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Sewers of Mexico City National Geographic/You Tube 04:04

A wade through the sewers of San Francisco YouTube 04:44

Sewer robot YouTube 02:24


Raw sewage in Africa's Lake Victoria: BBC News_ 6/26/07


Wastewater News



Bozeman, Montana to get $500,000 federal funds for wastewater plant

The city of Bozeman will get $650,000 in federal money to help pay for expansion of its sewer-treatment plant and restoration of buildings damaged by the March 5 natural-gas explosion, Montana’s U.S. senators announced Friday. The Interior Department appropriations bill cleared its final vote in Congress and is on its way to President Obama for his signature, according to a statement from U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both Democrats. The budget bill includes $500,000 for Bozeman’s $54 million sewage-treatment plant expansion. The city is one of four in Montana that will get federal assistance improving drinking or wastewater systems, the statement said. Bozeman Daily Chronicle_ 10/30/09

Illegal water connection is source of sickness

A Layton, Utah neighborhood's drinking water is safe again after officials removed a home's illegal connection, which had caused untreated water to flow into pipes for treated water. The contamination made several people sick.  The city and the Davis County Health Department traced the source back to a valve the previous homeowner had installed, which connected the culinary water system with the secondary water system meant for irrigation use.  Salt Lake Tribune_10/15/09

Chatham, Massachusetts group proposes less expensive wastewater treatment plan

By using a decentralized approach to sewage treatment and focusing only on the parts of town that require nitrogen removal, Chatham can build a better wastewater mousetrap – for far less money. That's the opinion of a panel of experts who spoke before a crowded meeting room at the community center Saturday morning. The event was sponsored by Chatham Concerned Taxpayers, with the express intent of finding a wastewater solution that is less expensive than the $300 million sewer system and treatment plant upgrade currently being planned. Cape Cod Chronicle_ 9/16/09

Toxic chemical spills at West Palm Beach, Florida, wastewater plant

Fifty to 100 gallons of methanol, a flammable chemical that can sicken or kill people who inhale it, spilled from a tank at the city's wastewater treatment plant this morning, officials said. But city spokesman Chase Scott said the hazard was for flame or explosion, not toxic exposure. The spill occurred when a contractor overfilled a tank containing the methanol, Scott said. Palm Beach Post_ 9/1/09

Raw sewage entering New York City's Gowanus Canal looms as campaign issue

The swath of brownstone Brooklyn that makes up City Council District 39 includes some of the city's most gentrified neighborhoods. But much of the debate among eight candidates in the race to succeed City Councilmember Bill de Blasio revolves around what to do about a remnant of the area's far grittier past -- the notoriously noxious and toxic Gowanus Canal. The Gowanus is a finger of pollution that pokes 1.8 miles through Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. More than a century of industrial dumping and combined sewer overflow has left the area filthy. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the federal Environmental Protection Agency have opposing plans on how to go about a cleanup process that will take at least a decade to complete. Gotham Gazette_ 8/17/09

Tampa, Florida, voters to decide on recycled drinking water

The council voted Thursday to ask residents whether they want to put highly treated sewer water back into the city's drinking water supply. The question will appear on the 2010 ballot. The city of Tampa gets most of its drinking water from the Hillsborough River. Right now, the city dumps 55 million gallons of reclaimed water a day into Tampa Bay. The council's vote came at a workshop on a $340 million plan to find better uses for the water to protect the bay and reduce reliance on drinking water for things like irrigation and industry. St. Petersburg Times_ 6/23/09

Tampa, Florida, water officials studying toilet-to-tap proposal

Tampa City Councilman Charlie Miranda has resurrected the decades-old debate over turning sewer water into drinkable water. City officials are taking Miranda's proposal seriously to the point that they've been talking with local hydrological experts and state regulators to gauge their preliminary support. His proposal, still in its infancy, would be to build a new $150 million wastewater treatment plant to purify wastewater to drinkable quality, then inject it into the ground for natural filtration before it flows into the Hillsborough River, the city's primary source of drinking water. Miranda said utilities in Virginia, Texas and California return treated wastewater to their drinking water supplies that well exceed state and federal water quality standards. In the mid-1980s, Tampa spent more than $6 million on research for a similar proposal but backed away from it over cost concerns and a lack of support from the public. Tampa Tribune_ 6/19/09

