News Briefs: Two Operators Lose Licenses for Failure to Report Bacteria

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, damage from a fire at a Georgia WWTP will cost $414,000 to repair; and the U.S. EPA announces $1.9 million in research funding for lead detection and control strategies

Two water treatment operators in Siskiyou County, California, lost their operators’ licenses for failure to report bacteria in Dunsmuir and McCloud water systems. The two men, Ronald Larue and Wayne Grigsby, pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count apiece of making false statements.

The men weren’t sentenced to jail time or subjected to fines, but they were banned from operating public drinking water systems in the state of California.

“There was a clear breach of public trust in this case where the public was recklessly exposed to bacteria because these two violated their public health obligation as license holders,” an assistant deputy director for the state water board’s Division of Drinking Water states in a news release.

Source: Record Searchlight

Cost of Fire at Georgia WWTP Estimated at $414,000

Damage from the Feb. 6 fire at the James Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is being investigated and repaired after the Forsyth County (Georgia) Board gave approval for the move.

The total cost for consultation, removal and disposal of blowers, cleanup and restoration, new blowers and repairs to the centrifuge panel are estimated at $414,149.

“Additional costs are still unknown, such as cost for installation of blowers, structural assessment service, electrical assessment services and general repairs to the building,” Forsyth spokesman Russell Brown tells AJC News.

Source: AJC News

EPA Announces $1.9 Million in Funding for Lead-Detection Research

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced $1,981,500 in funding to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia, to research strategies to detect and control lead exposure in drinking water.

“Lead exposure is one of the greatest environmental threats we face as a country, and it’s especially dangerous for our children,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This research will move us one step closer to advancing our work to eradicate lead in drinking water.”

Virginia Tech will use this funding to create a consumer-based framework to detect and control lead in drinking water. Researchers will work collaboratively with the public, encouraging citizen scientists to participate in the research. By involving consumers directly in research, this community science project is designed to increase public awareness of lead in water and plumbing at a national scale. This research expands the capacity of the most vulnerable communities to actively participate in identifying risks and evaluating opportunities to mitigate those risks.

“Our team will establish one of the largest citizen science engineering projects in U.S. history to help individuals and communities deal with our shared responsibility for controlling exposure to lead in drinking water through a combination of low-cost sampling, outreach, direct collaboration and modeling,” says Principal Investigator on the Project Dr. Marc Edwards. “We will tap a growing crowd of consumers who want to learn how to better protect themselves from lead, and in the process, also create new knowledge to protect others. Whether from wells or municipalities, we all consume water, and we can collectively work to reduce health risks.”

Source: U.S. EPA

North Carolina Utility Lifts 'Do Not Drink' Order

The Cape Fear (North Carolina) Public Utility Authority lifted a “do not drink” alert hours after it was discovered there was too much fluoride in water released from the Richardson Nano Groundwater Treatment Plant.

Crews from the utility flushed the system, continued sampling and made progress while residents in the Wilmington area experienced some low-pressure and water outages. Some residents were asked to boil water before use.

Source: WWAY News


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