News Briefs: Appalachian Water System Hasn't Tested for Contaminants in Decades

In this week's water and wastewater news, an orphaned water system in Appalachian Kentucky leaves drinking water untested for decades; 10 former water employees in New Orleans are arrested for stealing $500,000 worth of brass fittings; a watchdog group in Australia has sued the makers of flushable wet wipes; and Canada's untreated wastewater problem grew to 54 billion gallons in 2015 despite new regulations.
News Briefs: Appalachian Water System Hasn't Tested for Contaminants in Decades

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An orphaned water system in the Appalachian region of Kentucky hasn’t tested for contaminants for decades, although it collected numerous violation notices from state environment officials.

That’s because no one is technically in charge of the Kettle Island Water System. It’s something they’re calling an “orphaned system.”

“There’s not much we could do because there’s no responsible party,” said Peter Goodmann to the Courier-Journal. He’s the director of water in Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet. “You’ve got to pick your battles. Nobody’s dying there and there doesn’t seem to be any public health effects.”

Kettle Island Water is the only orphaned system in Kentucky, although officials in nearby West Virginia say they have about 15 in their state.

Source: Courier-Journal

Former Water Employees Arrested for Theft of $500,000 in Brass Fittings

Ten former employees of New Orleans’ Sewerage and Water Board have been arrested for the alleged theft of more than $500,000 in brass fittings from the utility system.

The suspects sold them to a local scrap yard for pennies on the dollar in return value, making around $41,500 over the course of four years.

“I’m shocked and appalled by the brazenness of the crimes committed,” Sewerage and Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant said a news conference reported by NOLA.com. “I have zero tolerance for the theft of public property or any violation of the public trust.”

Source: NOLA.com

Legal Battle Against Flushable Wipes Underway

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced lawsuits against manufacturers of flushable wet wipes, citing they made false claims about the products breaking down in the sewer system.

The group filed separate lawsuits against Kimberly-Clark Australia and Pental Products in Australia’s federal court system.

Despite the claims that the wipes can be safely flushed down the toilet, they’re responsible for 80 percent of the sewer blockages in Hunter Water Corporations system, according to spokesperson Nick Kaiser.

Source: The Guardian

54 Billion Gallons of Untreated Wastewater Entered Canadian Rivers in 2015

The amount of untreated wastewater that spilled into Canada rivers last year increased to more than 54 billion gallons despite new regulations aimed at solving the issue, according to a report by CBC News.

The new rules require municipalities to use secondary treatment processes, but those municipalities have until at least 2020 to comply.

While the federal government has committed to spending $2 billion on wastewater infrastructure upgrades, its expected to take upwards of $18 billion to get the job done.

Source: CBC News



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