News Briefs: Hurricane Florence Tests the Carolinas' Sewer/Water Infrastructure

In this week's water and wastewater news, Hurricane Florence is causing problems for sewer systems and treatment plants in the Carolinas

Numerous sewer systems and treatment plants have been overwhelmed in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, as the storm tested the infrastructure of the Carolinas.

Reggie Cheatham, EPA’s director of emergency management, told reporters in a teleconference that the agency had seen releases of wastewater from manholes and from overflowing sewer systems, adding that a wastewater plant in Onslow County experienced a catastrophic failure.

“They basically had to deal with the storm surge, loss of power, and obviously shut down pumps and the system completely depressurized and they haven’t been able to bring that back up,” he said, according to the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, the city of Wilmington’s wastewater system released 5.25 million gallons of wastewater into the Cape Fear River. Access to the outside world was cut off for some time in Wilmington due to flooding, and the water treatment plant was at risk of shutting down due to lack of fuel. A route was opened on Monday.

Regulators Investigating Wisconsin Rapids for Unapproved Plant Upgrades

Wisconsin regulators are looking into the city of Wisconsin Rapids after it spent $1.26 million upgrading a water treatment facility without approval in 2014.

Since the project costed more than 25 percent of the utility’s annual operating revenue, it required regulatory approval. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission discovered that fact recently and opened an investigation.

If the city is in violation, the commission could reject its next rate change request, write a letter of reprimand or refer the case to the Attorney General.

Florida's Governor Booed Out of Restaurant Due to Ongoing Red Tide Algae Problems

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was booed out of a restaurant recently by protesters angry about the state’s red tide algae problems.

The state is suffering from an epidemic of toxic red algae that protesters are blaming on global warming and increased nutrient levels from leaking onsite wastewater systems.

Gov. Scott signed a law repealing mandatory septic tank inspections in 2012.


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