News Briefs: Suspected Drowning at Plant Attributed to Heart Attack

In this week's water and wastewater news, a worker dies at a Baton Rouge wastewater plant, heavy rains bring more challenges to Fort McMurray, and Ohio passes a new law aimed at lead contamination.
News Briefs: Suspected Drowning at Plant Attributed to Heart Attack

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Although first considered a drowning accident at a Baton Rouge (Louisiana) wastewater treatment plant, an autopsy revealed that 57-year-old plant worker Michael Preston died of a heart condition. Preston was found Saturday, June 11, in water at the plant, and was pronounced dead at the scene. According to a WBRZ report, the sheriff’s office confirmed Preston was driving a lawnmower when he fell into the water.

An autopsy later showed Preston’s death was caused by hypertensive and atherosclerotic heart disease.

Source: WBRZ 

First Fire, Now Rain: Fort McMurray Plant Takes a Beating

When a massive Canadian wildfire threatened the city water plant in Fort McMurray, Alberta, operators stayed behind to keep the utility functioning. The plant survived the disaster, thanks to those heroics.

But all is not well in Fort McMurray. Heavy rains, which were much needed before the fire, have flushed toxic ash from the burn area into the Athabasca River. To prevent contamination in the city’s water supply, the plant has stopped drawing water from the river and has switched to the city’s man-made holding ponds.

According to the Edmonton Journal, ash and sediment make it more difficult to detect bacteria and treat water. Guy Jette, a water treatment plant manager with the Regional Municipality in Wood Buffalo, says ecological problems could persist for months or even years.

The toxic plume is expected to move toward Fort Chipewyan in a week or two. That community will also stop drawing water from the river and switch to holding ponds.

Source: Edmonton Journal

Ohio Governor Signs Bill Aimed at Lead Contamination

Water operators in Ohio now have just two days to alert customers when high lead levels are found in the water supply. Gov. John Kasich has signed House Bill 512, which speeds up the process for customer notification, effectively overriding the federal law, which allows for a 30-day notification period.

The bill also shortens the time period for a system-wide educational program for water customers from 60 days to 30 days.

“This puts Ohio in the front,” says Kasich in a WFMJ report. “We are the leader in the country now in dealing with this problem.”

Bill 512 was drafted soon after the Sebring water crisis in which customers went for months without knowing about lead in the drinking water.

Source: WFMJ


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