June 14, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: St. Louis Sewer District Considers Settling with Federal, State Regulators

Posted in Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Vermont, Virginia at 7:53 pm by bengann

Top Story
Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District officials are seriously considering a settlement in a lawsuit brought in 2007 by both the Federal government and state agencies over its massive violations of the Clean Water Act. The settlement would cost the district $4.7 billion in system upgrades over 23 years, and another $2.8 million in penalties. Such a settlement would also lead to substantial increases for residents in the district.

Other Headlines
Vermont’s commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation says almost every town in the state needs to upgrade at least a portion of its water or sewer infrastructure, and communities should start planning now how to pay for it.

The Town of Vienna, Virginia is weighing whether it should retain ownership of its water and sewer system or if instead it should sell its water and sewer system. Retaining ownership would mean the town would have to invest at least $12 million in improvements over the next 10 years. However, the town would need to sell its water and sewer systems for at least $28 million to be compensated for its costs.

In Michigan, construction is expected to start next week on a new four-mile sewer pipeline that will link Bear Creek Township’s sewer system with the Harbor Springs Area Sewage Disposal Authority’s treatment plant.

Some residents in Oahu are being asked to conserve water due to a break in a 16-inch water main. The break cancelled classes and activities at Windward Community College and closed the Kaneohe District Court.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bangor, Maine
Corpus Christi, Texas
Dexter, Michigan
Gross Pointe Woods, 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

Top Story
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

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

Top Story
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.

Other Headlines
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

March 7, 2011

Monday’s Water News: Escondido Announces $200M Water Recylcing and Reclamation Plan

Posted in DC, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont at 10:08 pm by bengann

Top Story
The city of Escondido, California has launched an ambitious $200 million plan that would recycle sewage into drinking water and irrigate much of the city with reclaimed water. Facing increased scarcity of water and dwindling sewer capacity, transforming much of the city’s sewage into drinking water and irrigation water would eliminate the need to spend about $400 million widening the sewer pipes connecting Escondido to the Pacific Ocean. The city’s water and sewer customers would face higher rate for many years to pay for the upgrades.

Other Headlines
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown has announced that a $2.4 million loan has been awarded to the Ross County to improve water distribution. The USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant funds will help to construct transmission mains and distribution lines that will bolster rural development.

A water main break on in Northborough, Massachusetts has affected a pressurized water main that takes the flow to the treatment plant.

In Georgia, Oglethorpe County has won a $4 million federal grant to build a wastewater treatment plant and sewer lines. The funding will be used to for the construction of a $7.3 million sewer system which local officials hope will encourage business growth.

Thanks to a more than $100,000 grant and $300,000 loan from the USDA, Hanson, Kentucky will soon finish a much-needed sewer system improvement project. The city’s building a gravity sewer system replacing the current grinder system.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bolton, Vermont
Coralville, Iowa
Sallisaw, Oklahoma
Washington, D.C.

October 6, 2010

Wednesday’s Water News: Communities Seek Federal Aid for EPA Mandated Improvements

Posted in California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, National, Vermont at 5:45 pm by bengann

The cost of federally mandated sewer improvements is putting a squeeze on cities throughout the United States, but some local officials around the country hope a proposed federal law will bring some relief to their rising repair bills. The Clean Water Affordability Act, if it becomes law, would update the EPA’s clean water affordability policy to provide grants to cash-strapped communities nationwide to make necessary repairs to their combined sewer systems.

About 25 homes and businesses were without water service this morning in a Los Angeles neighborhood as utility crews tried to make repairs to a break in a 12-inch water main.

Torrential rains last week caused 2.6 million gallons of untreated sewage to spill from a treatment plant in Harford County, Maryland. Much of the sewage from the plant’s primary settling tank flowed into King’s Creek and the Bush River.

Stimulus Spotlight
Water districts in eastern Kentucky are undergoing improvements thanks to funding from the economic stimulus.
The funding includes $9.5 million in loans and $4.4 million in grants.

In California, San Luis Obispo County supervisors have allocated another $750,000 to keep the Los Osos sewer project going.  Roughly half of the money for the project — $87 million — is coming from federal stimulus funds. The remainder will be provided by loans from state water officials.

Sewer Rate News
Evanston, Illinois
Godfrey, Illinois
Pinellas County, Florida
Rutland, Vermont

July 30, 2010

Friday’s Water News: Ohio EPA Investigates Milford’s Duck Creek

Posted in Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont at 11:48 am by joepaul1

Ohio’s State Environmental Protection Agency is taking a close look at the town of Milford’s Duck Creek. The creek is a tributary to many others, so the problem is not an isolated one. Residents are reporting untreated or undertreated waste in the river, largely due to an aging wastewater infrastructure that leads to repeated overflows.

The Town of Lee’s Summit, Missouri is being charged $60,000 dollars in penalties for sewage overflows in 2008 and 2009. One of these spills amounted to 100,000 gallons of sewage pouring into nearby Prairie Lee Lake.

A $101,000 dollar fine has been issued to the town of North Providence, Rhode Island because the federal Environmental Protection Agency has deemed the local drinking water unsafe.

Stimulus Spotlight
Thanks to the stimulus package, the town of Cambridge, Massachusetts is receiving $2 million dollar in low interest loans to repair its aging wastewater infrastructure system.

