News Briefs: Severely Flood-Damaged Plant Offline Until Spring

In this week's water and wastewater news, untreated sewage pours into Meramec River, the U.S. House passes a bill in reaction to Flint and Thames Water gets ready to install Europe's largest floating solar array.
News Briefs: Severely Flood-Damaged Plant Offline Until Spring

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Officials from the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District confirmed a flood-damaged wastewater treatment plant in Fenton, Missouri, will remain offline until at least April. Until then, 5 million gallons per day of untreated waste will continue to flow into the Meramec River.

The plant was severely damaged during heavy rain events in December.

“Just a tremendous amount of water came into the treatment plant at one time and flooded out the treatment plant from the inside,” says Lance LeComb, a spokesman for the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District, in a CBS St. Louis report. “Six feet of water essentially destroyed all the electronic systems, the mechanical systems.”

The plant, which treats 5 mgd, could begin partial treatment as early as March. The flooding caused about $10 million in damage to the Fenton plant. MSD expects insurance to pay for about $9.5 million of that expense. A larger plant in Valley Park also flooded, but that facility was able to come back online in Jan. 15.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CBS St. Louis

U.S. House Passes Lead Contamination Bill

The U.S House of Representatives has passed the Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act, which requires the Environmental Protection Agency to act quickly and efficiently when lead is detected in drinking water. The bill, which was introduced by Michigan representatives Dan Kildee and Fred Upton, passed the House with a vote of 416-2.

The bill is in reaction to the water-quality crisis in Flint, Michigan, which has caused lead poisoning throughout the city. Under the bill, the EPA would need to create a strategic plan to improve information sharing between water utilities, states, the EPA and drinking water customers when high lead levels are detected.

Source: Reuters, CBS

Installation Begins on Europe’s Largest Floating Solar Array

Thames Water in London has started installing a 23,000-panel solar array, which is expected to generate 5.8 million kilowatt hours in its first year. The energy will be used to power the nearby water treatment plant.

“Becoming a more sustainable business is integral to our long-term strategy and this innovative new project brings us one step closer to achieving our goal,” says Angus Berry, Thames Waters’ energy manager. “This is the right thing for our customers, the right thing for our stakeholders and most importantly, the right thing for the environment.”

The array will cover about 10 percent of the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir. Thames Water has partnered with Ennoviga Solar and Lightsource Renewable Energy for the project.

Source: Thames Water press release

Hawkins Dropped From Chemical Maker Antitrust Lawsuit

Hawkins, Inc. is no longer a defendant in a price-fixing lawsuit filed by several Minnesota pubic agencies. The lawsuit stated that several chemical makers had conspired for more than a decade to inflate the price of alum.

“The lawsuits erroneously alleged that Hawkins manufacturers alum even though we are only a distributor,” the company stated in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. “Accordingly, after working with the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the various lawsuits, we were dismissed as a defendant in each of the lawsuits in February.”

Source: Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal



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