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

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July 8, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Dearborn, Michigan to Start $325 Million Sewer Separation Project in January

Posted in Alabama, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia at 6:58 pm by bengann

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Starting in January, the city of Dearborn, Michigan will begin a new $325 million sewer separation project. The work represents the third distinct plan of attack for the massive combined sewage overflow project that has been in the works now for more than three decades.

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The state of Alabama may offer help to debt-laden Jefferson County to prevent the municipality from filing for what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in history. The county, home to the state’s largest city, Birmingham, has struggled for about three years under the weight of $3.2 billion in sewer debt after a failed bond financing.

Hundreds of fish are dead in Peters Creek after a water main broke beneath the South Park Township, Pennsylvania salt storage, carrying salty water into the creek. The break is most likely due to deterioration in the line.

In Corbin, Kentucky, two businesses out of the four that were damaged in mid-April after heavy rains caused by a sewer overflow have now reopened.

Part of a major road in Fairfax, Virginia has been blocked off due to a water main break that caused a sinkhole.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Crescent City, California
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Williamsburg, Colorado
Wilsonville, Oregon

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 22, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Federal Judge Accepts Agreement by Evansville (Ind.) to Upgrade Sewers

Posted in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin at 7:59 pm by bengann

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A federal judge has accepted an agreement between Evansville, Indiana and federal and state regulators that gives the city nearly 20 years to upgrade its sewer system to prevent frequent discharges of raw sewage into the Ohio River and other waterways. The Water & Sewer Utility also must pay a civil penalty of $490,000 — $70,000 to the state and $420,000 to the federal government — as part of the settlement.

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Overflows of combined sanitary and storm sewers to local rivers and Lake Michigan ended this morning in Milwaukee. A state permit allows Milwaukee’s Metropolitan Sewer District to skip treatment of up to 60 million gallons of wastewater in 24 hours under extreme storm conditions when both the Jones Island and South Shore treatment plants are at capacity and combined sewer overflows have started.

Atlanta residents will see another increase in their water bill with the city raising rates 12 percent starting in July. It will be the eighth time in eight years the city has raised water rates. The revenue will go toward overhauling the city’s sewer system which has been badly neglected over the years.

More than two inches of rain in less than 48 hours pushed streams to their banks and caused two sewage overflows in Duluth, Minnesota. Approximately 350,000 gallons of rain and untreated sewage leaked from one of its wastewater treatment plants with a smaller amount spilling from another treatment plant.

Appleton, Wisconsin will use methane gas it extracts from sludge that flows into its wastewater treatment plant to heat the facility beginning next month. When the process starts, the city will be one of the last large cities in the state to adopt the green trend of producing heat from methane.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Aurora, Illinois
Cheswick, Pennsylvania
Louisa, Virginia
King George County, Virginia

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

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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.

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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

June 9, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Forsyth County (Ga.) to Appeal Decision on State Discharge Permit

Posted in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia at 4:38 pm by bengann

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Forsyth County (Ga.) is appealing a decision last week by and administrative law judge, who ruled that the permit issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division — allowing the county to discharge as much as 6 million gallons of treated waste water into the Chattahoochee every day — violates state and federal law because the level of contaminates it allows would degrade the river.

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Work crews in Sussex Borough, New Jersey will be digging up streets all over the borough for the next two weeks as part of a $1.63 million sewer repair project. The project is being funded through $382,000 in grants and $1.25 million in low-interest loans from the USDA.

Crews worked through the night Wednesday to repair a water main break that filled several areas of a major road in Manassas, Virginia with water and blocked traffic for nearly two hours.

West Hanover Township, Pennsylvania is moving forward with a planned expansion of its wastewater treatment plant. The first phase will be done in two phases, the first of which is estimated to cost around $8.8 million.

Torrential downpours in Chicago has led to excessive stormwater runoff from the heavy rains causing flooding of creeks and streams and roads and viaducts.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Centerville, Utah
Florence, Colorado
Minden, Louisiana
Warwick, Rhode Island

June 7, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: IRS Investigating Jefferson County’s (Ala.) Tax-Exempt Sewer Bonds

Posted in Alaska, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia at 2:34 pm by bengann

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In Alabama, Jefferson County says the Internal Revenue Service is investigating the tax-free status of sewer bonds that have landed the state’s largest county on the brink of bankruptcy. The county is in default on its sewer bonds, after the spending on a $1 billion project more than tripled and complex Wall Street interest rate swaps backfired.

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An issue with the sewer system could mean big trouble for a popular Northern Kentucky nightspot,  because it has been discovered the restaurant is no longer tied into the sewer system, meaning that their waste was being discharged into the Ohio River.

A $4.7 million project to upgrade the town’ of Wilton, Maine’s sewer system was approved by voters at the town meeting last night. To pay for the project, the town’s 995 sewer customers will pay an added $240 per year over the next 29 years on their sewer bills.