Artificial sweeteners may contaminate water downstream of sewage treatment plants

Sewage treatment plants fail to remove artificial sweeteners completely from waste water. What’s more, these pollutants contaminate waters downstream and may still be present in our drinking water. Thanks to their new robust analytical method, which simultaneously extracts and analyses seven commonly used artificial sweeteners, Marco Scheurer, Heinz-Jürgen Brauch and Frank Thomas Lange from the Water Technology Center in Karlsruhe, Germany, were able to demonstrate the presence of several artificial sweeteners in waste water. Their findings are published online this week in Springer’s journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. A range of artificial sweeteners are commonly used in food and drinks, as well as drugs and sanitary products. The potential health risks of artificial sweeteners have been debated for some time. Science Daily_ 6/17/09

Record rainfall seeps into Fort Worth sewer pipes and causes a big, nasty spill

About 1.1 million gallons of sewage spilled onto undeveloped land near a wastewater treatment plant in far east Fort Worth this week after heavy rains caused two 96-inch wastewater pipes to overflow, city officials said Friday. The water has been captured and treated at the Village Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Because the sewage was diluted, the discharge is not a risk to drinking water supplies, city officials said. Star-Telegram_ 6/12/09

California's Sausalito-Marin City Sanitary District faces $332,000 in fines for three sewage spills

The Sausalito-Marin City Sanitary District faces $332,000 in fines for three spills of more than 775,000 gallons of sewage, the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board announced Thursday. The sanitary district has 30 days to respond to the proposed fine. The district spilled 766,700 gallons of partially treated wastewater gushed into San Francisco Bay between Feb. 15 and 21 after an underwater pipe at the district's Fort Baker Wastewater Treatment Plant burst. Marin Indepedent-Journal_ 6/11/09

Recycling 'gray water' cheaply, safely

Gray water looks like its name — a bit gray, a bit cloudy. After all, it's the wastewater from bathtubs, sinks and washers. The gray water lapping at dirty clothes can be lapped up by fruit trees — and no, the fruit won't taste like Tide. Use a special detergent that doesn't contain salt or boron, compounds which dehydrate plants. California's code states that a legal gray water system needs to be nine inches under the ground. Those get-ups can be prohibitively expensive, costing up to $5,000 dollars. Arizona is the nation's leading example of permit free systems. There, a resident can use gray water as long as they follow a set of guidelines to ensure safety and no cross contamination. California State Sen. Allen Lowenthal says California's Department of Housing and Community development is trying to come up with new rules. NPR_ 6/8/09

Bay City, Michigan, wastewater plant is losing customers

The Bay City plant recently lost its second customer this year, as Hampton Township decided to join Essexville in pumping waste to the West Bay County Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Bangor Township. Bay City Wastewater Superintendent Bill Kaiser said the city stands to lose about $1.5 million, or 10 percent of its annual revenue, when Hampton Township makes the switch late next year after miles of new pipe are laid. Meanwhile, industrial and commercial customers that still use the Bay City plant have significantly reduced the amount of sewage they're sending this year, apparently due to the crummy economy. That means the city plant isn't able to bill for as much usage, and has to raise rates for existing customers, Kaiser said. Bay City Times_ 6/7/09

May, 2009

Reclaimed water is one step closer for some Florida neighborhoods

A $340 million plan to put the Tampa Florida's treated wastewater to good use took a tiny step forward on Thursday.  The City Council voted to start expanding the system that now makes reclaimed water available to about 8,700 users in South Tampa to another potential 9,000 customers. The expansion, which could be completed in five years, also would take the water to big users such as the Tampa Sports Authority and International Plaza.

Other parts of the plan will be considered later, including:

• Requiring people who have access to reclaimed water to use it instead of potable water for lawn watering as of Dec. 1.

• Allowing Tampa Bay Water to take up to 20 million gallons of reclaimed water a day to Pasco County to recharge the aquifer.

