News Briefs: Biosolids Spill Shuts Down Highway

In this week's news, a biosolids spill creates highway mayhem, water utilities up the ante for lawn replacement and a water tower collapse damages a church.
News Briefs: Biosolids Spill Shuts Down Highway

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Drivers on U.S.-126 outside of Lansing, Mich., were held up in traffic after a truck carrying processed biosolids tipped over, emptying its contents across the northbound lanes of the highway. The truck, which was carrying two trailers full of biosolids from Detroit’s wastewater treatment plant, blew a tire, tipping one of the trailers. The load was headed for a landfill.

Two cars and a motorcycle slid through the mess and also spun out of control. The motorcyclist sustained minor injuries.

The spill was removed with backhoes and water trucks. The lanes reopened after about eight hours of cleanup.

Source: Detroit Free Press, KSBY

Ho-Chunk Nation Completes Wastewater Plant Improvements

The Ho-Chunk Nation in central Wisconsin is nearing completion of a $10.4 million project at the Wazee Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant serves the tribe and nearby Jackson Correctional Institution. The project nearly doubles the plant’s capacity, allowing the Nation to expand housing and gaming expansions.

“I think we’ve been operating very close to the threshold for many years and obviously when you’re running at that capacity, it means that it’s not just a matter of storage but also a matter of looking at the future,” says Ho-Chunk Nation President John Greendeer in a LaCrosse Tribune article.

The project includes lift station and collection system upgrades as well as a new computer control system, which allows staff to monitor the facility from computer or mobile device around the clock. The facility upgrades will also help the Wazee plant maintain phosphorus reduction standards.

“The upgraded treatment facility will allow the Ho-Chunk Nation to grow while protecting the water quality of the Black River for years to come,” said Greg Gunderson of MSA Professional Services, which performed facilities planning.

Source: LaCrosse Tribune 

Remove Your Lawn, Earn a Rebate

Drought-tolerant gardening is one way for homeowners to reduce water usage. To encourage the switch, water utilities in several Southwestern cities are offering generous rebates for homeowners who remove their grass and replace it with more sustainable vegetation. The rebates range from 50 cents to $4 per square foot.

Palo Alto Utilities (Calif.) offers one of the most generous programs. The City, which receives its water from wholesaler Santa Clara Valley Water District, also removed a cap that had limited rebates to $2,000 for homes and $20,000 for commercial customers. With the changes, program applications have increased by 500 percent from last year.

“The incentive program is enough to get you over the barrier,” says Alan Bennett, Palo Alto homeowner in an article.

Source: SF Gate

Water Tower Collapse Damages Church

A silo-type water tower, owned by U.S. 60 Water collapsed in the small town of Waddy, Ky., damaging a church, the town’s post office and two homes. The tower held 100,000 gallons of water and was full at the time it collapsed. No one was injured in the incident, but the church and post office were closed until the mess could be cleaned up.

“The church has 3-feet of water in the basement [and it] wiped out all of the air conditioning units,” says James Riddle, Waddy assistant fire chief in a WDRB report.

The water utility is still investigating the cause of the collapse.

 Source: WDRB, Kentucky Online

Water Treatment Program Attracts Female Students

At Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, a recent graduation was a little more diversified than in years past. On July 31, the graduating class in the Water Quality Control operations program included five women — the highest number of females ever enrolled in the program.

“It’s good to see more females entering the field of water treatment, which is typically a male-dominated profession,” says Paul Shetley, director of the Environmental Resources Training Center to the Edwardsville Intelligencer. “It is an excellent career for anyone who wants to enter the workforce with good pay and benefits.”

This year’s program included 24 graduates. The training center focuses on providing water treatment technology to produce certified water and wastewater operators. The center contains classrooms, laboratories and a one-of-a-kind 30,000-gpd training-scale water and wastewater treatment plant.

Source: The Intelligencer 


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