July 18, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Jefferson County (Ala.) Asks Creditors for $1.3B Write Down of Sewer Debt

Posted in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee at 9:40 pm by bengann

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Jefferson County (Ala.) officials are asking Wall Street creditors to wipe out nearly $1.3 billion of the $3.14 billion sewer debt as part of a plan presented in secret last week to resolve the lingering financial problems tied to the county’s sewer system bonds.

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A dozen buildings within the State Capitol Complex in Oklahoma City were closed today due to water main breaks in water lines resulting in reduced water pressure. The break caused the air conditioning to malfunction and disrupted the flow of water to restroom. In addition, computer system capabilities of some state agencies are limited due to the extreme heat.

In Michigan, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s Saganing reservation has begun work on a water and wastewater treatment plant that is to serve the Saganing Eagles Landing Casino, the Saganing community center and residents of the reservation south of Standish in Arenac County.

For 11 straight days, Aberdeen, South Dakota’s wastewater treatment plant has released millions of gallons of untreated wastewater into Moccasin Creek. The city is doing what it can to remedy the situation and as wastewater continues to be discharges into the creek.

Officials in Cumming, Georgia  are moving closer to a decision that will lead to the construction of a new wastewater facility near Lake Lanier. The total project is estimated to cost about $700,000 and take about 120 days to complete.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Hazleton, Pennsylvania
La Vergne, Tennessee
Sugar Grove, Illinois
Waco, Georgia

June 27, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Public Health Warning Issued in Pensacola After 2.2M Gallon Sewage Spill

Posted in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia at 11:28 pm by bengann

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A public health warning is in effect for the waters near the University of West Florida after 2.2 million gallons of raw sewage spilled from a nearby sewer main into the surrounding wetlands. “This illustrates the problems we are facing to address our crumbling infrastructure and we are doing that; obviously not fast enough,” said Emerald Coast Utilities Authority board member Lois Beson. “This is a regrettable occurrence, but we will be diligent in finding all of these problem areas and fixing them.”

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Pollution in Illinois waterways has improved dramatically but state and federal environmental officials say it’s still not good enough, and that too many cities still have antiquated sewer systems that route sewage and storm water through the same pipes, causing them to overflow during heavy rains. EPA has ordered cities to submit plans by the end of September for how they will limit overflows to no more than four per year or capture 85 percent of the volume when the systems do overflow.

The New Jersey State Environmental Commissioner expects the state legislature to approve $44 million in funding for stormwater projects aimed at restoring Barnegat Bay.

The City of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania  has moved one step closer to pursuing a $9.4 million loan to upgrade the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The city would be responsible for 50 percent of the loan’s cost, with the other municipalities that receive sewer service from the city picking up the other half.

On Saturday and again on Sunday, a water main break at Kansas City International Airport has shut down water supply to part of Terminal A and slowed traffic near the terminal.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Fall River, Massachusetts
Falls Church, Virginia
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Tega Cay, South Carolina

June 8, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Chicago-area Water District Decides to Clean Up Chicago River

Posted in California, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee at 6:58 pm by bengann

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The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which serves Chicago and Cook County, has decided to support efforts to clean up the Chicago River after spending $13 million in resisting efforts to clean up the river. Most of the water in the Chicago River and its connected waterways comes from sewage treatment plants operated by the district, which for years has skipped an important germ-killing step adopted by most other U.S. cities.

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Sanitary sewage overflows into homeowners’ basements and a local waterway in Elmhurst, Illinois and the city’s failure to prevent or report the issues has prompted the Illinois EPA to tell the city to comply with state and federal laws or face penalties.

A stretch of road in Fargo, North Dakota turned into a river this morning after a massive water main break. The break was so bad that it completely drained the water tower which served the affected neighborhood and left some residents without water while the break was being repaired.

There are concerns that Greenville, South Carolina’s aging sewer system is hindering the city’s economic growth, as sewer capacity has become a big concern when planning new development.

