News Briefs: Antibacterial Soap Could Harm WWTP Process

In news, a study indicates triclosan could hinder wastewater treatment, Detroit comes under fire for water shut-off policies and a 2014 water industry report reveals infrastructure concerns.
News Briefs: Antibacterial Soap Could Harm WWTP Process

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Triclosan, the active ingredient in antibacterial soaps, is facing a new round of criticism. A report in the Journal of Environment Science & Technology found that when triclosan was added to anaerobic digesters, methane production decreased. The report concludes that triclosan accumulations might inhibit methane production and cause antimicrobial resistance in wastewater treatment systems. This comes after years of warnings from health-care professionals who worry the soaps can create drug-resistant germs in homes.

In May, Minnesota became the first state to ban triclosan in consumer soaps and hand washes sold in the state. The ban will take effect in 2017. Companies such as Unilever, Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson are voluntarily limiting the amount of triclosan in personal-care products due to consumer demand.

Source: Axis of Logic 

Detroit Water Shut-Offs Trigger Debate

The City of Detroit is facing criticism from welfare-rights groups concerned that a water shut-off policy violates basic human rights and targets minority populations. The groups have appealed to the United Nations to assist Detroit residents.

“The accusation that they’re making that we are targeting poor customers in massive shut-offs is not true,” says Curtrise Garner, a water department spokeswoman in a Detroit News article. “We are seeking payments for our delinquent water and sewerage accounts.”

The department was prepared for 3,000 shut-offs per week when the notices were first served in March. However, to date, shut-offs have totaled 4,500. The company sent out 46,000 notices this spring.

Source: Detroit News

2014 Report Says Infrastructure Concerns Remain High

Aging infrastructure, capital needs and a retiring workforce remain top concerns for the water industry, according to the newly released 2014 U.S. Water Industry Outlook from WeiserMazars LLP. Also, 80 percent of respondents said the current rate approval process is unnecessarily complex, stating that reform and simplification are needed.
When asked how these situations could be solved, survey respondents rated local political support as the most critical element needed. Public support for financial improvements and private sector involvement are also important, according to industry participants.

This year’s industry survey explored several new areas, including technical innovation, pricing and customer education, and workforce management and customer service. To read more, view then entire report here.

Public-Private Partnership Deal Announced

United Water will soon manage three wastewater treatment facilities and a sewage system in Nassau County, N.Y. County Executive Edward Mangano stated the partnership will save taxpayers a minimum of $233.1 million under the 20-year agreement. Nassau County will retain ownership of the facilities while United Water will manage the internal plant operations and will be responsible for federal and state regulations.

“This partnership was formed to dramatically improve the county’s ability to protect our environment and the health and well-being of our residents,” says Mangano in a Long Island News article. “Furthermore, this effort permits a more effective and efficient management of the plants and sewage system following the federal government’s significant investment in storm hardening of our infrastructure.”

Source: Long Island News

I&I Overwhelms Aging Treatment Plant

Heavy rains have wastewater operators on edge in Fountain City, Wis., where residents have been asked to reduce water use to protect an aging wastewater system. The 40-year-old treatment plant is at full capacity, so if water levels increase, backups in the sewer system will occur. Gil Adams, the city’s public works director, has been in discussion with the Wisconsin Department of National Resources in case the plant needs to look at other options.

“If it gets any higher, we may have to get some permission from the DNR to do something different,” says John Sagan, city council member and public works committee chair in a LaCrosse Tribune article.

Plans to build a new $7 million treatment plant have been in the approval process since early this year.

Source: LaCrosse Tribune


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