Oklahoma: The infrastructure crisis the small town of Konoawa is facing is typical of what small towns around the county are facing with the rapidly aging treatment plants and pipelines that need to be replaced. With generous federal programs all but gone, towns are looking to state-funded low interest bonds to pay for improvements. But policy makers remain split about issuing bonds. Opponents cite fears that “lack of oversight….will wreck the state’s credit.” So rate payers, largely on fixed incomes, will ultimately have to shoulder a large portion of the $1 trillion burden. Listen to the full December 27 NPR report by clicking here.
Illinois: Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn recently announced a new $1 billion initiative to upgrade outdated water infrastructure in his state. His commitment to invest in the state’s failing infrastructure has been applauded by columnist Jes Munk Hansen, who believe that it is a smart investment necessary to drive economic growth in the 21st century.
Massachusetts: In a surprise announcement, State Senate President Therese Murray said she intends to place drinking and wastewater reform on the Beacon Hill agenda, calling it a “very pressing environmental issue” that “poses as a major threat to our economy.” Citing the findings of a Water Infrastructure Finance Commission, Murray estimates a $10.2 billion gap in drinking water funding over the next 20 years and an $11.2 billion wastewater funding gap. Murray is alarmed by diminished water quality in the bays of Cape Cod and public drinking water compromised by excess nitrogen in southeastern Massachusetts.
Maine: A Portland News Press editorial argued that a serious response is needed to respond to the state’s 100+ year-old infrastructure, noting the extensive damage caused by a major water main break on December 19, 2012 (see CWC blog December 19-26). “This is serious because Maine’s economy is built on its infrastructure. Failures like the broken main in Portland create significant disruption to business and individuals,” the paper said, noting that bipartisan neglect of the statewide infrastructure crisis is not prudent.
Washington, DC: In a Roll Call (the newspaper for Capitol Hill news) article, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Felix Rohatyn continued to press for a National Infrastructure Bank to help finance the nations failing infrastructure. The Bank “would use a merit-based selection process to help finance transportation, water, environmental, energy and telecommunications projects. It would supplement, not supplant, current funding available at all levels of government to build out, among other things, high-speed rail, waterways, ports, clean water and drinking water systems, smart energy grids and broadband into rural and disadvantaged communities.”
Arizona: After years of public debate and 10 years of legal challenges, a federal appeals court is allowing a ski resort in Arizona to use treated wastewater for all the snow it creates for its slopes, which it began at the end of December. The decision is not without it’s critics. Native American Tribes, conservation groups, science groups and psychologist have all raised major concerns. The Forest Service said using reclaimed water is “environmentally and economically responsible” given the water shortage Arizona and many western states are facing.
New York: The federal government will force the city to prevent millions of gallons of raw sewage from polluting the Gowanus Canal in a surprising addition to the much-hyped Superfund cleanup — likely through the construction of massive, $78-million catch basins buried alongside the banks of the fetid waterway.
Utah: Eleven Salt Lake City residents rang in the New Year with gallons of raw sewage flooding their basements. One resident complained that, at one point, she had approximately six inches of sewage in her downstairs playroom.
California: The waters off the beaches south of Carnation Avenue in Imperial Beach were off limits Wednesday, January 2 because of sewage-tainted runoff from the Tijuana River. County officials said the recent rainfall was to blame for the contamination.
North Carolina: About 12,000 gallons of sewage overflowed from a manhole at 215 Trappers Trail in New Bern on December 30, and an estimated 2,400 gallons entered a storm drain. The overflow was caused by continuous rains Saturday. By-pass pumps at lift station No. 15 in the area could not keep up with the flow, according to a statement from the city.
California: About 100 customers were without water Wednesday morning, January 2, after an asbestos-cement pipe burst underground on a busy street in Hayward, a city spokesman said. The pipe that ruptured was a 12-inch, asbestos-cement pipe installed in 1958. It runs north on Santa Clara Street, officials said.
Missouri: A January 2 early morning water main break forced the temporary closing of an intersection of Truman and Jackson Avenue along East Truman Road in Kansas City. The intersection is temporary closed while crews make repairs. Roads in the area have become icy due to the water on the road and freezing temperatures.
Florida: A water main break December 28 left hundreds of condo residents in Miami Beach without water. At least 500 residents at Mirador South condominiums, located along the 1000 block of West Avenue, were without water as of Friday afternoon. No word when the service would be restored.