July 21, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Near Bankruptcy Over $3.2 Billion Sewer Debt

Posted in Alabama, California, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin at 4:21 pm by bengann

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In Alabama, Jefferson County appears closer to declaring bankruptcy if it cannot reach a settlement with creditors regarding its $3.2 billion in sewer bond debt. If Jefferson County does declare bankruptcy it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.  County commissioners and the state’s governor have said bankruptcy remains a real option if talks with creditors fail but have still held out hopes for the talks success.

Other Headlines
A new $32 million sewer project in Johnson County, Kansas has been given the go ahead which will construct an underground effluent pipe carrying millions of gallons of treated wastewater from a treatment plant and empty into the Kansas River.

The village of Salineville, Ohio will have water service to the sewage plant terminated next week unless it pays an over $9,000 bill to the Buckeye Water District.

Officials in Muskego, Wisconsin have approved a $227,000 storm sewer project to better handle overflow in heavy rains. Work could start as early as October 1 with target completion date in late fall.

A water main break in Scott Township, Pennsylvania left about a dozen people without service on this morning.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Lewisburg, West Virginia
Los Angeles, California
Whitney, Texas
Ypsilanti, Michigan

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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.

Other Headlines
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 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.

Other Headlines
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 7, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Northeast Ohio Reaches Consent Decree on $3 Billion, 25-year Fix for Sewers

Posted in Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania at 9:11 pm by bengann

Top Story
A federal judge has approved a $3 billion, 25-year deal for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, which includes Cleveland, to reduce the amount of untreated waste that is dumped into local waterways. The agreement reached with the EPA, Department of Justice and Ohio Attorney General’s office promises to reduce discharges of untreated waste from the current level of about 4.5 billion gallons a year to under 500,000 gallons annually by 2036.

Other Headlines
In Alabama, a judge has ruled on the side of Jefferson County in a hearing between the county and the receiver appointed to oversee its sewer system. The receiver John Young wanted to transfer $60 million of the county’s money into an account only he would have control over, but the judge ruled the transfer was illegal under state law.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has issued a warning after the city of Maquoketa discovered untreated wastewater going into the Maquoketa River. Based on flow records, the city estimates 400,000 gallons of untreated wastewater poured into the river before it was discovered.

EPA has released excerpts of responses from Pennsylvania’s six most active Marcellus Shale drillers describing how they plan to deal with their wastewater instead of discharging it through conventional treatment plants.

A water main break late Wednesday night in Lafayette, California was forceful enough to blow surrounding soil into the air and disrupt service for about 100 customers.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Flowery Branch, Georgia
Macomb Township, Michigan
Manchester, Ohio
Umatilla, Oregon

July 5, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Stormwater Contamination Increasing Shut Down of Connecticut Beaches

Posted in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington at 5:00 pm by bengann

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Connecticut’s coastal beaches in 2010 had to be shut down twice as often as in recent years between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Stormwater contamination was the cause 66 percent of the time a beach had to be closed.

Other Headlines
A state circuit court judge has set a Wednesday hearing on a request to transfer about $60 million from the Jefferson County sewer system to a corporation set up by the court-appointed receiver in charge of the system. The matter is separate from a demand made last month by the court-appointed for $75 million that the county has in reserves.

Ascension Parish, Louisiana has received more than $5 million in federal hurricane recovery money to consolidate and upgrade rural sewer services. The funding will be used to buy 14 acres of rights of way and allow parish government to build lift stations to consolidate sewer services in unincorporated areas of the parish.

The state of Ohio is set to make $1 million this year from treating wastewater from natural gas drilling sites in Pennsylvania. The amount of wastewater Ohio accepted from out-of-state drillers has jumped, in part because Pennsylvania officials this year increased pressure on drillers to keep fracking waste out of surface water.

A broken water main caused a mess in a Los Angeles neighborhood Sunday afternoon. About a half-dozen homes in Sherman Oaks were affected, including one that had its swimming pool filled with mud.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania
Hobart, Wisconsin
Newburyport, Massachusetts
Polk City, Iowa

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

Top Story
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 23, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Sewer Debt May Have Them on Verge of Bankruptcy

Posted in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma at 5:17 pm by bengann

Top Story
The Alabama court-appointed receiver in charge of managing Jefferson County’s sewer system — as well as its defaulted warrants and swaps — is demanding that the county turn over $75 million from its general fund. The demand for millions from the municipality could be the catalyst that forces Jefferson County to file for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Other Headlines
Owosso, Michigan had a sewer overflow of approximately 40,000 gallons on Tuesday and Wednesday after 2.71 inches of rain fell in the area over the last two days.

USDA has awarded $2.7 million to Rockland, Maine for upgrading its sewers.  Rockland City Manager Rosemary Kulow said, “In these challenging economic times, municipalities and their citizens can use all the financial assistance they can get, especially when it comes to the expensive replacement of old, worn out utility infrastructure.”

In more news concerning USDA awards, Stuttgart Arkansas will receive a $7 million loan from the agency for the purpose of replacing 26.5 miles of drinking water infrastructure which provides service to 2,000 customers.