• Requiring people with access to reclaimed water lines to pay a fee even if they don't use the water.  Tampabay.com_5/29/09


Arizona private utility first in state to power wastewater treatment plant with solar power

Johnson Utilities is installing more than 5,400 solar panels over 6 acres of property surrounding its wastewater plant in Pinal County. Completion of the $10 million project is expected in midsummer. The company serves 25,000 customers in Pinal County. Johnson Utilities also uses solar on an adjacent site to power a well and water plant that provides water to roughly 10,000 homes. The company is planning to bring solar to a second wastewater treatment plant in the fall. Arizona Republic_ 5/11/09

Virginia issues $186 million in  bonds for wastewater treatment and sewer-system upgrades to fight pollution in Chesapeake Bay

According to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's office, the Virginia Resources Authority's total investment in bay cleanup in the past two years exceeds $810 million. The governor's office said bonds will finance improvements to 13 wastewater-treatment plants and sewage systems to reduce nutrient pollution being discharged into the tributaries that feed the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia is a co-signer of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement, which calls for each state in the bay watershed to reduce by 40% the level of nutrients going into the Chesapeake Bay by 2010. Richmond  Times-Dispatch_ 5/9/09

March, 2009

Lakeland, Florida's wastewater headed to power plant

The City of Lakeland dumps a large amount of reclaimed water into Tampa Bay every day. Under an $88 million deal announced today with Tampa Electric and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, beginning in 2012, much of that treated wastewater will be rerouted to TECO's Polk Power Station near Mulberry. Tampa Tribune_ 3/31/09

Ohio has huge need for sewer, water system repair funds

Ohio has $275.6 million to spend on sewer watr projects, but needs $4 billion, according to the growing list of requests for economic stimulus money. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, was disappointed at the low level of funding for water and sewer projects in the stimulus bill. He is considering pushing a moratorium on water and sewer projects to give the EPA time to consider whether towns can afford to do what the agency asks. He said in some cases, the EPA based its requirements on businesses located in cities. The businesses have gone away, but the requirements haven't. Dayton Daily News_ 3/9/09

Sacramento sewage agency looks at selling wastewater

Last week, amid a third year of a statewide drought, the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District adopted a strategy to sell treated sewage as drinking water. The buyer would hypothetically partner with the district to recycle wastewater from the capital-area's 1.4 million people into a new municipal water source. Orange County last year opened the world's largest wastewater recycling plant and is now serving treated effluent as high-quality drinking water to 2.3 million residents. The technology is simpler and cheaper than desalinating seawater. State regulators are working to adjust policies to encourage more such projects. What's different about Sacramento's plan is that local leaders want somebody else to buy treated sewage and pay to make it drinkable. It could also be treated to some lesser standard, such as to irrigate crops or landscaping. Sacramento Bee_ 3/3/09

February, 2009

Taking the plunge with a composting toilet

After grappling with the gross factor, the system itself turns out to be fairly unobtrusive. And with water rationing possibly ahead, now's the time for a backup plan. Los Angeles Times_ 2/28/09

Possible pharmaceutical pollution concern of land owners downstream from new Utah sewer treatment plant

Water officials are deciding whether to commission an independent environmental assessment of the facility, scheduled to be up and running this fall. But Dan Matthews, director of the Jordanelle Special Service District, said residents' concerns may be "misplaced fears. This is a fully accredited plant that produces clean water." But landowners, who irrigate fields and crops through a system of canals downstream, say they have not been assured that the discharged water will be free of toxins from pharmaceutical chemicals that the state-of-the-art plant is unable to filter. Salt Lake Tribune_ 2/9/09

January, 2009

California city considers three-step wastewater to tap water solution

Escondido is considering reclaiming wastewater for use as drinking water to augment its water supply.  In addition, the inland city stands to save hundreds of millions of dollars by avoiding upgrades to its sewage treatment plant and an ocean outfall pipe if the plan succeeds.  Escondido's utilities director, Lori Vereker, said the reclamation project would be similar to neighboring Orange County's, which uses a three-step purifying process to produce what she calls “ultra-pure” water.  In Orange County, the water is first cleaned to a standard fit for irrigation, and then put through reverse osmosis to remove salt. Finally, it is treated with ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide to kill any remaining bacteria, said Shivaji Deshmukh, program manager for the Groundwater Replenishment system of the Orange County Water District.  The water is pumped into the water basin, where it sits for six months and percolates through the soil for further cleansing before it is pumped up by the water agencies, he said.  Tests have shown that the product is cleaner than drinking water from the Colorado River, which has treated wastewater dumped into it by cities along its path, Deshmukh said.  Union Tribune_January 23, 2009 DP



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