News Briefs: Water Operator Charged With Falsifying Data

In this week's water and wastewater news, an operator is charged with falsifying drinking water samples, El Paso Water Utilities looks to become drought-proof, and Detroit enters a long-term lease.
News Briefs: Water Operator Charged With Falsifying Data

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A former Dolton, Illinois, water operator has been charged with falsifying drinking water sample paperwork. According to a report in the Chicago Sun Times, Philip Kraus, 63, faces five charges of submitting false statements to the Illinois EPA and one count of engaging in a multi-year scheme to submit false statements.

The City of Dolton, which purchases water from Chicago, is required to collect 25 to 30 samples each month from its water system to test for coliform bacteria. According to prosecutors, Kraus routinely collected water samples from only a handful of locations and then stated the samples were taken from locations throughout Dolton.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said that although there is no evidence Kraus’ actions caused actual harm, “it did create a very real risk of contamination going undiscovered.”

Each of the six counts carries up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Source: Chicago Sun Times

“Drought Proof” City Targets Brackish Water

In El Paso, Texas, drought is driving the city’s water agenda. A new project, which was recently approved by the El Paso Water Authority, will hopefully wean the city from its dependency on the Rio Grande River.

Enviro Water Mineral Co. is slated to build a plant to extract useful minerals from leftover water at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Desalination Plant. According to the El Paso Times, this additional step will increase freshwater recovery at the plant from 80 percent to about 93 percent. Currently, the unusable salty water from Kay Bailey is pumped into injection wells.

Enviro Water plans to use the extracted salt to make products such as bleach and magnesium sulfate. The company will then sell back the treated water at $200 an acre-foot.

The new plant is expected to increase production at Kay Bailey by about 1 mgd.

“It’s a win, win, win,” says Enviro Water Spokesman Hubble Hausman, in the El Paso Times article. “It’s a win for them. It’s a win for us. It’s a win for the environment.”

Source: El Paso Times  

Detroit Utility Lease Approved

As part of its bankruptcy recovery plan, the City of Detroit will lease out its water and sewer systems to the Great Lakes Water Authority board. The decision was finalized with a 5-1 vote from the Authority.

Under the agreement, the city will lease the water and sewer systems to the Authority for $50 million a year for 40 years. The long-term lease will provide funds to repair the system’s aging infrastructure.

The deal also includes a new $4.5 million fund to assist low-income families with water bills. Last summer, Detroit came under fire from several groups because of its water shut-off policy. The policy, which drew attention from the United Nations, was an attempt to collect $90 million in unpaid water bills.

Source: Reuters


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