15-year municipal bonds carrying a an interest rate of just over 3 percent will be issued to finance a $2.4 million in sanitary sewer improvements in Granite Falls, Minnesota, one of the largest utility projects every undertaken by the city.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Antioch, Illinois
Bay Village, Ohio
Clermont County, Ohio
Locust Grove, Oklahoma

I will not be posting tomorrow but look for the next post on Monday, June 27.

June 20, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Study Finds More Money Needed to Fix Milwaukee Sewers

Posted in Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin at 7:30 pm by bengann

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A task force in Milwaukee finds the city must spend more to repair its aging sewers to reduce the catastrophic effects of extreme storms. Storms last July poured up to 9 inches of rain across much of the Milwaukee area, with some neighborhoods receiving more than 3.5 inches of rain in one hour. The deluge caused millions of dollars’ worth of property damage with more than 9,000 homeowners asked for special flood debris pickup.

Other Headlines
A disinfection system that would help curb the level of E. Coli pumping into the Mississippi River is one step closer to becoming reality in Memphis, Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has issued a draft permit for Memphis to install this disinfection system at two treatment plants. The disinfection system is already in place in most other large cities.

Millions of barrels of salty, toxic wastewater from natural-gas wells in Pennsylvania are coming into Ohio despite efforts to keep it at bay. Unlike Pennsylvania, Ohio’s geology supports brine-injection wells. From January through March, nearly half the brine that went into disposal wells in Ohio came from Pennsylvania and other states.

Due to a rainstorm on Saturday, Portland, Oregon’s combined sewers overflowed into the Willamette River. City officials recommend that the public avoid the river for 48 hours after the rain has stopped.

Hundreds of East Baltimore residents who have been without water since Saturday are expected to have service restored this evening. The initial cause of the disruption, a break in a 20-inch main, was repaired early this morning, but three additional small water service lines also broke when they started allowing water to flow through the repaired main.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Clarksville, Indiana
Hall County, Georgia
Keizer, Oregon
St. Clair County, Michigan

June 13, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Nearly 20,000 Residents in W.V. Community Without Water After Main Break

Posted in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia at 7:29 pm by bengann

Top Story
Most of the 20,000 residents in Weirton, West Virginia were without water this weekend after a break in a 50-year-old main line at the city’s water treatment plant. An emergency declaration was issued urging conservation by any residents who still have water.

Other Headlines
A second engineering study of a sewer project in Trumbull, Connecticut has revealed that pipes and manholes in the system are riddled with even more problems than initially reported and will cost $8.4 million to fix.

The Village of Pomeroy, Ohio will use $2 million in grants to remedy compliance violations handed down by Ohio EPA. Funding from the grants will be used to correct combined sewer overflows and upgrade its wastewater treatment plant.

In Georgia, the major spill reported as ongoing last week at the city of Richmond Hill’s wastewater treatment plant occurred longer than previously thought.  The spill which began May 17 continued through May 30, with more than 10.8 million gallons of treated wastewater flowing from the facility’s constructed wetlands into Elbow Swamp.

Three of Bay City, Michigan’s top officials head to Washington, D.C., this week in an effort to get financial relief for the city’s overwhelming sewer debt. Bay City has more than $40 million in sewer debt spanning the past two decades from a state-mandated order to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Arizona City, Arizona
Funkstown, Maryland
Monroe, Michigan
Palo Alto, California

June 6, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Penn. Treatment Plants No Longer Treating Wastewater from Drilling

Posted in California, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina at 8:21 pm by bengann

Top Story
Pennsylvania’s environmental regulators believe that companies drilling in the huge Marcellus Shale natural gas formation have largely stopped taking salty, chemically tainted wastewater to riverside treatment plants that are ill-equipped to remove all the pollutants. Many of the largest drillers have said they have stopped the practice and now either reuse nearly all the wastewater that gushes from gas wells or truck it to Ohio for disposal in that state’s approximately 170 underground injection wells.

Other Headlines
In Hawaii, the public was advised to stay out of Kaneohe Bay and Windward Oahu and North Shore on waters on Saturday because of sewage spills and storm runoff from Saturday’s heavy rains.

St. Augustine Prep School in Richland, New Jersey has expanded its wastewater treatment system to handle the treatment needs of the school for the foreseeable future.

The Las Vegas-area clean water agency that won a crucial $62 million Nevada Supreme Court ruling that changed the way the governor and Legislature handled the state budget is liquidating its assets. The Clark County Water Reclamation District and the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas formed the coalition in 2002 to address the valley’s growing sewage problem, but the bad economy halted growth and dried up the connection charge revenue that was expected to fund most of the work.

Work continues filling sinkholes along Middletown, Ohio’s Great Miami River bike path. The sinkholes were caused by corroded sewer piped and flooding of the river. It’s estimated the price tag so far to make repairs is close to three-quarters of a million dollars.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Gastonia, North Carolina
Lake Wylie, South Carolina
Lee County, Florida
St. Louis, California

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