News Briefs: Teens Arrested for Infiltrating Water Storage Tank

In this week's water and wastewater news, three teens are arrested for allegedly breaking into Troy, Indiana's water storage tank; and a Washington operator loses his license for purported data falsification
News Briefs: Teens Arrested for Infiltrating Water Storage Tank

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Three teenagers in Troy, Indiana, were arrested after being accused of breaking into the town’s water storage tank.

Utility employees found the doors of the reservoir had been broken into, and a community building nearby also had been vandalized.

Troy Utilities issued a “do not consume” order and will continue testing the water before issuing a boil notice and ultimately saying it’s safe to drink. For now, the town is handing out bottled water to its customers.

Troy Utilities Operations Manager Bernard Linnie says the break-in will cost the town about $15,000. He speculated about why the teens broke into the tank.

“I don't know, you know, I guess they were just out doing some damage,” he says. “The way it looks to me, I think it was some teenagers doing some damage.”


Washington Operator Loses Certification After Data Falsification Claims

The former wastewater treatment manager for Ilwaco, Washington, has lost his certification to operate at a plant in the state and could face criminal charges.

State investigators say Warren Hazen was “grossly negligent” in managing the utility for about four years before the mayor fired him in 2015. The investigators recommended the maximum punishment of revoking his license.

Hazen and another employee (his son-in-law) allegedly failed to conduct the requisite testing and violated discharge permits between 2012 and 2015. One investigator told The Daily Astorian that the plant didn’t have enough ammonia solution to conduct tests, but continued reporting suspiciously consistent data to the state.

“All the numbers were either made up or invalid,” says the investigator.

Source: The Daily Astorian

Former City Worker Witnesses Subpar Operations in Rainier, Oregon

A former public works employee for the city of Rainier, Oregon, says he saw unprofessional operations at the city’s wastewater treatment plant during his time working for the city in 2013-’14.

The former worker, Justin Spencer, says the UV disinfection system never functioned while he was there, and that one of the probes going into the effluent was missing the whole time he was employed by the city.

He also alleges he saw an operator dump partially treated wastewater into the Columbia River without reporting it, adding that testing also was incomplete for those samples.

Spencer worked with biosolids at another facility and says he saw land applications of improperly treated biosolids, as well.

Due to complaints from Spencer and other current employees, an independent consultant and law enforcement personnel are investigating the city’s treatment plant.

Source: The Chronicle

New York to Invest $2.5 Billion in Water Infrastructure

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, which kicks off a $2.5 billion investment in water infrastructure throughout the state.

The investment includes more than $1.5 billion in grants for local governments; creates a $75 million septic system rebate program for homeowners and small businesses; provides $40 million to build sewer systems in Smithtown and Kings Park; and supports an expedited cleanup of Gabreski Air National Guard Base and an investigation of the Navy/Northrup Grumman Plume.

In addition to traditional infrastructure, funds are also available for green infrastructure, with $110 million dedicated for source water protection initiatives, including land acquisition.

Source: New York State


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