March 17, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Paterson, N.J. to Borrow $2.8 Million for Sewer Upgrades

Posted in California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania at 7:47 pm by bengann

Top Story
Paterson, New Jersey is looking to borrow $2.86 million to make repairs to its aging sewer system. That money represents just a fraction of the investment municipal officials say the sewer system needs – a complete overhaul that would cost as much as $500 million.

Other Headlines
Rainfall and saturated ground in Salem, Oregon caused 1.25 million gallons of sewage to overflow into the Willamette River yesterday. The incident pales in comparison to a sewer overflow incident last December when 25 million gallons was pumped into the river.

In California, the Calera Creek Water Recycling Plant has agreed to pay a $1.7 million fine and a total overhaul of its sewer maintenance system under a settlement reached with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Construction is set to begin this July to triple the processing capacity of the wastewater treatment plant in Princeton, Minnesota.

A water main break sent water pouring into a Pittsburgh senior citizens center on Thursday morning, canceling a planned St. Patrick’s Day celebration. 

Water and Sewer Rate News
Buellton, California
Norco, California
Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
West Reading, Pennsylvania


March 14, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Two Cars in Milwaukee Swallowed by Sinkhole After Main Break

Posted in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin at 5:08 pm by bengann

Top Story
On Saturday, a break in a 42-inch water main in Milwaukee created a sinkhole which swallowed two cars. City work crews are now taking precautions to prevent the 25 foot by 25 foot hole from getting bigger. An owner of one of the said he could tell something was not right. He says he was standing on the concrete nearby, and that the vibration was like a train under his feet.

Other Headlines
Corpus Christi, Texas is facing a major overhaul of its sewer system and according to one estimate it cost as much as $1.5 billion. In the past 12 years, the city has been fined $165,665 for wastewater-related violations.

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District says it may have to cut as much as $165 million in the next several years off planned sewer construction projects, flood management efforts and sewage treatment plant upgrades if the state Legislature embraces deficit-elimination measures in Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2011-13 state budget.

A federal loan of about $1.1 million will help the village of Butte, Nebraska  improve its sewer system. Several Butte residents have endured sewer backups into their basements, because of the aging, overtaxed system.

The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) of Louisville is reporting that three of its stations are pumping a mix of storm and sanitary wastewater, due to Ohio River levels. The total amount discharged is unknown but, MSD says it will be significant in the millions of gallons per day.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Appleton, Wisconsin
Ashland, Oregon
East Jordan, Michigan
Pacifica, California

February 2, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Water Main Break in Albuquerque Turns Intersection into Skating Rink

Posted in Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon at 10:32 pm by bengann

Top Story
An overnight water main break in Albuquerque, New Mexico turned a busy intersection into a virtual skating rink this morning after the break dumped hundreds of gallons of water onto the road which quickly froze and covered roads with a thick sheet of ice.

Other Headlines
Work could start as early as June to help DeKalb County, Georgia meet a federal mandate to improve its sewers. The $1.35 billion project is necessary because the EPA has mandated the county improve its sewer system after reporting more than 800 raw sewage spills over five years.

The city of Mount Angel, Oregon has slated a $40,000 sanitary sewer line project to work on this spring with the goal of lengthening the life of the sewer system.

A broken water main that leaked an estimated 500,000 gallons of water along a major road in Augusta, Georgia also snarled traffic and closed some businesses.

The water in Oil City, Louisiana is back on after a major water main break, but the city of 1,300 is likely to be under a boil water advisory until at least Friday. The city’s Mayor reports the water main break caused a sinkhole four feet deep.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Ames, Iowa
Flint, Michigan
Indianapolis, Indiana
Westwood, Massachusetts

January 11, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Water Main Break Floods Philadelphia Neighborhood

Posted in California, Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin at 7:51 pm by bengann

Top Story
A broken water main poured about 8 million gallons of water into the streets of a north Philadelphia neighborhood today. Residents in the area near the break are now dealing with flooded cars and basements. A crater now sits where the break occurred and several square blocks are waterlogged and covered in mud.

