In this week's water and wastewater news, a Pennsylvania elementary school ignored lead contamination test results from the DEP; a Virginia court decides to continue allowing farmland application of biosolids; and a winery gets ready to use an on-site wastewater treatment system.
Parents of students at Summit (Pennsylvania) Township Elementary School weren’t told about high levels of lead in the school’s drinking water until nearly five months after samples were taken and analyzed.
A school board member suspected a cover-up and filed an information request to get the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) test results for the school, which contained lead levels as high as 55 ppb.
The superintendent received a memo from DEP months ago that reported the lead problem, but he claimed he didn’t know what it meant. Meanwhile, he and the school board president blamed the local water operator who also serves as maintenance director, saying he should have recommended action after seeing the DEP report.
Source: Pittsburgh’s Action News 4
Court Upholds Application of Biosolids
A Circuit Court in Virginia recently upheld the wastewater treatment and agriculture industries’ right to use biosolids application on farmland.
The court decided that there wasn’t a threat to the environment or to public health.
The judge who dismissed the lawsuit cited a history of functional regulations for biosolids application, and an expert panel on biosolids said in a study that it had “uncovered no evidence or literature verifying a causal link between biosolids and illness,” according to the Times-Virginian.
Winery to Use Onsite Treatment System
A winery in Napa Valley has taken steps to become the first in the area to use an onsite wastewater treatment system called EcoVolt to reduce its shipment of wastewater to a municipal plant for treatment.
EcoVolt is an onsite bioelectric wastewater system currently being used by a number of breweries, and now parent company Cambrian Innovation can add Rombauer Vineyards in St. Helena to its list of clients.
The EcoVolt is 53 feet long and uses an anaerobic system to convert the pollutants in brewery and winery wastewater into electricity and biogas. The system is reported to generate as much as 260,000 kwh per year.
Source: Napa Valley Register
Operator Fined for Violating Environmental Regulations
A West Virginia WWTP operator will pay a $6,200 civil penalty for violating environmental regulations.
The operator of the Shenandoah Junction Wastewater Treatment Plant was fined for failing to report a spill; not properly maintaining the sand-filtering system; another failure to report a spill that contained worms and solids; and for being classified as “revoked” by the Virginia Secretary of State’s office.
Iowa Supreme Court Rules Against Utility
The Iowa Supreme Court recently ruled against Des Moines Water Works, which filed a federal lawsuit in 2015 seeking to overturn a rule that gives agricultural drainage districts immunity from lawsuits for monetary damages.
The lawsuit was filed after nitrates were found in drinking water from the Raccoon River in three counties.
The utility says the counties with the drainage districts should have to get pollution discharge permits and pay the utility back $1.4 million for the increased filtration methods it needs to remove nitrates.