News Briefs: Operator's Accidental Keystroke Leaves 80,000 Without Water

In this week's water and wastewater news, an operator in Orange County makes a computer error that pumps excess fluoride into the water system; a treatment plant team is suspended for negligence; and customers in Louisiana find pink water coming from their taps.
News Briefs: Operator's Accidental Keystroke Leaves 80,000 Without Water

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An accidental keystroke from a plant operator left around 80,000 Orange County residents without water for more than 24 hours.

According to a report from CH2M, the errant keystroke sent a command to a fluoride feed pump, increasing its chemical feed rate to 80 percent instead of the normal 8-12 percent. When the operator tried to correct the error, the pump didn’t respond to the new command.

The pump operated at 80 percent for more than three hours resulting in the use of an emergency interconnect from a neighboring city. However, the next morning, the emergency water main broke and a Do Not Drink/Do Not Use order was subsequently issued.

Source: WCHL

Water Crew Being Investigated for Negligent Incident

A water treatment plant crew has been suspended with pay pending further investigation after their lack of response to an issue led to water-pressure problems for water customers in eastern Pittsburgh.

Bernie Lindstrom, executive director of Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, told CBS Pittsburgh that water in a clearwell went below its minimum level and operators should have taken action. He said the incident was due completely to operator error.

“I am severely, severely disappointed in the actions of the team at the water treatment plant,” Lindstrom told CBS Pittsburgh. “And I am going to take personal action to address the communication errors.”

Source: CBS Pittsburgh

Operator Flushes System After Customers Complain of Pink Water

Water customers in Lake Charles, Louisiana, got a surprise recently when they discovered pink water coming out of their faucets.

The Lake Charles Water Division superintendent checked for problems at the plant and didn’t find anything wrong, although he said there may have been an overfeed of potassium permanganate causing the pink water.

The utility flushed water in the area and monitored the plant’s effluent to ensure safe water for customers.

Source: KPLC

Tennessee City Accused of E. Coli Cover-Up

A former WWTP supervisor has filed a lawsuit against the city of Maryville, Tennessee, accusing personnel of shunning and firing him because he refused to help hide regulations violations.

The superintendent says the staff was trying to cover up the amount of E. coli being dumped into nearby waterways during heavy rains, according to The Daily Times.

While a report filed by an inspector acknowledges E. coli violations, it also states that the plant has an excellent history of compliance.

Source: The Daily Times


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