Other Headlines
Residents in Bend, Oregon could soon see hikes in their water and sewer rates to pay for a plan over the next five years to allocate more than $200 million to upgrade city’s water and sewage system. The city says the improvements are necessary because water quality will fall out of compliance with state law without those improvements.

Construction for a sewer project in Pamplin City, Virginia is expected to be completed by April. The sewer system is being installed to replace poor performing septic tanks. To finance the project, the town received a $225,000 block grant from Rural Development along with another $1.2 million grant and $581,000 in loan money.

A follow-up to a story from yesterday, although contractors have plugged a leak that spewed an estimated 42 million gallons of raw sewage into a river in the Apple Valley (Calif.) area after December’s heavy storms damaged the sewage line. But it may be several months to a year before the main sewage line serving the high desert is back online. It has cost $3 million so far to bypass the sewage lines, but a more permanent solution could end up costing between $6 million and $20 million.

A boil alert is in effect for the city of Campbell, Ohio after a water main break leaked 750,000 gallons of water. Much of the city was without water while crews fixed the lines which were repaired this afternoon.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Front Royal, Virginia
Howard, Wisconsin
Plymouth, Illinois
Sierra Madre, California

January 7, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Evansville (Ind.) Agrees with Justice Department on $500M Sewer Overhaul

Posted in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon at 8:05 pm by bengann

Top Story
The Department of Justice and city of Evansville, Indiana has agreed to a sewer system overhaul that could cost more than $500 million. Evansville’s sewer system has a history of maintenance and system capacity problems that result in it being overwhelmed by rainfall, causing it to discharge untreated sewage combined with storm water into the Ohio River.

Other Headlines
In Oregon, the city of Lake Oswego is still on track to finish overhauling the city’s more than 40-year-old sewer line by late spring.

In California, the Rubidoux Community Services District used $13 million in federal disaster funds to build new sewer facilities. The good news is the new lines, and two new pump stations, had their first big test in the December rainstorms and performed as expected.

A water main break on Route 74 in Vernon, Connecticut is still causing trouble after it broke for a second time within 36 hours. About 40 homes have been affected by the water main break.

City officials in Arcadia, California were still trying to determine yesterday what triggered a break in a water main that sent a torrent gushing down the road leaving about 50 homes in the neighborhood without water.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Canyon Lake, Arizona
Detroit, Michigan
Northern Kentucky Water District
Thomaston, Georgia

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

November 8, 2010

Monday’s Water News: EPA May Order Secondary Treatment of Wastewater in Gloucester, Mass.

Posted in Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia at 10:02 pm by bengann

EPA is moving toward ordering the city of Gloucester, Massachusetts to join the rest of New England in putting its sewage through secondary or biological treatment, before expelling it into the Atlantic Ocean. The price tag to expand and modernize one of its sewer treatment plants if mandated would cost between $40-60 million.

Public Utility officials in Lynchburg, Virginia say the city has a plan to replace the water lines in the downtown area, but that process could take years to complete. The need for repair was highlighted again today after downtown Lynchburg saw a significant water main break for the second time in less than a month. Water lines are sensitive to cold temperatures, and the expectation is more water main breaks will occur with winter right around the corner.

Planning is now underway for a $244 million, 1.2-mile tunnel system, pump station and enhanced high-rate treatment facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, that will reduce the mixture of sewage and stormwater that enters local waterways.

Stimulus Spotlight
The village of Hampshire, Illinois has approved an agreement with Kane County to borrow money through the federal stimulus fund program to connect water distribution systems.The village will receive up to $550,000 in federal funds through the county for the work. The payback period will be 10 years, with a low interest rate of 3 percent or less.

Construction is continuing on an $11 million water and sewer line replacement project in Laurel, Mississippi. The project is being funded in part with $1.8 million “principal forgiveness” loans from the economic stimulus. 

Sewer Rate News
Keokuk, Iowa
Muskegon Township, Michigan
Salem, Oregon
Wilmington, North Carolina

November 5, 2010

Friday’s Water News: Mississippi Community to Build New $2.4 Million Water Tower

Posted in California, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia at 5:13 pm by bengann

Officials in Hernando, Mississippi have agreed to build a new $2.4 million, 130-foot-tall tower along Interstate 55 which will store a half-million gallons of water. The city is borrowing the money from the state of Mississippi to pay for the project.

