News Briefs: Neighbors Learn Water Bills Were Swapped for 20 Years

In this week's water and wastewater news, two homeowners in San Diego find out they've paid each other's water bills for 20 years; and wastewater employees in Wisconsin spend Christmas Eve in the cold after blower a malfunctions
News Briefs: Neighbors Learn Water Bills Were Swapped for 20 Years

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A pair of homeowners in Normal Heights, California, recently discovered their water bills had been swapped for more than 20 years.

Homeowner Tim McMillan did everything he could to try to reduce his monthly water bill, which was regularly over $300 per month. He called the city’s public utilities department more than a dozen times asking why the bill was so high, but was told to call a plumber or stop using so much water. McMillan even let the grass on his lawn die at one point to reduce the bill.

After getting a $600 water bill, he called one last time and the city sent an inspector, who discovered the city had switched which meter was connected to which house.

The city then credited McMillan $2,673 of the estimated $9,000 he overpaid, and attempted to draw three years’ worth of water bills out of his neighbor’s checking account for underpayment.

Source: NBC San Diego

Wisconsin Wastewater Employees Spend Christmas Eve in the Cold After Blower Malfunction

A number of employees from the Holmen (Wisconsin) Public Works Department spent Christmas Eve working outside in the cold to fix a mechanical problem at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

One of the blowers had shut down, according to Public Works Director Dean Olson, who reported the incident to the public works committee in early January.

“The blowers provide the needed air that is infused into the fluid wastewater to promote the treatment process,” Olson told the committee. “The problem we had was the fact that a belt on the blower broke that stopped the air from entering the tank, thus stopping the circulation of the fluid, resulting in an ice cap forming on the top of the wastewater due to the cold temperatures.”

Source: LaCrosse Tribune

State Questions Flint's Ability to Manage Water System

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently joined the federal government in expressing concerns over the city of Flint’s capacity to manage its water system.

The DEQ’s Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division director, Eric Oswald, says he has concerns about Flint’s “long-term, technical, managerial and financial capacity” to operate.

“The city faces numerous challenges in staffing its limited water treatment plant,” he told the EPA in a letter, according to “As you know, the aging nature of their infrastructure, along with a general negative reputation, make it even more difficult to attract qualified candidates to Flint,” he wrote.


Workers Evacuate Fort Lauderdale Water Plant After Acid Spill

Some workers had to evacuate a water treatment plant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after several gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled in the facility.

Hazmat crews managed to contain the spill and no one was hurt in the incident.

The treatment plant’s operation continued as normal.

Source: Local 10 News


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