The longtime settling of a concrete vault is being blamed for the collapse of a sewer line along Route 37 in Toms River, New Jersey yesterday, which caused a sinkhole that shut down the right eastbound lane of the roadway until after midnight.

A water main break in the area of Peabody, Massachusetts left about 15 houses and a strip mall without water for about five hours yesterday.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Bay City, Michigan
Burlingame, California
Canon City, Colorado
Vienna, Virginia

May 4, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Oceanside (Calif.) Could be Fined $10 Million for December Sewage Spill

Posted in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia at 7:58 pm by bengann

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Oceanside, California could face a fine of up to $10 million for a huge sewage spill which released nearly 5.4 million gallons of untreated sewage into Buena Vista Creek last December from a broken pipe. Initially city officials reported only 180,000 gallons were released into the environmentally sensitive creek. The city could be fined as much as $10 million for the incident.

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As part of a consent order negotiated with Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the city of Augusta will adopt a five-year program of preventive maintenance of underground sanitary sewer lines, instead of simply treating backups when they occur.

With no end in sight to Chicago’s chronic water pollution problems, environmental groups filed a lawsuit yesterday seeking to stop the routine dumping of human and industrial waste into the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The complaint comes as the federal and state EPA and the Department of Justice inch closer to a legal deal intended to address the pollution problems.

Officials in Shepherdstown, West Virginia have started the process to increase capacity and decrease sewer overflows by renovating and upgrading its wastewater treatment facility at a cost of $9.6 million. The project will double the capacity of the treatment plant to 800,000 gallons and is being financed mostly from a low-interest loan through the SRF.

In Florida, a break yesterday in a 48-inch water main in Miami-Dade County caused flooding to local homes and business, stranded an empty school bus and has closed streets while repairs are being made.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Graham, North Carolina
Lathrop, California
Milpitas, California
Waynesboro, Virginia

April 28, 2011

Thursday’s Water News: Greenwich Reaches Deal With State, EPA Over Massive Sewage Spills

Posted in Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington at 6:44 pm by bengann

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In a deal announced yesterday, the town of Greenwich, Connecticut has agreed to pay the federal government and the State of Connecticut each $100,000 to settle the complaints lodged against the town by the state and the federal EPA for a pair of sewer breaks that sent tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage into Cos Cob Harbor in 2005 and 2008. As part of the agreement,  the town also agreed to replace the section of sewer main where both breaks occurred and have most of the work done by the end of 2013.

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Working hard to avoid sewer backups as its wastewater system flooded with storm water, a pump station in Salina, New York used a backup pump to operate far beyond its normal capacity. On a normal day the station pumps 11 million gallons. Tuesday, it pumped about 53 million gallons, and about 43 million gallons on Wednesday.

The Town of Thomaston, Maine will receive a total of $1,887,000 from the USDA to make numerous improvements to its wastewater infrastructure. The Town will contribute $113,000 to make the $2 million project possible, which will upgrade the town’s primary sewer lines, which were constructed between 1891 and 1925.

The supervisor of Flint, Michigan’s water pollution control plant says an overflow of partially treated sewage into the Flint River is continuing and has already surpassed the volume of a 4.1 million gallon spill on April 23.

In Pennsylvania, after being forced from their offices at Montgomery County’s Human Services Center by a flood 11 weeks ago, the Coroner’s office is are moving back in Friday, and the office will be operational Saturday. On Feb. 11, an 8-inch water main burst underneath the floor of the Coroner’s Office on the first floor, and the operation relocated temporarily to buildings at the Emergency Services Center.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Falls Church, Virginia
Port Orchard, Washington
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Tulsa, Oklahoma

April 12, 2011

Tuesday’s Water News: SRF Cut by Nearly $1 Billion in Budget Deal

Posted in Arizona, California, Illinois, National, New Mexico, New York, Virginia, Washington at 10:56 pm by bengann

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The continuing budget resolution passed last week contained major cuts to the SRF programs. Specifically, the one-week CR cuts the Clean Water SRF to $1.535 billion (from $2.1B in FY10) and Drinking Water SRF to $965 million (from $1.387B in FY10). These represent major cuts to programs vital to public health which also creating well-paying jobs.

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In Staten Island, New York, FDNY, NYPD and Department of Environmental Protection officials were on the scene after a water-main break causeda flood of water to cascade onto the street.

The city of Lynchburg, Virginia hopes to be able to break ground by late summer on phase two of improvements to its water and sewer system. The project is expected to take 18 to 20 months and is part of the city’s 10-year master plan.

Laguna Pueblo in central New Mexico will receive two grants totaling $2 million to improve its water and waste water systems. The current sewage collection system was built more than 20 years ago and the water distribution systems were constructed more than 50 years ago.

In Washington, a much-hoped-for funding source for a proposed sewer system in Carlsborg is one step closer to reality, after the state House of Representatives included a $10 million loan in its proposed state construction budget.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Los Altos, California
Mesa, Arizona
Montgomery, Illinois
West Dundee, Illinois

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