News Briefs: Public Gets Access to Potable Recycled Wastewater

In this week's water and wastewater news, Californians have access to bottled samples of potable recycled wastewater thanks to a statewide tour; and a Pennsylvania judge sentences a water meter hacker to prison.
News Briefs: Public Gets Access to Potable Recycled Wastewater

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Direct potable reuse of wastewater will be getting more attention soon in California, as a team of water districts is embarking on a statewide tour to hand out bottled samples of purified wastewater to the public.

This marks the first time in the western world that the public will have access to such a product. Under a new state law, agencies like the Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District are allowed to bottle recycled wastewater and hand it out for educational purposes.

The districts plan on using a stand with picture boards and brochures for their tour of colleges and festivals throughout the state.

Source: The Orange County Breeze

Water Meter Hacker Sentenced to Prison

A judge in Pennsylvania sentenced Adam Flanagan of Bala Cynwyd to one year and one day in prison for hacking into water utilities throughout the east coast in 2014.

Flanagan had worked as an engineer with a company that produces smart water, electric and gas meters. After getting fired in the fall of 2013, Flanagan used his company access to access meters at five cities on the east coast, shutting down their ability to communicate with the utilities.

When he was arrested, Flanagan faced a maximum sentence of 90 years in prison and a $3 milion fine.

Source: Bleeping Computer

'Flushable' Wipes Are Costly Problem for Laredo

Wet wipes and other so-called “flushable” items are causing problems for the Laredo (Texas) Utilities Department, which could cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix.

The department is launching a campaign called “Toilets Are Not Trashcans” to try and educate the public about the consequences of flushing wipes into the wastewater system.

“We have about 70 pumping stations in the city, but every day, we get reports of drains that are frequently clogged by wet wipes,” Ángél León, water collection superintendent, told LMT Online.

Source: LMT Online

Michigan Officials Face Manslaughter Charges Over Flint

Five officials in Michigan are facing manslaughter charges over deaths and illnesses that took place during the Flint water crisis.

Charges were filed by state Attorney General Bill Schuette against Michigan’s Department of Health director Nick Lyon, former public works director Howard Croft, former emergency manager Darnell Earley, former top drinking water official Liane Shekter-Smith, and Department of Environmental Quality water supervisor Stephen Busch.

“We are confident that the charges that we have filed will be upheld in the courts,” Schuette said at a news conference.

A total of 15 people have been charged with 51 counts related to the Flint water crisis.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Missoula Buys Water Utility, Making It Public

After arguing its case in 2015 at the state’s Supreme Court, the city of Missoula, Montana, has finally purchased Mountain Water Co., Missoula’s water utility.

The city’s argument was that public ownership is more necessary than private ownership, which was good enough to win the right to force a purchase of the company.

The company was renamed to Missoula Water Company, and it’s now shared in ownership by the 70,000 citizens of the city, just like every other city and town water system in Montana.

Source: The Missoulian


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