News Briefs: Mystery Flusher Forces City to Replace Lift Station

In this week's water and wastewater news, drop cloths cause problems at a lift station, the NOAA releases a dire Lake Erie algae prediction and UCLA asks for $13 million in damages after a water main break.
News Briefs: Mystery Flusher Forces City to Replace Lift Station

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The City of Shawano, Wisconsin, has decided to spend $11,000 on a new lift station, thanks to a mystery flusher who has been sending heavy-duty paper towels and rags into the sewer system. Officials say that even after sending letters to the 26 homes in the affected subdivision, the problem has continued.

“This appears to be our only alternative, to put in a different kind of system,” says Alderman Bob Kurkeiwicz in a Shawano Leader article.

Public Works Coordinator Eddie Sheppard said the city has had to unclog the system six or seven times per year to remove drop cloths or rags.

Crane Engineering of Kimberly will handle the replacement project.

Source: Shawano Leader

NOAA Predicts Severe Lake Erie Algae Season

According to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Lake Erie is set to experience the second most-severe algae season on record. The agency says this year’s bloom is expected to measure 8.7 on its severity index, and could possibly top out at 9.5. Those numbers make it much worse than last year’s 6.5 bloom. The NOAA algae prediction model ranks the blooms on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most severe.

The most severe bloom on record occurred in 2013.

Last year, algae blooms were responsible for a drinking water ban in the City of Toledo, which affected 400,000 residents. There, sample readings at the Collins Water Treatment Plant showed elevated levels of microcystin, a neurotoxin produced by blue-green algae.

Source: NOAA

Zebra Mussels Found at Water Treatment Plant Intake

The Fargo Water Utility (North Dakota) will now have to add zebra mussels to its list of concerns. After performing some precautionary monitoring, utility employees discovered the invasive species on the plant’s Red River intake screens.

“We knew it was going to show up eventually,” says Fargo Water Utility Director Troy Hall in a Valley News Live report. “If they start multiplying on our screen, they could cake the screen and restrict flow or in the piping going to the water plant.”

To tackle the zebra mussel problem, the utility will replace its intake screens with copper-coated screens and use a chemical near the piping.

Source: Valley News Live

UCLA Seeks $13 Million in Damages After Water Main Break

Last year, a water main break on Sunset Boulevard spewed 20 million gallons of water into the surrounding community and caused major flooding on the UCLA campus. The university is now seeking $13 million in damages from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

According to an LA Times article, the university says it has submitted the $13 million claim for five buildings, several athletic fields and two garages. The damages include the wooden floor at the Pauley Pavilion, which was covered with 8 inches of water during the water main break.

“UCLA and LADWP have, and will continue to, cooperate regarding the resolution of all UCLA campus-related damages,” city utility officials said in a statement.

The water main rupture triggered national discussion about the state of the city — and the nation’s — underground infrastructure.

Source: LA Times


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