Water News, March 7-21, 2013

Top Stories

National: On March 20, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved S.601, the Water Resources Development Act of 2013. The bill provides critical flood protection for communities across the country, maintains the flow of commerce, funds safe drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and will create up to 500,000 new jobs.

National: Once every four years, America’s civil engineers provide a comprehensive assessment of the nation’s major infrastructure categories in ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Released on March 19, the grade for drinking water improved slightly to a D. “At the dawn of the 21st century, much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life. There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States. Assuming every pipe would need to be replaced, the cost over the coming decades could reach more than $1 trillion, according to the American Water Works Association,” the report said.

California: The San Diego Public Utilities Department presented its final report on water recycling and estimates it would cost no more to recycle water than to import it. The report, released March 20, will be presented the San Diego City Council’s Natural Resources and Culture Committee. Turning wastewater into drinking water could provide a large, reliable source of water for San Diego.

Failing Infrastructure

Maryland: A 60-inch water main break, which occurred in Chevy Chase on March 18, shot water as high as 30 feet into the air and completely closed a major roadway for hours. WSSC officials believe the break was caused by an aging infrastructure. They say the affected water main went into use in 1980. Mandatory water restrictions are now in place in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and the restrictions could last up to a week.

Florida: A water main break in Julington Creek had JEA crews working overtime. The March 20 break was located near Flora Branch and Durbin Creek. JEA says about 175 customers were affected and it was three to four hours before service was restored.

New York: Kefi, a popular city restaurant, which was damaged during a water main break a few weeks ago, will remain closed for reconstruction for the next few months. Casa Pomona, a Spanish newcomer located on the same block, has also been closed since the water main break but hopes to reopen in April.

Wisconsin: The cost of a massive water pipeline failure in Green Bay in December could reach a half-million dollars. Officials of the Green Bay Water Utility say the incident will deplete a $3 million reserve fund. But officials of the city-owned water utility say the costs probably can be absorbed without customer rate increases or other major adjustments. The 3-foot pipeline burst Dec. 29 on Green Bay’s east side. About 8 million gallons of water leaked, flooding roads and disrupting water to thousands of customers.

Arizona: Officials in Scottsdale said they’ve identified the location of a water main break that created a sinkhole at the intersection of Pima and Pinnacle Peak roads. Repair crews worked around the clock to repair the line Friday night March 14. Road repairs were completed over the weekend and the intersection reopened on Monday morning.

Wisconsin: Milwaukee DPW officials said a 16-inch water main break on March 14 caused crews to shut  off  water service in the area to repair the pipe. Grange Ave. was closed to traffic in the 2200 block because of the water main break.

Tennessee: Repair of the water main on Hermitage Avenue that ruptured March 11 was completed a week ahead of schedule, but the complete repair will take 60-90 days. Pressure in the pipe buckled the sidewalk and then broke the street open with a loud boom. Witnesses said rocks and pavement went flying into the air. Hermitage Avenue and other nearby streets were quickly turned into small rivers.

Missouri: Water began gushing into the intersection of Market and 16th around 10:30 p.m. March 13, just as fans were beginning to leave a Bon Jovi concert at Scotttrade Center, the City of St. Louis Streets Department said. Despite significant damage to Market Street, the city planned to have the pavement repaired in time for the St. Patrick’s Day parade March 16.

Maryland: Officials from Baltimore City Public Works could not say when dozens of homes in west Baltimore would have water service restored after a water main broke March 13. Public works officials said a 20-inch line broke at about 2:30 p.m. in the unit block of North Mount Street. The main caused water service to be turned off to 50 customers within the area.

Minnesota: The 500 block of W. Superior St. shut down March 13 after a valve on a water main burst. About two feet of standing water was sitting in the tunnel between the Radisson Hotel and the Duluth Public Library. Eyewitnesses said there was also a frozen sheet of ice on Superior St. from 4th to 5th Avenues W. A Minnesota Power worker on the scene said the break also affected power in the area. A separate water main broke just a few hours later  near 1st St. and 3rd Ave W.

Indiana: Water was restored after about 60 customers were without water for about 6 hours March 11 due to a large water main break on city’s east side. The cause of the break was likely due to aging infrastructure, officials said. Afternoon activities at a local elementary school were canceled because of the break.

South Dakota: Some residents in Dupree were without water March 10, following a water main break.  Dupree Mayor Ray Lenk said the break disrupted service in a two block area. School was cancelled for the day because  of the service disruption.

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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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