We are back! The Clean Water Council’s former blog, Water News Update, is now Clean Water Weekly. We have a fresh new look, but our content will remain the same: spotlighting the need for greater federal investment in water and wastewater infrastructure.
Long Beach, California: As water rates have increased, so have the Water Department’s cash reserves. Despite double-digit increases for water and sewer rates, an audit released October 15 by the city’s auditor discovered that the inability to move forward with many of its capital improvement projects has left the Long Beach Water Department with more than $37 million in excess cash reserves, a 566 percent increase in less than four years.
Honolulu, Hawaii: Three major sewage construction projects the City & County of Honolulu administration planned to complete for $88 million, actually cost the taxpayers $473 million. That is five times the cost of the city’s initial estimates. Taxpayers want to know why and how the administration plans to cover the difference, but so far, Mayor Peter Carlisle’s administration won’t give the answers.
San Francisco, California: A broken 6-in. cast iron water main in San Francisco’s Marina District left customers on three blocks without water. Utility officials blamed the break on the pipe’s age, which dates back to 1890.
Los Angeles, California: A major pipeline break in Valley Village created an enormous sink hole that nearly swallowed a 44,000 lbs. fire engine. There are 7,000 miles of pipeline that cross Los Angeles, with some pipes in the downtown and eastern areas dating back to 1902, when the DWP was founded.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A 36-inch water transmission pipe broke on October 14, sending water gushing at least two feet into the air. Nearly six million gallons of water rushed through Old City when the water main burst disrupting traffic, water service, businesses – and a bridal shower.
San Tan Valley, Arizona: The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has accused Johnson Utilities of failing to notify all of its customers of an E. coli outbreak in the water supply for the San Tan Valley area. The violations include failing to properly notify the public and media of the situation, according to the ADEQ’s notice of violation.
Miami-Dade, Florida: Repairing, replacing and rebuilding 13,000 miles of aging and brittle water and sewage pipes and the treatment plants they connect to could cost Miami-Dade County more than $12 billion over the next 15 years. “It’s going to take time and it’s going to take money,” Renfrow told members of the Infrastructure and Land Use Committee during an 18-minute presentation. “That’s the bad news. The good news is the shot in the arm the economy will get.”
Atlanta, Georgia: Atlanta officials, federal and state regulators and clean-water advocates will ask U.S. District Judge to consider their to give Atlanta 13 extra years to finish mandatory sewer upgrades. The request is crucial to the city’s plans. Atlanta officials have promised that current water and sewer rates — already among the highest in the nation — will not rise for another four years if the extension is approved.
Harrisburg, PA: The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued a Boil Water Advisory to residents of Daguscahonda Village in Ridgway Township, Elk County. The results from a recent sample DEP collected from Daguscahonda’s drinking water source show that E. coli (fecal) bacteria is present in the water at a level that is well above Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act standards. The agency strongly recommends that residents not consume untreated Daguscahonda water.
WATER/SEWER BONDS & REFERENDUMS
Tulsa, Oklahoma: State Question 764 would back loans for water, sewer projects. Backers of the plan are asking for voter authority to guarantee those loans with up to $300 million in general obligation bonds. The bonds – backed by the full might of state credit – would only be sold if the borrowing towns default on their loans and a series of other breakers fail. An Oklahoma Water Resources Board report shows that in the next 50 years the state will need $81 billion in water infrastructure work at the local level.
Hartford, Connecticut: $800 million referendum for clean water project scheduled for November. An $800 million question will be put to voters in the Metropolitan District Commission’s member towns this November: whether to bond that amount for the second phase of the 15-year Clean Water Project.