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.

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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.

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Lewisburg, West Virginia
Los Angeles, California
Whitney, Texas
Ypsilanti, Michigan

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July 13, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Boil Water Advisory for Six New Jersey Towns Following Water Main Break

Posted in Arizona, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Wisconsin at 5:46 pm by bengann

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A break in a 30-inch water main in Northern New Jersey has shut down part of U.S. Route 9W and is causing six communities to suffer from loss of water. The communities affected are Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Palisades Park, Englewood, Leonia and Tenafly. Affected residents may have low water pressure or no water, especially those living on upper floors of high-rise buildings.

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Staff at Richmond (Ind.) Sanitary District’s wastewater treatment plant have been working around the clock since Friday to resolve an issue that led suspended solids and E. coli to overload the treatment and filtration process and discharge into the East Fork Whitewater River.

In California, the city of Guadalupe is moving forward with a plan on a $4.75 million project to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. The new system, which features new headworks, a dewatering system and biological treatment system will allow the city to meet state discharge standards.

Work started today on a new sewer line in Lexington, Kentucky which will help address sewer overflow problems in one part of the city. The new 24 inch sewer line will replace a 15 inch line, that was originally built in 1966.

The city of Whitefish, Montana has begun a five- to six-week project to replace and rehabilitate underground sewer mains throughout the city.

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Easton, Massachusetts
Plymouth Township, Michigan
Ripon, Wisconsin
Surprise, Arizona

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.

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Fredonia, New York
Hayward, California
McLean, Virginia

July 6, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Wisconsin Community Receives “F” for Sanitary Sewer Maintenance

Posted in Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin at 7:34 pm by bengann

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The city of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin received a grade of “F” in 2010 from the state Department of Natural Resources for its lack of sanitary sewer maintenance. And due to sanitary sewer overflows this year the best grade the city can hope in 2011 is a “C”.

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According to local officials in Bradenton, Florida, about 3.5 million gallons of raw sewage escaped from a broken pipe last month, sending floods of sewage into the area around the city’s wastewater plant and through storm drains to the Manatee River.

Increased groundwater is taking a toll on the sanitary sewer system in Council Bluffs, Iowa which saw two sanitary sewers collapse over the Fourth of July weekend, adding to the four that previously suffered breaks.

Ground was broken today on a new wastewater treatment facility at Tioga Downs, a casino and racetrack in Nichols, New York. The new plant, which can process 75,000 gallons a day, is needed to accommodate a new hotel to be built at the site.

On the New Jersey Turnpike, the John Fenwick Service Area on the northbound side of the turnpike and the Clara Barton Service Area on the southbound side were closed Tuesday night following a water main break which disrupted water service to the service areas.

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Annapolis, Maryland
Caledonia, Mississippi
Chesterfield Township, Michigan
Omaha, Nebraska

June 29, 2011

Wednesday’s Water News: Study Says 2010 One of Worst Years for Polluiton-Related Beach Closures

Posted in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, National, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin at 5:36 pm by bengann

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The Natural Resources Defense Council’s has released  its annual beach water quality report which reveals that bacterial contamination at many beaches across the nation still poses risks to swimmers’ health. Last year was one of the worst in two decades for pollution-related beach closures and warnings, partly due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and storm water runoff.

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A water main break in a Sacramento, California neighborhood yesterday flooded three city blocks and left business owners scrambling to keep the water from flooding their shops. The water was several inches deep across a road, leaving an intersection impassable to traffic during the height of the evening rush hour. At least six businesses have interior flooding, and employees at some businesses are using sandbags to try and keep the water out.

Oak Ridge North, Texas has decided to move forward on phase two of its sanitary sewer rehabilitation project at a cost of over $730,000. Phase two of the project involves replacing the 40-year-old existing pipeline. The project is being funded through the Clean Water SRF.

The town of Southington, Connecticut will spend $184,000 to repair sewers in a neighborhood that has been plagued with sewage backups into homes, which had been occurring because so much stormwater leaks into the pipes during rain storms that their capacity is overwhelmed, forcing sewage back into houses.

Construction is set to begin in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania to install new sanitary sewer lines as part of a $1 million project. Completion of the project is expected this fall.

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Abbotsford, Wisconsin
Mulberry, Arkansas
Ripon, Wisconsin
Shepherdsville, Kentucky

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 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.

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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.

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Clarksville, Indiana
Hall County, Georgia
Keizer, Oregon
St. Clair County, Michigan

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.

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Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Jerome, Idaho
Holden, Massachusetts
Knoxville, Tennessee

April 29, 2011

Friday’s Water News: State Legislation to Help Fix Omaha’s Sewers Must Wait Until Next Year

Posted in California, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin at 1:53 pm by bengann

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A bill in the Nebraska state legislature to help Omaha pay for the federally mandated reconstruction of its sewer system will have to wait until next year. The bill was expected to pass but was shelved because of an expected veto by Gov. Dave Heineman. The measure would have redirected $65 million in state and local sales taxes on local sewer rates to Omaha to help pay for the $1.7 billion sewer project.

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In Bad Axe, Michigan, about 80,000 gallons of fully treated water and a mixture of raw sewage and storm water was discharged into the Bad Axe Drain yesterday because the infiltration flows exceeded the Bad Axe Wastewater Treatment Plant’s capacity.

Financing has been secured for the oft-delayed Puckety Creek sewer project in Washington Township, Pennsylvania. But threatened legal action could further delay the project, which will affect 750 authority customers. Washington Township Municipal Authority will get an $8 million loan from PNC Bank to finance the project. It is believed that project delays for the past 18 months have increased its cost by about $1.3 million.

The Borough Council in Hightstown, New Jersey has agreed to consider over $1.9 million for sewer improvements at its beleaguered sewage treatment plant and to bring a new well on-line.

The Village of Wilton has settled with the state of Wisconsin over alleged violations at its wastewater treatment plant in Monroe County. As part of the agreement the village has agreed to pay $7,000 and retain a second certified wastewater operator for six months.

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Los Gatos, California
Port Angeles, Washington
Rock Hill, South Carolina
San Diego, California

April 15, 2011

Friday’s Water News: Collapsed Sewer Pipe Leaves Smelly Mess on Albuquerque Street

Posted in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin at 7:26 pm by bengann

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Raw sewage is no longer bubbling up from underneath a street in Albuquerque, New Mexico after a 54 inch pipe collapsed early Thursday morning. In addition to the smelly mess created by flowing sewage crews were also attempting to repair a street that caved in, causing a huge sink hole, after the pipe collapsed.

Other Headlines
A water treatment system that can turn wastewater into clean water has been shown to reduce potential environmental impacts associated with producing natural gas from shale formations in the Appalachian basin.

The area near Piscataway Creek in Clinton, Maryland has now been cleared after a sanitary sewer overflow Thursday that released approximately 25,000 gallons of untreated wastewater.

A sewage spill in a Killeen, Texas neighborhood has people worried about the safety of their children and pets. 20,000 gallons of raw residential sewage leaked into the Long Branch tributary and is now off limits because of health concerns.

A large amount of food was destroyed at the Bethlehem Apostolic Temple in Wheeling, West Virginia after a 10-inch water line broke this morning.

Water and Sewer Rate News
Charleston, West Virginia
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Roseville, California
Worcester, Massachusetts

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