News Briefs: 50 Firefighters Respond to Water Treatment Plant Blaze in Quebec

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a city in Nevada will drain its wastewater plant to eradicate an odor that has plagued the facility since an illegal dumping incident two years ago

A blaze that required 50 firefighters on scene at a water treatment plant in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, resulted in damages to offices and interrupted water operations briefly.

The fire started in the facility’s offices in the early morning hours, and destroyed the entire office wing along with a laboratory. The plant itself was intact after the smoke cleared.

While the fight for the plant was ongoing, though, plant operations were halted. Operators were still working through the afternoon getting the plant online again.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The city of Yerington, Nevada, finally plans to drain its wastewater treatment plant and eradicate an intense odor that has plagued the facility since illegal dumping disturbed its biological process in mid-2016.

During that summer, the city’s public works department found traces of methylene, chlorine and toluene — paint-stripping solvents — in its treatment ponds. Soon after that, people started to complain about odors.

“We believe the biological process was disturbed by illegal dumping,” Public Works Director Jay Flakus tells the Reno Gazette Journal. “It doesn’t take much to disrupt the biological life of the ponds.”

Flakus says one single instance of illegal dumping couldn’t have caused this level of imbalance, and suspects there were numerous chemical dumps into the city sewer.

Flakus tells the newspaper that cleaning the plant should have happened a year, or even two years, ago but working with the state caused some delays in the project.

City officials in Middletown, Connecticut, recently celebrated the installation of a 714-panel solar array at its water treatment facility.

The acting director of the city’s sewer and water department tells The Middletown Press that the array will help produce clean water using less electricity from the grid, stabilizing water rates over time. The arrays are expected to provide 85 percent of the plant’s electricity.

“This is an important project, especially now with people conserving more and more water, and the demand for water is trending downward,” the acting director told The Middletown Press. “Without this project, we would eventually need to raise rates.”

Orange County (Florida) Fire Rescue recently responded to a possible ammonia leak at the Cocoa Water Treatment Plant after receiving a call.

Treatment plant operators on site attempted to contain the leak, but were ordered to evacuate.

First responders found the plant had been evacuated and no one had been injured or exposed to ammonia. After that, hazmat crews confirmed an active leak was no longer taking place.


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