Residents in parts of Rochester, Michigan were under an advisory today to boil tap water before using it because of a water main break that’s led to low water pressure. The boil water alert will remain effect until at least Sunday morning.

In, Tennessee, the Murfreesboro City Council has approved $1.6 million in contracts for water and sewer construction work to begin.  

Stimulus Spotlight
The Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District, has awarded a $9.1 million contract to begin rehabilitation of sewer mains and smaller connecting sewers. The project is designed to eliminate or control related sewer overflows that affect both the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County. The project is being partially funded by the economic stimulus. 

The city of Metolius, Oregon has been awarded $191,000 in federal money to improve the wastewater treatment plant. The funds, which come from the stimulus program, will help the city save money on the project.

Sewer Rate News
King George County, Virginia
Paso Robles, California
Penn Township, Pennsylvania
Petaluma, California

October 29, 2010

Friday’s Water News: Georgia Awards $18.2 Million to Eight Communities for Water and Sewer Projects

Posted in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington at 7:38 pm by bengann

The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority has approved financing for eight water and wastewater infrastructure projects totaling $18.2 million. “Investment in our state’s water and sewer infrastructure stimulates the economy, promotes the stewardship of our natural resources, and helps to meet Georgia’s future water needs,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.

Repairs and clean-up took place yesterday in Bend, Oregon after a water main break downtown sent water shooting some 70 feet into the air for about an hour and flooding several homes. Streets around the break were closed as crews worked to stop the flow of water.

A wastewater treatment plant in Cullman, Alabama had to contend with sewage run-off in Mud Creek, one of the city’s main drainage channels yesterday. City officials hope to correct the problem in the next few months when a new treatment plant will come online.

Stimulus Spotlight
Stamford, Connecticut is considering using revenue from Build America Bonds so residents in the northern part of the city currently using wells can connect to the city’s water and sewer system. Connecting to the system would allow aforementioned residents concerned about levels of pesticides and other toxins found in drinking water from wells in the area.

Federal stimulus funding made possible the construction of a solar array to provide electricity for Hailey, Idaho’s wastewater treatment plant. The plant is the largest single user of energy in all city facilities and buildings.

Sewer Rate News
Edmond, Oklahoma
Franklin, Tennessee
Longview, Washington
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

October 27, 2010

Wednesday’s Water News: $17.7 Million in Grants to Fund Water and Sewer Projects in West Virginia

Posted in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, West Virginia at 12:50 pm by bengann

In West Virginia, $17.7 million in Small Cities Block Grants is being awarded to fund 31 water and sewer projects throughout the state. Over $50 million in other federal, state, and local funds will be leveraged to complete these projects. HUD provides Small Cities Block Grant funds to the state for such projects.

The city offices in North Ogden, Utah were closed yesterday because a sewer backed up into the upstairs offices and made a huge mess.

Residents in Camden Point, Missouri will decide Tuesday whether to build the city’s first sewer system. On the ballot is a question asking them to allow the city to issue $4.8 million in sewer system revenue bonds. The work is needed because the city doesn’t have a sewer system.

Stimulus Spotlight
The City Council in Pasadena, California has voted in favor of issuing up to $30 million in water revenue bonds to help fund capital water projects. All or a portion of the bonds may be offered as federal stimulus funds called Build America Bonds. Among the projects that could be funded through the bond proceeds are a recycled water program, the upgrading of current facilities and the design and construction of a treatment plant to help remove perchlorate from the groundwater.

The town of West Bridgewater, Massachusetts has broken ground on a new million-gallon water tank that is being partially funded by the economic stimulus. Financing from the project is being built with about $1 million in federal stimulus money, $1 million from a legal settlement and about $1 million in a low-interest federal loan.

Sewer Rate News
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Longview, Washington
Montgomery County, Maryland
Umpqua, Oregon

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