News Briefs: 'Thousand-Year Storm' Triggers Boil Advisory

In this week's water and wastewater news, flooding in South Carolina affects a treatment plant, workers in Delaware unionize and a plant commits to energy reduction.
News Briefs: 'Thousand-Year Storm' Triggers Boil Advisory

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Water customers in Columbia, South Carolina, were placed under a boil advisory this weekend after historic flooding damaged waterlines throughout the city’s distribution system. The flooding also caused at least nine fatalities, including the death of Department of Transportation worker Timothy Wayne Gibson, who was working on a flooded road when his work truck overturned.

The city’s wastewater treatment plant, which is permitted to treat 60 mgd, took in 100 mgd at one point on Saturday. According to an article in The State, the excess water was diverted to a holding basin. One small spill was reported at a pump station.

A wastewater treatment plant operated by Palmetto Wastewater Reclamation also flooded. Officials stated the plant might not be able to resume operation for up to a week. Residents were asked to limit water use until the plant could be restored.

According to the National Weather Service, Sunday was the wettest day on record for Columbia, with a rainfall total of 6.87 inches reported at the Metropolitan Airport. More than 20 inches of rain were recorded between Friday and Sunday in some parts of the city.

Source: The State, The State

Wastewater Workers Join Union

Wastewater workers in Sussex County, Delaware, have voted to pursue collective bargaining after the group unionized over concerns about pay, benefits and fair treatment from supervisors. The unionized group includes about 65 employees in the county’s Division of Environmental Services, which operates four treatment plants.

This is the first time a Sussex County employee group has voted to join a union. The vote was 50-15 in favor of unionizing.

“They didn’t feel they were being treated fairly in a number of things: the way they were working, the way they were being called in, everything,” said Michael Begatto, executive director of Delaware Public Employees Council 81 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “In addition to that, wages and benefits would be subject to negotiations.”

Source: Delaware Online, Cape Gazette

Wastewater Facility Commits to 25 Percent Energy Reduction

The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority in Victorville, California, has committed to reducing its energy use by 25 percent over the next 10 years as part of a U.S. Department of Energy program. The facility was the first wastewater treatment plant in the nation to participate in the DOE’s “Better Buildings, Better Plants” program.

Now, the program includes 12 water and wastewater treatment agencies.

“The program will provide us with further input and guidance from the DOE about ways to reduce VVWRA’s energy footprint,” said Director of Operators Gilbert Perez in a Daily Press article. “We are saving $40,000 a month in natural gas costs by using our biogas or methane to fire our two 800 kWh generators as part of our Waste to Energy program.

Perez also told the Daily Press that the facility had seen drastic energy reduction because of its new UV disinfection process.

Source: The Daily Press


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