News Briefs: Former WWTP Superintendent Pleads Guilty to Clean Water Act Violation

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, Rep. Elissa Slotkin introduces a bill to require public water systems to test for PFAS

Gary Hallinan — the former superintendent of the Oswego (New York) Wastewater Treatment Plant — has pleaded guilty in federal court for violating the Clean Water Act by illegally discharging wastewater into Lake Ontario at least three times.

According to authorities, the plant’s centrifuge broke at the end of 2014, but over the next five months Hallinan failed to properly treat wastewater and didn’t report the broken centrifuge to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Oswego’s mayor, Billy Barlow, released a statement saying it’s “extremely disappointing” that such negligence happened at the facility, according to Oswego County News Now.

Pennsylvania to Sample Public Water Systems for PFAS

Officials across Pennsylvania will soon begin sampling drinking water to find out whether per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination is a major problem in the state.

The state’s Department of Environmental protection announced the effort, which was slated to begin at the end of May. State officials have found 493 public water systems close enough to PFAS sources to have potential contamination issues.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin Introduces Bill to Require PFAS Testing

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan has introduced the PFAS Monitoring Act — a bill that would require public water systems to test for at least 30 PFAS, and would require the full range of PFAS to be tested after two years.

Slotkin introduced the bill during Infrastructure Week. Last week, a new report showed that Michigan has the highest number of PFAS-contaminated sites in the country.

“In Michigan, environmental security is homeland security. Particularly when it comes to water infrastructure, this is about the safety of our kids and our way of life, and we need to start treating it that way,” says Slotkin. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce a bill to require testing for PFAS in our drinking water — something that is currently not required by the EPA — so that towns like mine know if their water is safe to drink.”

Grad Student Designs Pen Made of Biosolids

A graduate student in Clinton Hill, New York, recently designed and created a pen with body and ink made out of biosolids as part of Pratt Institute’s annual student design show.

The student, Garrett Benisch, says he was inspired by a California company that makes materials out of biosolids.

“We're so comfortable with pens even though they seem so invasive,” Benisch tells “If you can get someone to be comfortable with a pen made out of something like biosolids, then it’s sort of a gateway into getting people comfortable with that material.”

Hazmat Team Evacuates Neighborhood After Treatment Plant Chlorine Leak

A hazmat team recently closed off a neighborhood in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, after a chlorine leak was reported at a water treatment plant.

Residents in the vicinity in Upper Saucon Township had to evacuate as a precaution, but authorities reported now threat to public safety occurred as a result of the leak.


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