In this week's water and wastewater news, a new report shows water shutoffs in Detroit increased in 2016 despite expectations they'd decline; and engineers find West Point Treatment Plant sustained up to $57 million in flooding damage
A report from The Detroit Journalism Cooperative has indicated that more than 27,000 homes in the city had water turned off due to unpaid bills, marking an 18% increase in shutoffs in 2016 compared to 2015.
Some neighborhoods saw one in five homes lose water access. Another 18,000 residential customers could soon face shutoffs, according to an announcement earlier this year that shutoffs postponed from the winter months would be enacted.
After Detroit’s shutoff campaign in 2014 drew worldwide attention, city officials said shutoffs in the following years would decline, but they’ve increased.
Source: Detroit Journalism Cooperative
Disaster at West Point Plant Caused Up To $57 Million in Damage
The latest figures show that failed equipment caused up to $57 million in damage to the West Point (Seattle) Treatment Plant during its recent flooding disaster.
Those costs should be covered by insurance and won’t affect King County’s sewer rate in 2017-’18, according to the King County Wastewater Treatment Division. The county is still on the hook for its $250,000 deductible and any regulatory fines or environmental monitoring costs, however.
Engineers from CH2M calculated the cost by looking at existing orders for broken equipment, work orders, staff changes and asset inventories.
Source: NBC K5
Atlantic City Residents Fight Utility Privatization
Residents in Atlantic City, New Jersey are protesting the possible sale of the city’s Municipal Utility Authority to a private company.
Cornell William Brooks, president of the NAACP, argued that the city’s water would become more expensive for people living in poverty.
“We are in Atlantic City because water is life sustaining,” he said at a protest. “What is understood to be a money problem is in fact a democracy challenge. This is not about dollars and cents. It’s about human beings.”
The NAACP is encouraging residents to sign petitions to put the proposal to a referendum.
“We understand fundamentally that water rights are civil rights, and civil rights are human rights,” said Brooks.
Source: CBS Philly
Bureau of Reclamation Announces $23 Million in Water Projects
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced $23 million in funding to seven states in support of water reuse and desalination projects.
The funds will be used in California, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington to plan, design and construct new projects.
“This funding provides essential tools for stretching limited water supplies by helping communities to reclaim and reuse wastewater and impaired ground or surface waters,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.