National: Sequestration set off a series of automatic spending cuts March 1 that will cut an estimated $154 million in federal funding for state environmental programs, according to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In a February 25 e-mail, the council said the spending cuts would “severely undermine” efforts to ensure that air and water are clean. Environmental funding for New York would be reduced by $12.87 million in fiscal year 2013 under the automatic cuts, the largest cut for any state. California would lose $12.4 million in federal funding for environmental programs, while Texas would get $8.47 million less.
New Jersey: To understand how badly broken New Jersey’s infrastructure is, just take a look at its system for delivering drinking water to its eight million residents. Between 20 percent and 22 percent of the state’s treated drinking water is lost long before it’s delivered to households and businesses, according to a draft study by Facing Our Future, an independent, bipartisan group of former cabinet members and senior government executives. The report projects that $7.9 billion needs to be invested in the New Jersey’s water infrastructure over the next five years. Add in wastewater treatment facilities, and the number rises to $36.6 billion.
New Jersey: Nearly three weeks after two officials at the East Orange Water Commission were indicted on charges they conspired to hide elevated levels of an industrial solvent in drinking water, the state environmental officials today announced more than $400,000 in fines against the utility. The Department of Environmental Protection claims the commission “manipulated” samples and test results so it appeared the water had fewer contaminants than it really did. The water was pumped to more than 80,000 residents in East Orange and South Orange, though the state says no one was put at risk of illness.
Maryland: Thousands of gallons of untreated sewage poured into a creek in upper Montgomery County on Wednesday as utility crews searched for a break in a 16-inch sewer pipe, authorities said. It marked the second day in a row sewage was leaking through the ground and spilling out of manholes near a sewage pumping station in Brookeville at a rate of 100 to 500 gallons a minute, said I.J. Hudson, a spokesman for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
Georgia: Glorice Ferrell says it makes her skin crawl to know 100,000 gallons of raw sewage is floating down the Dukes Bay Canal just behind her house on South Patterson Street. Crews were out all day Tuesday working to fix the busted sewer main. Built up pressure caused it to burst open. It was made of concrete. City officials say they don’t build them with concrete anymore for exactly that reason.
Washington: A sewage spill has shut down part of the beach near a popular West Seattle park. The health threat came on a spring-like Sunday that drew a lot of families to the waterfront – their outing spoiled by raw sewage.The Barton pump station, right next to the Fauntleroy ferry dock, blew a cap on Saturday night. King County crews don’t yet know how much sewage spilled into Puget Sound.
New Mexico: City of Las Cruces workers continued Thursday cleaning up a sewage line break on the south side that happened a day earlier. The line may have failed because of age, said Eric Lopez, city water and wastewater resources administrator. The break stirred concern among local irrigation district officials, who said that untreated wastewater from the spill ended up in an Elephant Butte Irrigation District-owned channel, called the Park Drain. The drain is exposed in that area, meaning passers-by and pets could have encountered the standing sewage.
California: A water-main flood that damaged 23 homes in San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood is turning into an even bigger disaster – with three homes declared off-limits and fears growing that the ground under the entire residential block is moving. “It could be three to six months before it dries out and we know the extent of how the soil has shifted,” Alison Kastama, a spokeswoman for the city’s Public Utilities Commission, said Tuesday.
California: A 102-year-old water main failed underneath an East Village roadway Wednesday for the second time in as many weeks, disrupting traffic in the busy downtown district into evening. The ruptured underground pipeline began inundating the intersection of F and 14th streets shortly before 11 a.m., according to the San Diego Water Department. It took utility personnel about an hour to halt the overflow, which created a muddy, rocky mess, SDWD spokesman Arian Collins said.
Colorado: A water main break in north Denver created a 10-by-20-foot hole in the street on Monday afternoon, Denver Water said. The 12-inch main ruptured about 3:30 p.m. on Osage Street between West 52nd Avenue and Berkeley Place, said Denver Water spokesman Travis Thompson.
Michigan: The city of Grand Haven’s public works department said it is acting quickly to restore a rupture caused by a water main break that temporarily shut down two recreational facilities Sunday morning. Public Works Director Bill Hunter said Monday that the Tri-Cities Family YMCA and Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl shut down operations after a 12-inch water line pipe installed on top of Water Tank Hill went out Saturday evening.
Ohio: Park-Stradley Hall at Ohio State University had been open for about a month before the $3 million water main break lead to an evacuation, and the cost has some students wondering why all the kinks weren’t worked out. Park-Stradley, built as Park and Stradley Halls in 1959, was renovated and reopened for Fall Semester 2012 as part of a more than $171 million South Campus renovation project. The water main break came less than a month after students moved in.
West Virginia: Some people in St. Albans are cleaning up Saturday, after a water main break flooded parts of their homes. The break occurred on First Street North around 2:30 a.m. West Virginia American Water showed up to try and fix the problem at noon, but a couple of neighbors said the damage was already done. One man’s basement and garage suffered water damage and another neighbor said he got water inside his home.