News Briefs: Contamination Cover-Up? Actress Sues Philadelphia Over Lead Levels

In this week's water and wastewater news, a class-action lawsuit claims city officials covered up lead levels, the world's largest nutrient recovery facility opens in Chicago and the NOAA releases early-season algal reports.
News Briefs: Contamination Cover-Up? Actress Sues Philadelphia Over Lead Levels

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A class-action lawsuit, filed by Eleni Delopoulos, 37, and represented by national law firm Hagens Berman, claims the City of Philadelphia put thousands at risk by intentionally covering up lead levels in the city’s water.

The suit says the city has known about the high lead levels for years and yet failed to warn residents. It also claims the city performed inadequate tests that gave a “woefully inaccurate picture” of lead contamination.

The law firm representing the case is also working on a similar suit against the City of Chicago that alleges the city knowingly increased lead exposure to city residents while replacing water mains.

The Philadelphia lawsuit demands the city pay to replace all lead service lines and pay for a citywide medical monitoring program that would provide blood tests to detect the presence of lead.


World’s Largest Nutrient Recovery Facility Opens

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago — in partnership with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies and Black & Veatch — officially opened the world's largest nutrient recovery facility on May 25 at the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant in Cicero. The facility will recover phosphorus and nitrogen to create fertilizer, marketed as Crystal Green. The plant has a production capacity of 10,000 tons of Crystal Green per year.

The nutrient recovery facility will greatly reduce the nutrient effluent load to the Chicago/Calumet river system, which is upstream of the Mississippi River basin, and ultimately, the Gulf of Mexico.

“Having a solution to solve plant issues while addressing more global challenges affecting the nation’s watersheds, without economic burden, is progress for the environment, ratepayers and future generations,” says Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an Ostara board member.

The Stickney plant is designed to treat up to 1.44 billion gallons per day. By managing excess phosphorus, the utility not only protects the environment, but creates a revenue stream through the sales of the fertilizer.

Source: MWRD press release 

NOAA Releases Lake Erie Algal Bloom Projection

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its early-season algal projection for Lake Erie. Thanks in part to average precipitation, the season is expected to be less severe than in years past. On a scale of 1 to 10, the NOAA is projecting a bloom severity of 4 to 5, which is significantly lower than 2015. As of early June, the cumulative bioavailable phosphorus loads for the Maumee River were tracking lower than 2015. Satellite imagery also showed a normal (harmless) spring algal bloom.

Source: NOAA


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