News for December 26 – January 2, 2013

Top Stories

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 Pat Quinn recently announced a new $1 billion initiative to upgrade outdated water infrastructure in his state.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.

Failing Infrastructure

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.

Missouri: An eight inch main broke around 5:30am Wednesday, January 4 at Lindbergh and Queen Ann. Cold temperatures froze the water, creating a serious ice problem on the roadway.  Police say all lanes on Lindbergh were completely closed until MoDOT completely salted the area. Ann Dettmer with Missouri American Water says the freezing temperatures and dry soil conditions have led to this and 20 other breaks each day since Christmas. Breaks are up 20 to 30% over last year.
South Dakota: A water main break caused 1.5 million gallons of chlorinated tap water to run into the Big Sioux River early Tuesday, January 1. A high level of chlorine can kill fish. The city’s environmental division has done several tests on the water but no fish kills have been detected.
Washington: Traffic is back to normal after a water main break on January 1 disrupted traffic on Nob Hill Boulevard between 22nd and 24th Avenues in Yakima. Nob Hill had been restricted to one lane in each direction through the area. Crews worked overnight having the repair completed by 8 a.m.
Connecticut:  A water main on Capitol Avenue in Hartford broke January 1, blocking the street to traffic and leaving at least two apartment buildings without water, according to the Metropolitan District. The 8-inch cast iron main, installed in the 1930s, was repaired by Tuesday night and all service had been restored by 7:35 p.m. on January 2.
Pennsylvania: Water began gushing out in Whitemarsh Township a little before 7:30 a.m. on January 1. The 12-inch broken water main affected homes and businesses in Plymouth, Whitemarsh, Whitpain, East Norriton and Norristown. The road around the break buckled and will also need repairing.
Kansas: A winter storm on New Year’s Eve is the suspected culprit of 30 water main breaks around Topeka on January 1. The city’s public works office, which includes water service, was closed Tuesday for the New Year’s holiday. But a man answering the public works emergency line  said crews were working to patch the broken water mains.
Maryland: The third water main break in the Salisbury in less than a month has forced authorities to close one lane of North Salisbury Boulevard to make repairs. The break happened at about 8:15 a.m., December 31 at the intersection at Priscilla Street. City workers shut off five valves to contain the leak, leaving taps dry in five homes and several businesses.
Utah:  Two different homeowners in Sandy woke up on December 30  to find water in their basements. According to Sandy Public Utilities, a frozen pipe to a fire hydrant broke at about 2:30 a.m. The water from the hydrant flowed down a hill and into window wells of two homes. One of the homes had about 14 inches of water in the basement, the second home had soaked carpet.
Kentucky: A section of a street in downtown Louisville  collapsed December 31. Officials said a 20-inch water main break caused the cave-in. The utility has shut Seventh Street between Oak and Hill streets. It has also shut Magnolia Avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets.
Wisconsin: A major water main break sent a 20- to 30-ft.  geyser shooting in the air, flooding several streets on Green Bay’s East side, and potentially affecting the area’s water quality. One of the two major, three-foot-wide, 55-year-old water mains that carry water from Lake Michigan to the city broke at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 30. Officials believe the flooding undermined to the concrete considerably and expect the road to be shut down for quite a long time.
Illinois:  An early morning water main break in Brookport  on December 29 left residents without water for nearly half the day.  A plug was blown in a PVC pipe near ninth street and George. By the time city officials realized what happened, all the water had drained from the city water tower, Mayor Judy Askew said. Water service returned  by late afternoon, but a boil water advisory was issued.
New Jersey: It took more than six hours to clear a water main break that backed up traffic along Route 202 during rush hour Friday December 29, according to the state Department of Transportation. At about 3:33 p.m. Friday, a water main break on Route 202 North, south of Talamini Road in Bridgewater, caused 10 to 15 minute delays as all lanes were closed and detoured.Pennsylvania: A water main broke along Mount Troy Road in Reserve Township around 11:45 p.m on December 27. Although the break was reported, the water was not turned off for eight hours. One resident said the pipe burst in front of her parents’ home and the water caused damage to the driveway. “The water was coming out through the concrete and gushing down. I’m just worried about the concrete and if the driveway’s going to sink,” she said.

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.

Ohio: While winter is the time of year when one-third of the water main breaks occur in Montgomery County. On December 28, at least 7 occurred. At one break a man stepped away from his job to direct traffic to keep motorists from hydroplaning, or sliding on the ice, which would have run them directly into a gas pump.
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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.​
This entry was posted in Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Uncategorized, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin. Bookmark the permalink.

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