News Briefs: Water Employee Dies in Chemical Explosion

In this week's water and wastewater news, Texas reports a fatal chemical explosion, Missouri treatment plants come back online after flooding, and Des Moines sets denitrification records
News Briefs: Water Employee Dies in Chemical Explosion

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An employee at Water Rescue Services near Midland, Texas, died in a chemical explosion on Monday, Jan. 4. Authorities reported that the man, Julian Gallardo, was mixing chemicals when the explosion occurred.

“There was some sort of chemical reaction, or spark, that caused the chemicals to react,” said Midland Fire Marshall Dale Little in a Midland Reporter-Telegram article. “It looked like that was what happened. At this point it’s still under investigation.”

The explosion also destroyed a building, two RVs and three other vehicles. The Midland Fire Department, Northeast Fire Department and the Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department all responded to the incident. When they arrived, a structure was completely engulfed in flames.

Officials said they did not believe the burning chemicals posed a health risk.

Water Rescue Services treats brackish and produced water from hydraulic fracturing operations.

Source: Midland Reporter-Telegram

Missouri Flooding Shuts Down Treatment Plants

Treatment plants affected by severe flooding along the Meramec River near St. Louis, Missouri, are slowly coming back online. However, it could be days before the plants are fully operational.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District reported the Grande Glaize Wastewater Treatment Plant in Valley Park was closed on Thursday, Dec. 31, when floodwaters breached a wall of sandbags around the plant. The facility was evacuated and was considered “unoperational” as water surrounded the plant.

The plant came back online on Jan. 4, but officials are saying it could take another week before full treatment is possible.

A second wastewater treatment plant in Fenton remains offline. 

The area’s water treatment plant was also closed earlier in the week due to high floodwaters. Tanker trucks delivered water to area customers, and residents were being asked to conserve water.

As of Monday, Jan. 4, the state’s average precipitation for the month was 6.7, which is 4 inches more than average.

Source: FOX 2, ABC

De Moines Sets Denitrification Expense Record

The Des Moines (Iowa) Water Works reported $1.5 million in operating costs to remove nitrates from drinking water for 2015.

“The increase in river nitrate levels is attributable to upstream agricultural land uses,” the Water Works said, “with the largest contribution made by application of fertilizer to row crops, intensified by unregulated discharge of nitrates into rivers through artificial subsurface drainage systems.”

According to a report from KCCI in Des Moines, officals have said they are planning for capital investments of $80 million for new denitrificaion technology.

Des Moines Water Works in currently involved in a lawsuit against three upstream counties, blaming those regions for the nitrate problem.

Source: Des Moiones Register, KCCI


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