News Briefs: Motor Failure Starts Fire in Chemicals Building at Water Treatment Facility

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a North Carolina town will test its wastewater for opioid use; and a company selling bottled water is accused of illegally disposing of hazardous waste

The failure of an electric motor at a water treatment plant in Elgin, Illinois, started a fire in a building that houses chemicals near a water inlet area.

The fire initiated the activation of a fire-suppression system and set off an alarm, and the two water treatment employees on hand were able to escape the building.

By the time firefighters arrived, the blaze had been extinguished and the chemicals in the building didn’t ignite. Water treatment operations weren’t affected, according to officials.

The town of Cary, North Carolina, is planning to test wastewater to estimate the town’s level of opioid use as part of a new 12-week project.

Town officials are working with a firm called Biobot Analytics to test the wastewater samples, which will be drawn by town employees from 10 sampling locations.

Cary saw a 40 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths in 2017, and that fact served as the impetus for the new project.

A company selling Crystal Geyser bottled water based out of California is charged with illegal disposal of wastewater contaminated with arsenic, according to federal prosecutors.

The allegations say that the company, along with two other companies, didn’t mention the toxic material they had filtered from well water and had it shipped to a facility not equipped to treat hazardous waste.

With recent rainstorms in New York, more than 16 million gallons of wastewater overflows were reported.

This story is nothing new, but it highlights a need for updated infrastructure nationwide, as those discharges went straight into local creeks, rivers and lakes throughout western New York.

An investigative report by the 2 On Your Side news team showed last year that the city of Buffalo experiences about 800 discharges each year. The Niagara Falls Water Board also talked about the recent overflows in a recent conference announcing improvements to its wastewater treatment facility.


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