In this week's water and wastewater news, a 52-year-old city worker dies after getting pinned between a dump truck and front-end loader; a group of men posing as water company employees rob an elderly couple; city workers in New Jersey allegedly accept bribes to reduce a water bill; and a California judge strikes down a ban on the use of biosolids as fertilizer on farmlands.

A 52-year-old city worker from Tampa, Florida, was killed at a wastewater facility last week after getting pinned between a dump truck and a front-end loader.

Pablo Fermenias had parked the dump truck behind the loader, but the loader’s operator wasn’t aware of Fermenias’ position and accidentally struck him.

The driver of the loader attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Fermenias, who was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Related: Weekly News Briefs: Winter-Weary Town Experiences Increased Water Flow

Source: WTSP

Phony Utility Workers Rob Elderly Couple

Three men posing as water company employees recently robbed an elderly couple on Wantagh, New York, of a checkbook and $2,000 in cash.

The men had badges and claimed that some neighbors were sick from iodine contamination. They asked to come in and check out the couple’s water.

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They told the couple to run all the sinks and the washing machine to clear our the water. While they were distracted, the men looked around and stole the cash.

Source: CBS New York

City Workers Accept Bribe to Reduce Bill

A pair of city workers in the city of New Brunswick, New Jersey, are accused of accepting a bribe to reduce water and sewer bills and tampering with public records.

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The men allegedly accepted $2,000 to reduce someone’s water and sewer bills. One was charged with official misconduct and bribery, and the other was charged with official misconduct and tampering with public records.

The men have been suspended from their jobs as investigation into the complaint continues.


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California Judge OKs Use of Biosolids as Fertilizer

A voter initiative passed in 2006 in Kern County, California, which banned the farmland application of biosolids recently was struck down by a California Superior Court.

Judge Lloyd Hicks called the measure “invalid for all purposes, for the dual reasons that it exceeds Kern’s police power authority and is preempted by state law.”

The two-week bench trial is the first that has focused on the issue of recycling biosolids to farmland.

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The city of Los Angeles and a group of agencies, farmers and contractors filed the lawsuit against Kern County in an effort to continue using biosolids as a fertilizer and soil amendment on farmlands.

Source: The National Law Review

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