News Briefs: Study Finds Wastewater Contains Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

In this week's wastewater news, a study finds antibiotic-resistant bacteria, plant upgrades continue in several cities, and a $10 million water reuse pipeline could irrigate California crops.
News Briefs: Study Finds Wastewater Contains Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

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According to a new French study, cities and hospitals are releasing wastewater into the environment that contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The study suggests that drug resistance among multiple types of bacteria, including E. coli, is a growing issue. Previously unaffected bacteria are picking up resistance genes from other bacteria, and resistance can also spread through food crops irrigated with affected water, according to an article on

“These multi-drug resistant bacteria are now the most frequently isolated ones in French hospitals and in many countries,” says Xavier Bertrand, author of the study, in the article.

“The extent to which the discharge of [antibiotic-resistant E. coli] into the environment contributes to its global spread remains uncertain,” he writes.

Experts say wastewater in the United States undergoes myriad processes that eliminate bacteria and other contaminants. “We have a very good multi-barrier approach in the U.S.,” microbiologist John Scott Meschke says in the article.

“The immediate concern is the risk of bacteria carrying these genes within recreational water, such as lakes and rivers,” Meschke says.

Source: Reuters

Treatment Plant Upgrade Due Diligence Saves $7 Million

Thanks to a design phase tweak, the City of Coos Bay, Ore., will save millions on a planned biosolids upgrade.

In the midst of planning updates for the city’s wastewater treatment plant, the city council sought a second contract with Dyer Partnership in hopes of discovering a more cost-effective way to transport biosolids between the city’s plants.

In an article by The World, Public Works Director Jim Hossley says the new plan revisions, which include a pipeline to transport the biosolids, eliminate the need to haul biosolids 4 miles by truck and no longer require them to keep a portion of the old plant structure standing. 

The economical benefits nearly outshine the environmental ones.

“They [Dyer Partnership] found that there is a solution that is significantly cheaper,” he says. “The sludge will be pumped, via pipe, from the new wastewater treatment plant over to wastewater treatment plant 1.”

In addition to saving $2 million in upfront construction costs, Hossley expects the pipeline to save the city and ratepayers $5 million over the next 20 years.

Source: The World

Indiana Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades Continue

The City of Terre Haute, Ind., is prepping for Phase 2 of a $110 million upgrade to its dated wastewater treatment plant. When complete, the plant will be sized to handle 40 percent more industrial wastewater. In a WAWV report, Mayor Duke Bennett says the new treatment plant will be able to handle industrial growth.

“We’re working with a couple of people right now who are looking to locate their businesses here,” he says in the report, “and in the past we would have told them that they would have to pre-treat their discharge, build their own facility and send us a cleaner outflow to our plant,” Bennett says. 

The plant has received few upgrades since it was built in 1961. Phase 2 includes two new storage  tanks that will hold up to 2.1 million gallons, and Bennett hopes the upgrades will help with odor control.

Officials plan to have the treatment plant finished by 2016, and Bennett holds that Terre Haute will have one of the lowest sewer bills in the state of Indiana upon completion because the sewer district will branch out to other communities.  

Source: WAWV

$100 Million Wastewater Pipeline Could Irrigate California Crops

Things might be looking up for the farmers in Del Puerto, Calif., who’ve been coping with poor groundwater quality, droughts and high water prices for years.

The Modesto, Turlock and Del Puerto water districts have formed a partnership, and are proposing plans for a $100 million pipeline that would transport recycled wastewater 6 miles to irrigate 45,000 acres of struggling farmland.

“If we cannot get a sustainable, reliable source of water … we’re not going to be able to continue,” says Jim Jasper, owner of Stewart & Jasper Orchards, in an interview with The Modesto Bee.

Farmers would be expected to pay $200 to $250 per acre-foot of water for the first 30 years, which is less than what they’ve been paying, and would cover the $100 million price tag.

Moreover, the pipeline would help Modesto and Turlock avoid costly updates to meet environmental standards for discharging water into the river.

“This recycled water project will help a neighbor in our county, create some jobs, save some trees and help our economy,” says Brad Hawn, a structural engineer and project consultant, in the article. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Source: The Modesto Bee

Bill Highlighting Water Reuse Advances

A proposal that would enable water districts and municipalities in Oklahoma to more effectively take on water reuse projects is one signature away from reality.

An important part of the state’s long-term vision for water, the bill establishes permitting requirements and policy to facilitate important water reuse projects.

“Water reuse is more affordable than the construction of new pipelines or a reservoir, and the technology has proven to be safe, effective and reliable,” says Sen. Rob Standridge in The Norman Transcript.

“For a number of growing municipalities, reuse may be the best option to expand the supply of drinking water,” he concludes.

Source: The Norman Transcript

$26 Million Plant Upgrade Includes New Biosolids Building

Construction of a new biosolids management building, a key aspect of the $26 million wastewater treatment plant project in South Abington, Pa., is nearing completion.

The project aims to bring the plant into compliance with a federal mandate meant to reduce pollution that eventually ends up in the Chesapeake Bay.

Upon completion of the biosolids building, the sludge-holding talks will be moved indoors. “You spend all this time and effort to dewater it, and then it rains and you get water in it,” says chief plant operator Robert Davis in an article by The Times Tribune.

“Everything will be within the building. The whole system will be more efficient.”

Source: The Times Tribune


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