Weekly News Brief: Is New York Ready for Another Sandy?

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More than a year after Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard, wastewater treatment plants are still searching for a silver bullet to protect sewage systems from future storms. In Yonkers, N.Y., Westchester County has commissioned $900,000 to determine how to prevent floods. On Long Island, FEMA agreed to spend $810 million to overhaul the Bay Park plant in Nassau County, and in New Jersey, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission is requesting $779 million in federal funds to build a flood barrier, upgrade and elevate electrical equipment, and produce electricity on site.

Hurricane Sandy seriously damaged 10 of New York City’s 14 wastewater treatment plants. Last fall, the Department of Environmental Protection recommended $315 million in upgrades to the city’s treatment plants and pump stations. Many of the current solutions are piecemeal, involving combinations of modest projects. “Right now, there isn’t a silver bullet,” says Jeanette Brown, a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Manhattan College.

Source: Wall Street Journal 

‘Haunted’ Plant Prepares for Major Investment
A 2010 incident at the Jerome (Idaho) Wastewater Treatment Plant left the facility facing serious fines from the U.S. EPA, and although plant officials say the incident will “haunt them forever,” the future is looking much brighter. In late January, the Jerome City Council approved a $35.9 million bond ordinance to overhaul the plant, where routine maintenance had long been ignored. “It is an overall upgrade to the facility,” says Gil Sanchez, wastewater superintendent. “It’s been a long time coming, and we are addressing it now. This incident just sped things up.” In 2010, operators disabled a system to make repairs. Untreated wastewater overloaded an aeration basin, and slime buildup clogged filters in the membrane bioreactor .The first phase of upgrades, which will cost $13.5 million, will address the MBR that clogged and overflowed.

Source:  Times-News

San Angelo to Consider Water Reuse Program
Water reuse remains a viable alternative in drought-weary municipalities. The City of San Angelo, Texas, which receives potable water from nearby Twin Buttes in exchange for reclaimed wastewater for irrigation, is initiating a study to examine water reuse within the city limits. With a lack of water in the Twin Buttes Reservoir, the city has not been receiving any water in exchange for what’s being pumped out. “If we begin to look at using wastewater in different means, you’re going to be looking at additional treatment required and additional costs,” says Kevin Krueger, San Angelo Water Utilities assistant director. The city council will work with the Alan Plummer Associates engineering firm to determine the scope of the water reuse study.

Source: San Angelo LIVE 

Rochester Chief Operator Receives EPA Award
David Green, chief operator of the Rochester (N.H.) Wastewater Treatment Facility received the Region 1 Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Excellence Award from the U.S. EPA. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services nominated Green for his leadership, innovation and strong working relations with industry and government officials. “This is a great honor for David and for the City of Rochester,” says City Manager Dan Fitzpatrick. “It shows that the investments the city has made to modernize its wastewater system are a model for municipalities throughout the region.

Source: Rochester Times 


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