News Briefs: City Operators Manipulated Chlorine Levels, Says DNR

In this week's water and wastewater news, two operators improperly report chlorine levels, a third Louisiana water system tests positive for brain-eating amoebas and Wal-Mart is named in a flushables lawsuit.
News Briefs: City Operators Manipulated Chlorine Levels, Says DNR

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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it plans to permanently revoke the state wastewater treatment certification of two former Sioux City employees after discovering chlorine levels at the wastewater treatment plant had been manipulated for years. State officials say chlorine levels were cut by nearly 88 percent on days when samples were not tested for E. coli.

Former wastewater superintendent Jay Niday and shift supervisor Pat Schwarte allegedly increased chlorine on sampling days to meet state guidelines, and then turned levels down. According to a Sioux City Journal story, the dosing was adjusted from 20 to 25 gallons per hour down to 2 to 3 gallons per hour. The findings were released by the DNR after interviews with those involved with the case.

“It also was determined that total residual chlorine samples were collected after chlorine dosing was turned down and an acceptable permitted level had been achieved,” said DNR spokesperson Kevin Baskins, in the Sioux City Journal.

The DNR’s attorney, John Crotty, will forward a notice of intent on Sept. 3 to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. Niday and Schwarte will have an opportunity to appeal the request.

The inquiry began after the DNR received an anonymous complaint about the wastewater treatment plant.

Source: Sioux City Journal 

Brain-Eating Amoeba Found in Third Louisiana Water System

Naegleria fowleri, also called “brain-eating amoeba,” has been found in a third Louisiana water system. The Terrebonne Parish utility district issued a statement on Aug. 17, warning water customers to use caution while bathing, swimming and showering. The district, which has started a 60-day chlorine burn, stated the water is safe to drink but people should avoid getting water into their nasal passages.

N. fowleri typically lives in warm freshwater river and lakes, although it can be found in improperly chlorinated pools. It causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PEM), which is rare but often fatal. Transmission occurs when water containing the amoeba enters the nasal passages, which allows the amoeba to move to the brain.

The district’s reaction comes after a positive sampling was taken Aug. 5 at a fire hydrant.

Earlier this summer, the amoeba was detected in the Ascension Parish and St. Bernard Parish water systems.

“We are taking precautionary measures that (the Department of Health and Hospitals) approves of and would ask our residents to follow the rules that DHH has provided,” said Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez in an AccuWeather.com article.

Source: Accuweather.com, CBS News

Flushables Lawsuit Targets Wal-Mart, Rockline Industries

Eugene and Victoria Richard of New Hampshire filed a class-action lawsuit on Aug. 5 against Wal-Mart and Rockline Industries, alleging the two companies showed deceptive business practice when selling flushable wipes.

Rockline Industries manufactures Equate flushable wipes for Wal-Mart. According to a report in Legal Newsline, the couple says that despite advertising otherwise, the wipes do not break down when flushed and can cause problems in pipes. The Richards say their septic system failed, which required them to hire professional plumbers.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York. Along with damages, it seeks an order declaring the defendants’ practices improper and an injunction requiring the defendants to inform the public about the true nature of wipes.

Source: Legal Newsline 



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