News Briefs: Portland Diverts 38 Million Gallons, Rescinds Decision to Flush

News Briefs: Portland Diverts 38 Million Gallons, Rescinds Decision to Flush

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City officials in Portland, Ore., who originally decided to drain 38 million gallons of water from Mt. Tabor Reservoir No. 5 after a security camera caught a man allegedly urinating into the water, have opted to divert the water into a second reservoir. Three men were cited for trespassing after being stopped on April 16. One of them, a 19-year-old, was also cited for public urination.

Treated water in the reservoir heads directly into mains for distribution. According to an article in The Oregonian, Portland Commissioner Nick Fish says the situation was about the ick factor involved, which is why he originally chose a conservative route.

“I didn’t have a choice,” Fish says in the article. “I don’t have the luxury of slicing it too thin when there’s a potential risk, however small, to public health. Frankly, it’s one of those calls where you know you’re likely to be criticized no matter what.”

The Portland Water Bureau began draining Reservoir No. 5 earlier this week, but after a few days, only 2 to 3 million gallons had entered the sewer system.

“The rate of draining Res 5 was slow,” says Jaymee Cuti, public information officer, “and we wanted to get it back into service.”

Reservoir 6, where the water is headed, was retired in October 2010. Fish says the incident will give the city an opportunity to experiment with open-air reservoirs, which the federal government wants retired. The reservoir has a fountain, and city officials are hoping the additional water will help maintain the historic feel of the reservoirs for visitors.

Source: Huffington Post, NPR, Oregonian

Water Utility Workers Take Skills to Guatemala
In March, members of Wisconsin Water for the World traveled to the mountainous country of Guatemala to bring water infrastructure to rural villagers. The team, which includes water professionals from across the state, is an extension of the Wisconsin Water Association.

During this trip, the team traveled to the village of Pujujilito to build a pump house and a 10,000 liter tank that will capture water from a natural mountain spring. The sustainable system provides water to 30 homes. The villagers provided much of the manual labor while the water team worked on technical issues.

Although the village was also without electricity and septic systems, the group only works on drinking water infrastructure.

“There’s so much need there, but we have to focus on one area,” says John Anderson, Wisconsin Water for the World chairman. “You have to start with (drinkable) water for living.”

The Wisconsin Water Association raises money for the tanks and other materials.

Source: Kenosha News, City of Madison

Savvy Water Savers Hit With Increasing Rates
Water conservations efforts in Albuquerque have been successful, which is the good news. Consumers have decreased consumption and use far less water than anticipated down from about 148 gpd per person in 2013 to a projected 135 gpd this year. The bad news? To compensate for the decrease in revenue, the Albuquerque Bernallillo County Water Utility Authority must increase rates.

The utility board is considering a 5 percent rate increase beginning in July. The same increase was applied last July. The utility had set 135 gallons per person per day as a long-term water conservation goal to be reached in 2024. Accomplishing that point a decade early has complicated budgeting.

Source: Albuquerque Journal

Dan River Declared Safe for Farm Use
Farmers along the Dan River in North Carolina can now use surface water to irrigate crops, according to a report released by North Carolina and Duke Energy. A major coal ash spill on Feb. 2 dumped thousands of tons of toxic ash in the river. Researchers have been closely monitoring the water quality since the incident.

The report shows that current levels of toxins such as arsenic, lead and copper are below U.S. EPA standards. Researchers compiled 450 water samples over 40 days to determine whether the water was safe for agriculture.

However, scientists are still advising famers to pump water near the surface and not near the bottom of the river, where coal ash has become part of the sediment.

Source: News & Record


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