News Briefs: Extreme Winter Wreaks Havoc on Water Utilities

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With temperatures routinely dipping below zero in many parts of the country, water utilities have been scrambling to keep up with frozen service lines, fractured water mains and frozen meters. In Wisconsin this past month, Madison Water Utility crews repaired more breaks than in any other January in the past six years and have responded to more frozen meter calls for any month in the past decade. Water utilities in Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha reported similar problems. “This is the worst winter for water pipes in recent memory,” says Keith Haas, Racine Water Department General Manager.

Source: Madison Water Utility, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Connecticut Utility To Upgrade, Increase Rates by 20 Percent

Officials in Groton, Conn., approved a $34 million upgrade to modernize an aging water treatment facility. Eventually, the project will increase water rates by 20 percent for Groton Utilities customers. The Poquonnock Road plant currently distributes up to 10 mgd, and the new plant, which will also include treatment updates to meet EPA standards, will process 12 mgd. Construction could start as early as 2015.


New York American Water Signs Acquisition Agreement

New York American Water announced the purchase of the Mt. Ebo Water Works, Inc. and Mt. Ebo Sewage Works Inc. in the Town of Southeast, N.Y. Once approved by the New York Public Service Commission, 400 customers will be affected by the change. “This agreement continues the expansion of our operations into the upstate area, north of our historical Long Island base,” says William M. Varley, president of New York American Water. New York American Water is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state.


Water Diversion Battle Ends For Albuquerque Water Utility

More than a decade of legal battles has come to an end for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. The utility received final legal approval for its Rio Grande drinking water diversions when the New Mexico Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal of the water permit. The permit was granted in 2004 to divert water from the Rio Grande to the agency’s Alameda diversion dam. However, critics of the permit, including farmers and environmentalists, challenged whether it was legal.

Brewery Assists California Town During Drought

Water relief is in sight for Cloverdale, Calif. The Bear Republic Brewery, which calls the town home, has taken steps to contribute to the town’s water supply during historic drought conditions. The brewery recently installed an onsite water treatment system and has lent Cloverdale $466,000 to assist in digging two new wells, which will provide water for residents and enable the brewery to increase supply for a planned expansion. The EcoVolt system sends wastewater through a bio-electrochemical reactor, which can supply more than 10 percent of the facility’s water requirements.


Feds Reaffirm West Virginia Water Safe

Federal health officials gave West Virginia water a thumbs-up on Feb. 5., stating that customers can now use water as they choose. On Jan. 9, a coal-cleaning chemical at Freedom Industries in Charleston contaminated water and spurred a water-use ban for 300,000 customers. “You can drink it. You can bathe in it,” says Dr. Tanja Popovic, acting director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease registry. “You can use it how you like.”



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