A raw sewage spill spewed a foul mess all over the street in a Gulf Park Estates, Mississippi neighborhood. One affected resident says that since moving to the area in 2002 she has seen 30 or so nasty leaks.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bell Buckle, Tennessee
Lake Elmo, Minnesota
San Clemente, California
Smithsburg, Maryland

May 6, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Citrus County (Fla.) Beach Closed After High Bacterial Count in Water

Posted in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee at 7:35 pm by bengann

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In Florida, the Citrus County Parks and Recreation Division have put up the no swimming signs at the Ft. Island Gulf Beach Park after the county Environmental Health Department found high bacterial counts in the most recent water samples. The beach had been open to swimming for a month up until Thursday, after having been closed to swimming for a number of consecutive weeks prior to that.

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Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s plan to ax a $750,000 grant appropriation aimed at helping the town of Brady replace its ailing water system has officials there grappling over what to do next.

When the Upper Hocking Wastewater Treatment Plant begins pumping sludge this summer, it will mark the end of a $50 million construction project on what officials in  Lancaster, Ohio have called the largest public works project in the city’s history.

An estimated 100,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Jump and Run Creek in Harnett County, North Carolina on Thursday after a force main break.

In Pennsylvania, several Bucks County municipalities and water authorities will receive state grants totaling $9.8 million to help pay for various water and sewer projects.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bend, Oregon
Columbia, Tennessee
Louisville, Kentucky
Newburgh, Indiana

This blog will not be updated next week as I will be at the 2011 NUCA Washington Summit. Regular posts will return Monday, May 16.

May 3, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Massachusetts to Borrow Another $100M for Water System Improvements

Posted in Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin at 12:50 pm by bengann

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The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which is already saddled with nearly $6 billion in debt, is planning to borrow an additional $100 million to pay for capital improvements to its delivery and storage network in the months ahead. Moody’s Investor Services says much of the authority’s borrowing has been used to finance more than $7 billion in water-system upgrades, but warned that its debt-service obligations will see a “sizable peak” at the end of this decade.

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Town officials in St. Johnsbury, Vermont have broken ground on a $5.3 million project to replace water and sewer infrastructure on St. Johnsbury’s south side. The south side effort is the third phase of the four-phase, $15 million infrastructure project, funded largely by federal stimulus money.

The city of Klamath Falls will enter into a $1 million revolving fund loan agreement with the state of Oregon to lay the foundation for future loans needed to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant. The agreement barely makes a dent into the $40 million it needs to completely upgrade its wastewater treatment plant.

The preliminary cost estimate for damage to public infrastructure in Saranac Lake, New York caused by flooding of Lake Flower and the Saranac River over the past week is in the $5 million range.

In Rockville, Maryland, a sewer line break between Rockville and Garrett Park caused delays for MARC train riders on all Brunswick Line trains into Washington, D.C. this morning.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Jerome, Idaho
Holden, Massachusetts
Knoxville, Tennessee

April 26, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: Breached Levee Causes Evacuation in Poplar Bluff, Missouri

Posted in California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas at 8:00 pm by bengann

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The levee along the Black River near Poplar Bluff, Missouri was breached south of the city on Tuesday morning forcing an evacuation of 1,000 people. In 2008, flooding damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes in Poplar Bluff, raising doubts about whether the levee was capable of protecting the town during heavy rain. A federal inspection gave the levee a failing grade, and the private district that maintains it has been unable to make repairs.

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The City of Dubuque, Iowa will pay a $205,000 penalty and make several changes after acknowledging it has illegally allowed hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage to discharge into the Mississippi River and a tributary for years during major storms.

Columbus, Georgia has agreed to pay the state $150,000 for sewer spills that happened in one of the rainiest years on record. As part of the agreement, the city will speed up the process of assessing, repairing and replacing its sewer system.

Officials in Kerrville,  Texas have advised residents to avoid Quinlan Creek due to contamination from a sewage spill that was blamed for a fish kill in the tributary of the Guadalupe River.

