws because it would result in lower water quality in the Chattahoochee, and the county could more thoroughly treat its waste water and discharge less pollution into the river.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Brookings, Oregon
Dana Point, California
Glendora, California
Tolleson, Arizona

June 2, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: 2.3 Billion Gallons of Sewage Dumped in Lake St. Clair (Mich.)

Posted in California, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New York, South Carolina at 5:30 pm by bengann

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In Michigan, 2.3 billion gallons of sewage was dumped into Lake St. Clair and other local waterways due to the recent heavy rains, forcing the continued closure of three local beaches. Of the total pollution discharged, at least 2 million gallons consisted of raw sewage.

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A newly completed sewer facility in northeast Queens (N.Y.) will reduce the amount of pollutants discharged into Alley Creek and Little Neck Bay. As part of the project, several storm drains were installed to reduce flooding issues along the Cross Island Parkway.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell has proposed sending $2 million to the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which would be combined with federal money to help municipalities fund wastewater infrastructure projects.

A boil-water advisory remains in effect for about 60,000 customers of the Anderson Regional Joint Water System in South Carolina after a water main break Wednesday evening. Although water service has been restored to the customers, the boil water advisory affects a third of the systems customers.

Eighty percent of the 74 water sample locations conducted along the Hudson River after the heavy rains of mid-May resulted in “unacceptable” levels of pollution from sewage overflow into the river. The sampling was conducted from New York Harbor north to Waterford. Not one sample north of Poughkeepsie had an acceptable reading.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Millinocket, Maine
Onsted, Michigan
Roseville, California
Washington Township, Michigan

May 18, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: East Bay Municipal Utility District to Pay $210,000 for Violations

Posted in California, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Vermont at 4:07 pm by bengann

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In Oakland, California, the East Bay Municipal Utility District has agreed to pay nearly $210,000 to settle violations for sewage discharges in 2009. The district was cited by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board for three violations: two for high chemical levels and a third for an equipment malfunction that caused the system to overflow and spill sewage.

Other Headlines
Last weekend’s rainfall in Saginaw, Michigan caused close to 73 million gallons of partially treated sewage to spill into the Saginaw River.

New court records allege the water company which operated Gary, Indiana’s sanitary district for ten years continued breaking environmental law for years, though they had been advised as early as 2003 their process violated the Clean Water Act. Despite the warnings, chlorine tampering continued until October 2008, when federal agents raided the sanitary district, prosecutors allege.

Turning over operation the city of Batavia, Ohio’s water and sewer systems to Clermont County could save its residents millions of dollars and reduce pollution to a scenic river.  If the city doesn’t make such a switch it could cost more than $6 million for needed upgrades. That equates to $10,000 for each household and business.

More than 12 hours after a water main break was reported in Indianapolis, the break was repaired and traffic was flowing again, but not before the repair work snarled traffic during heavy morning and lunch traffic.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Baltimore, Maryland
Bennington, Vermont
Queens, New York
Waverly, Ohio

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