News Briefs: Flint Replaces First Lead Pipe

In this week's water and wastewater news, Flint's first copper pipe goes in the ground, flushables get the thumbs-down in Minnesota, and an Indiana school reacts to high lead levels.
News Briefs: Flint Replaces First Lead Pipe

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With a bit of pomp and circumstance, the City of Flint, Michigan, began the process of replacing its lead service lines. The first new copper service line went into the ground on Friday, March 4, at the home of Barry Richardson II and his fiancée, Ashley Haddock. The couple is expecting a baby this month.

The family was chosen as part of Mayor Karen Weaver’s $55 million Fast Start program, which gives pipe-replacement priority to high-risk households. Weaver has asked Gov. Rick Snyder to fast-track $25 million for the first phase of the program. Friday’s pipe replacement was part of a promise to replace 30 pipes in 30 days.

“This is a project that will help the entire city,” Weaver said in The Detroit News. “It will help the whole city — everyone that lives in Flint, and even those who live outside of Flint that got Flint water. All deserve clean, quality water, so that is what we’re working on.”

The National Guard and engineers from the City of Lansing were also on hand to assist with the symbolic first replacement. According to a study done by a University of Michigan professor, Flint has about 8,000 lead service lines. The Wall Street Journal reported that of those, the city only knows the location of 4,376 pipes thanks to spotty records.

Source: Detroit News, Gizmodo

Pollution Control Agency Proposes Flushables Ban

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has proposed a ban on labeling any disposable products sold in the state as “flushable,” “septic safe” or “sewer safe.” The proposal also includes a requirement that those disposable products include a “do not flush” message on the packaging.

The League of Minnesota Cities is asking the state Legislature to take action on the proposal this session.

“These wipes collect in pipes and valves and in pumps, and essentially turn into a concrete-hard substance that requires that the entire system be torn apart,” said Craig Johnson, lobbyist for the League, in an SCTimes article. “It’s very expensive and very avoidable.”

Source: SCTimes

Indiana Schools Resume Using Tap Water After Lead Scare

The Eastern Howard School Corp. near Kokoma, Indiana, has resumed its use of tap water after addressing high lead levels in its sinks and drinking fountains. Levels as high as 150 ppb — at the school’s infrequently used performing arts center — were detected during testing. The federal action level is 15 ppb for lead.

The school district consulted with state officials and the local water utility to form an action plan. In a WHIO article, Eastern Howard School Corp’s superintendent, Dr. Tracy Caddell, stated the school would be flushing the district lines. Thereafter, maintenance staff would flush the district’s water service lines each morning. Caddell also said filtration devices would be installed at all of the district’s fountains, starting with those connected to the oldest pipes.

The Indiana State Department of Health also approved a corrosion control plan for Greentown Municipal Water, which services the district. The utility will install a pumping system to send phosphates into the water. That plan was initiated after routine testing showed higher-than-acceptable levels of lead at some Greentown homes last year.

Source: WHIO

Louisville Water Foundation Raises Funds for Flint Water Crisis

The Louisville Water Foundation announced a $31,000 donation to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint’s Child Health and Development Fund, which was created in January to assist children and families affected by Flint’s water-quality crisis. The Louisville Water Foundation — along with WaterStep, the Metropolitan Sewer District and the City of Louisville — spearheaded a fundraising effort that focused on collecting shoes and cash contributions.

WaterStep typically sells donated shoes to an exporter, using the proceeds to provide safe drinking water systems around the world. In February, the organization dedicated its proceeds to the Flint Love campaign. Monetary donations came from the Louisville Water Foundation, MSD and many other partners.

Source: Louisville Water Foundation press release


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