Sewer Rate News
Castleton, Vermont
Granville, Ohio
Macomb Township, Michigan
North Ridgeville, Ohio
Princeton Borough, New Jersey

July 16, 2010

Friday’s Water News: City of Macon (Ga.) to Issue $50M in Bonds for Water, Sewer Upgrades

Posted in California, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wisconsin at 5:41 pm by bengann

In Georgia, the Macon Water Authority has approved the refinancing of $14.2 million in bonds and the eventual sale of $50 million more. The new bonds will pay for a long list of improvements to the authority’s water distribution system, sewers, replacement of a sewer line that collapsed under the Macon levee last year, and more.

California state water quality have fined the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District $350,000 for a series of spills that have poured 930,077 gallons of raw sewage into waterways in the past three years.

Sewer overflows may affect beachgoers in Milwaukee this weekend. At 9 AM this morning, the main tunnels, which hold a remarkable 432 million gallons, were more than 98 percent full.

The City of Greensboro, North Carolina had 1.45 million gallons of untreated wastewater spilled into South Buffalo Creek on Wednesday. According to the city, the discharge lasted over 6 hours due to a power and generator failure that was complicated by extreme flows caused by heavy rain.

Stimulus Spotlight
The Town of Pittsford, Vermont is hoping to receive economic stimulus funding available through the USDA that would cover 45 percent of a $1.9 million sewer project.

Sewer Rate News
Keokuk, Iowa
Monroe, Pennsylvania

July 1, 2010

Thursday’s Water News: Missouri Sewer Overflow Woes Continue

Posted in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia at 3:44 pm by egold24

It has been a messy week for Missouri’s waters with more than 25 million gallons of raw sewage reported spilled in Kansas City and St. Louis alone. Five of the six incidents have occurred in Kansas City, but the worst incident occurred in St. Louis when two pumps failed and allowed 4.6 million gallons of sewage to leak into the Mississippi River daily for the past week.

A water main break closes streets in Boston, Massachusetts. Crews were working to fix the broken 12 inch pipe. The street was cleared of all traffic while clean-up took place.

In Baytown, Texas, the city council sprang to immediate action on Wednesday after a water line collapse. For now, a temporary bypass has been set up but a replacement line will be installed farther from the creek but within the same right of way. The damaged segment will be abandoned.

A broken water main sent water gushing down a hill and flooded homes in Pleasant Hills, Pennsylvania. Clean up crews do not have an estimate as to when the situation will be rectified.
Stimulus Spotlight
The city of Springfield, Vermont is expanding its water storage capabilities by building a new tank. The $1.1 million tank will help relieve the city’s future water pressure issues and is being funded by the State’s revolving loan fund funds and federal stimulus money.

Sewer Rate News
Allegan, Michigan
Altavista, Virginia
Antioch, California
Danvers, Massachusetts
Front Royal, Virginia

June 29, 2010

Tuesday’s Water News: Miami’s Sewers in Need of Repair

Posted in Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Vermont, Virginia, Washington at 5:26 pm by egold24

Sewer system infrastructure in Miami, Florida is in dire need of repair. The underground piping system is over 40 years old and is reaching the end of its useful life. However, the city lacks the necessary capital to undertake such sweeping renewal of its 13,600 miles of underground piping for water and sewage.

A large water main break has buckled part of a road in Evansville, Indiana. The large pipe began gushing early Tuesday morning, but officials are hastily repairing it. Roads near the break were closed while repairs while being made.

A water main break in North Platte, Nebraska flooded a parking lot over the weekend. The pipe had been installed in the 1950’s and has since received no renewal or replacement. The clean-up crews discovered a huge hole in the side of the pipe, posing the notion that similar pipes of that age may be at risk.

Stimulus Spotlight
A series of construction projects are underway in Cape Charles, Virginia including the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant with stimulus money funding most of the project.

The outgoing City Manager in Buchanan, Michigan says her proudest accomplishment was securing federal stimulus dollars for ongoing water and sewer improvements that will save the city about $3 million or about 40 percent of the project’s cost.

Sewer Rate News
Honolulu, Hawaii
Rainier, Washington
Rutland, Vermont
South Bend, Indiana

June 22, 2010

Tuesday’s Water News: Water Still Unsafe in Harrison, Arkansas

Posted in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia at 1:39 pm by joepaul1

A break in the sewage system all the way back in January has still not been fixed in Harrison, Arkansas. Officials are worried that contaminated water may flow from nearby Mill Creek into the Buffalo River. A lack of funding is blamed for the delay in repairs.

Residents in Lynchburg, Virginia are dealing with raw sewage spills in their backyards. This problem has been going on for months and officials are investigating. It remains unknown how extensive the spills are and what effect they are having on local drinking water.

Another sewage spill has hit Kansas City, Missouri with 95,000 gallons of raw sewage pouring into Kernodle Lake after a sewer line break. Officials are required to give an extensive report on the damage done to the water within five days.

Heavy rains in Richmond, Indiana have caused sewage and wastewater spills. The sewage flowed into the East fork of the nearby Whitewater River. Residents have been advised to avoid contact with the water for 72 hours.

Stimulus Spotlight
Thanks to the stimulus package, Port Richmond, New York’s sewage treatment plant will get a $29 million upgrade. It is being funded with tax-free bonds included in the economic stimulus package.

Water users in Shaftsbury, Vermont are expected to save approximately $1,000 each over the next 20 years in paying off a bond used to upgrade water lines after the town was approved to receive $217,000 in federal stimulus money to pay off more than half of the $425,000 bond administered through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

Sewer Rate News
Conyngham, Pennsylvania
Houston, Texas
Olanta, North Carolina
Toccoa, Georgia

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