The EPA has awarded Goliad, Texas $194,000 to upgrade and elevate the city’s primary sewer line so its wastewater is treated in compliance with federal and state laws.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Belmont, California
Easthampton, Massachusetts
La Vergne, Tennessee
Rochester, Illinois

April 25, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Pennsylvania Community Receives $3.6M for Sewer System Upgrades

Posted in Alabama, California, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas at 12:28 pm by bengann

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In Pennsylvania, Brackenridge’s sewer system is going to get a major upgrade this year, and the state is picking up the $3.6 million tab. Overall, the sewer liner project involves rehabilitation of 36,000 feet — about 6.2 miles — of sewer lines through about half the borough.

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A collapsed sewer line left several Jersey City residents with sewage backing up into their basements and without water for several hours on Saturday. One resident noted that her basement often floods during heavy rain and she did not realize initially that it was sewage.

The town of Berlin, Maryland will receive $3.5 million in grant and loan funding from the USDA for its wastewater treatment plant upgrade. Berlin’s wastewater treatment plant project, which began in 2009, consists of upgrading the decades-old plant to allow it to treat 750,000 gallons per day and building a new spray site for irrigation.

The court-appointed receiver who oversees Jefferson County, Alabama’s sewer system has asked the county for control over the system’s $257 million in cash and investments in case the financially troubled county files bankruptcy.

In Ohio, developers of a Hollywood casino in suburban Columbus will officially break ground today on the $400 million project despite an ongoing fight with neighboring Columbus that has left the property without water or sewer service.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Carson City, Nevada
Houston, Texas
Knoxville, Tennessee
Mira Loma, California

April 13, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Broken Water Main in Bethlehem (Penn.) Causes Major Disruption

Posted in California, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin at 10:55 pm by bengann

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A resident in Swissvale, Pennsylvania says she just wants the road back to normal after a water main break has left it torn apart for months. The street has been torn apart since the water main break initially occurred around Thanksgiving.

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The city of Welch, West Virginia’s wastewater treatment plant will soon be getting an upgrade in order to process more water and prevent dumping into local streams and creeks.

Gibbsboro, New Jersey has been awarded more than $2 million in funding to replace and renovate sewer lines. USDA has awarded the municipality a $175,000 grant and a $450,000 low-interest loan for the effort. An additional $1.39 million loan from the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund will fund the balance of the project.

The company that constructed the Gatlinburg (Tenn.) Wastewater Sewage Plant basin that failed last week apparently did not follow exact design specifications, a forensic engineer said Monday. When the basin failed the morning of April 5 after a night of heavy rain, two Veolia Water North America employees were killed and more than 2 million gallons of untreated sewage poured into the nearby West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.

In Hamilton, Ohio, the start of a 30-month upgrade to the LeSourdsville Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant is now underway in earnest. The plant will undergo a $41.7 million upgrade and expansion, the first since the $14 million expansion in 1994.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Brawley, California
Canton, Michigan
Columbia, South Carolina
Oshkosh, Wisconsin

April 11, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Proposal to Move Iowa’s Water and Sewer Loan Fund Criticized

Posted in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee at 11:51 am by bengann

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Critics fear that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s proposal to shift a state program that helps fix sewer systems and drinking water plants to a new economic development authority could be a money grab. If enacted, the legislation would shift control of the water and wastewater loan programs from the Department of Natural Resources and the state Finance Authority to a new economic development authority.

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Several blocks of in downtown Durham, North Carolina were shut down Saturday, after a 12-inch water main burst.

Officials in Minneola, Florida hope the city’s dismal financial picture will brighten a bit after agreeing to refinance Minneola’s nearly $15 million debt on a new wastewater-treatment plant.

Grand Island, Michigan faces a series of challenges in repairing its aging wastewater system. Among the problems facing the city has critical deterioration in three of its main sewer collector lines and at the headworks of the wastewater treatment plant. Immediate repair needs total about $45 million.

People in Casselton, North Dakota had to conserve water this weekend when the city’s sanitary sewer system became overworked.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Asheville, North Carolina
Bartlett, Tennessee
Delran, New Jersey
Madison County, Alabama

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

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