News for December 12-18, 2012

Top Stories

The Senate Committee on Appropriations has released the text of the Fiscal Year 2012 Disaster Assistance Supplemental. The emergency spending within the bill provides $60.4 billion in discretionary funding, of which $810 million is allocated to EPA Water State Revolving Fund Programs. It is unclear what the exact water infrastructure allocation will be, as ongoing negotiations between the House and Senate are likely to change the details of the Disaster Assistance Supplement, but passage of the bill is likely.

Georgia: State environmental regulators on December 17,  hit the city of Atlanta with a $113,000 fine for two massive spills of untreated sewage into local waterways this year. The two spills, together amounting to nearly 26 million gallons, highlight major problems the city has in detecting when pipes break. More than 150 major spills were recorded in the five-county core region of metro Atlanta since January 2010. The spills amounted to nearly 38.6 million gallons of discharge.

State & Local Water Infrastructure Funding

Virginia: Answering calls from local leaders, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed budget amendments include $16.9 million for the state’s Water Quality Improvement Fund. The governor also proposed $200 million for water quality bond projects ($101 million of that amount covers prior commitments and new anticipated commitments through fiscal year 2016).

Georgia: Despite plummeting tax revenues, voter rejection of a transportation tax, and  a school district on probation, DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is pushing ahead with an ambitious infrastructure agenda — including the county’s current $1.345 billion water and sewer program.

Norwich, N.Y. – The Board of Directors of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. (EFC) have approved a grant of up to $2 million, along with $1,611,415 in no-interest financing, for improvements to the City of Norwich wastewater treatment plant. EFC is the arm of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration that helps communities pay for major improvements to their wastewater systems.

Jeffersonville, Ga.: The Georgia fund announced Tuesday, December 18 that Jeffersonville  is one of three Georgia cities to receive $66,000 financing for water or wastewater system improvements from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. The Georgia Fund, a state-funded program administered by GEFA, provides communities with low-interest loans (in this case .4 percent interest for a 10 year loan).

Austin, Tex.: The State’s Water Plan, released earlier this year, warned that the state must spend $29 billion on water projects over the next 50 years or water shortages and drought could cost a million jobs over 50 years and hamper the economy. But interviews with lawmakers indicate they are likely to balk at putting aside the cash to pay for the billions of dollars in infrastructure improvements. Lawmakers, lobbyists and environmental activists indicate that the political thorniness of raising or shifting revenue and the distractions posed by other issues, such as education, will make consensus difficult.

Failing Infrastructure

Salisbury, Md. Nearly 3 million gallons of untreated sewage, enough to fill about five Olympic-size swimming pools, spilled into Lower Shore rivers during Superstorm Sandy. All of the marred waterways – the Manokin, Pocomoke and Wicomico rivers – flow into the Chesapeake Bay, itself the subject of a multistate, multibillion-dollar environmental cleanup.

Wilmingon, N.C.  Approximately 2,400 gallons of sewage was discharged, which flowed directly into the City of Wilmington Storm Drain system and then into the Cape Fear River. The spill occurred from a clean out  in the roadway. The spill was caused by a failure of a water line located in the wall of a sanitary sewer manhole.

San Antonio, Tex.: A clogged a 15-inch plastic sewer line caused 63,000 gallons of sewage to overflow. San Antonio Water System is asking for an 11.3 percent rate increase, most of which will go toward improving the utility’s sewer pipe inspection, cleaning and replacement program.

San Antonio, Tex.: Using data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas State Geography Students have created maps showing five years of wastewater spills on and near land critical to the Edwards Aquifer. The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, the study’s sponsor, hopes this will help protect groundwater. Close to 600 spills were mapped accounting for about 12 million gallons of wastewater in a five year period.

Tampa, Fla: An early morning water main break on December 12 on northbound Florida Avenue just south of Fletcher, closed down all northbound lanes from 131st to Fletcher Avenue. A second break occurred an hour later, in the 4100 block of East 7th Avenue in Ybor City. The street was closed both east and westbound from 40th to 43rd Avenue. Officials hoped to have the streets reopened by the afternoon of December 13.

Utica, N.Y. Crews from the Mohawk Valley Water Authority were at the scene of a water main break early Thursday morning December 13, but were unable to stop it for several hours while they waited for the OK from another utility company. The break closed down a block of Elm Street near the corner of Elm and Eagle streets. The break was first reported at about 1 a.m., but crews were unable to begin repairs until just after 8:30 a.m.

Duluth, Minn.: A water main break December 13 near Morris Thomas and Haines roads left about 15 homes on Morris Thomas Road without water for 5 hours.

Colorado Springs, Colo.:  Utilities officials said Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard was closed from Red Mesa to Oak Creek Drive was closed for the day on December 13 because of a water main break.

Austin, Tex.: Austin Water Utility spokesman said a 6-in. broken water main was reported on December 12 was reported at 5 a.m. on South First Street between St. Elmo Road and Radam Lane. Crews were able to fix the break by 11 a.m. and cleared the scene by 3 p.m. Customers in the area were affected for a couple of hours.

Neillsville, CT: The Neillsville School District was closed December 13 because of a water main break in the school’s parking lot. The superintendent expected crews to fix the break on that day.

Danvers, MA: The five homes that lost water service on December 12 because of a water main break are expected to have service restored by 8 p.m. The 12-inch line occurred near the intersection of Maple and Vineyard streets and also affected one fire hydrant.

Madison, Ala.: A large water main break in Madison on December 14  forced Bob Jones High School and Discovery Middle School to close for the day, school officials said. Affected residents in this area were issued a boil water advisory.

LaPlace, La.: LaPlace Elementary School closed December 14 due to a large water main break in front of the school.

Colorado Springs, Colo.: When Colorado Springs Utilities arrived at a  water main break on Astrozon Boulevard on December 14, they found a sinkhole about 25 feet by 30 feet. A spokeswoman said a pickup truck went partway into the sinkhole, but the driver was uninjured. About 104 utility customers had service affected.

Forward Township, Pa.: A water main break December 15 flooded several homes and shut down a road in Forward Township. Officials said the water main broke Saturday night between the 100 block of Bunola and the 500 block of Liggett Avenue.

Philadelphia, Pa. A 10-inch water main broke around 1:00 a.m. December 16 at E. Girard and E. Montgomery Avenue.  About ten homes were affected, but service was restored just before 6:30 p.m.

Waianae, Hawaii: The Honolulu Board of Water Supply asked all Leeward coast residents, from Honokai Hale to Hakimo Road in Waianae, to use water sparingly as they worked to repair a 24-inch water main break. The break happened on Saturday evening, December 15. A boil water advisory was also issued.

Tulsa, Okla.: A 48-inch line started spewing water around 9:30 December 17  on 61st Street between Memorial and Mingo. The break itself caused incredible flooding in the area, with water at some points more than two feet deep. Woodland Hills Church of Christ experienced some flooding.

San Diego, Calif.: A water main break was reported early December 17 in Bay Park at the intersection of Knoxville Street and Morena Boulevard. San Diego police, who responded to the scene, said it appears that some businesses in the area were damaged due to flooding.

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About Clean Water Council

The Clean Water Council (CWC) is a group of national organizations representing underground construction contractors design professionals, manufacturers and suppliers, labor unions and other committed to ensuring a high quality of life through sound environmental infrastructure. Working in concert, CWC's 39 national organizations, advocate federal legislation and policies that will promote clean water and improve the nation's failing infrastructure.​
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