News Briefs: Water Treatment Plant Worker Finds Rare Species of Spider

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a mainstream tech writer for CNET gives a glowing review to beer made from recycled wastewater

A rare species of spider called Crossopriza lyoni was recently found at Missouri American Water’s central water treatment plant in Chesterfield on the banks of the Missouri River. It is only the second documented location of the spider in the St. Louis area, after the Missouri Botanical Garden.

“The water treatment plant provides a humid, stable environment in which this species, only recently found in Missouri, can thrive,” says David Bruns of the Missouri Department of Conservation. “Although this introduced species is native to Asia, it is apparently serving a role to biologically control unwanted insect pests within the water treatment facility.”

Plant worker Hannah Korte-Runge discovered the spider’s presence. “These spiders build large, rather ugly webs and we see them all over the place at the plant,” Korte-Runge says. “The Missouri American Water Green Team recently welcomed Jean Ponzi of the Missouri Botanical Garden for a presentation, and she turned us on to the iNaturalist app. Since then, I’ve been documenting some of the plants and insects I come across at the plant and uploading them to the app, and it turns out this particular spider is rare in St. Louis outside our grounds.”

Tampa Approves $2.9 Billion Sewer/Water Infrastructure Plan

The Tampa (Florida) City Council has voted 6-1 to approve a huge $2.9 billion utility rate increase to pay for large-scale sewer and water infrastructure improvements in the city.

City officials say the decision will double residential sewer/water utility bills to around $80 on average by 2028.

Mayor Jane Castor proposed the plan and her chief of staff says the city won’t regret the expenditure, according to Tampa Bay Times. “I think it’s time to celebrate what’s underground as much as we celebrate what’s above ground,” says Chief of Staff John Bennett. “We need to move the bar and we’re going to work together to move it.”

Officials from the city’s public works department say the city currently spends $20 million yearly addressing collapses and broken pipes — some sinkholes were large enough to swallow vehicles.

Castor previously helped get council approval for her plan by scrapping a $300 million reused water proposal that was included in the original plan.

Canadian Municipality Coalition Says Federal Wastewater Regulations Timeline Isn't Realistic

Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) — an organization for a united approach on issues affecting local governance for 276 incorporated municipalities within the two provinces — held an emergency meeting recently to discuss concerns related to federal wastewater regulations in Canada.

The broad takeaway from the meeting is that leaders are saying municipalities aren’t going to be able to meet the new standards. Tony Keats, president of MNL, tells CBC Radio that they can’t meet the timelines. “It’s very crucial that we sit down with all the officials, especially the ones making the decisions, and make them aware of where we're to and why we can’t get there and why we need to get there.”

The regulations — which require cities to upgrade to secondary treatment systems — took effect in 2012, but it allowed for municipalities to apply for extensions. However, most didn’t apply for extensions and now have until 2020 to upgrade.

Buchans Mayor Derm Corbett made headlines for saying at the meeting that progress isn’t possible while the federal government treats municipal leaders and staff like common criminals.

Mainstream Tech Writer Gives Wastewater Beer Glowing Review

A writer for CNET – a well-known news site for exploring popular tech, culture and science – recently tried Xylem’s Reuse Brew beer made from recycled water, giving it a rave review.

While the author isn’t shy about his initial fears surrounding the idea of direct potable reuse for water (accompanied by the familiar poop jokes), it’s great to read a mainstream voice promoting these kinds of wastewater treatment innovations. After the author’s initial tasting and reaction, the article goes into an impressive amount of detail about the problem of water scarcity, the existing DPR technology available, and the predominant hurdle this kind of advanced treatment faces: misconceptions from the general public.

“Drinking beer made from recycled water in general will be easier for me as I've had it now and I can trust it enough to distance myself from the source,” writes Andrew Gebhart. “I’d have no problem drinking another glass of Reuse Brew. That trust is key. Xylem is engaged in an important process that could be a necessary part of keeping future cities supplied with plentiful drinking water. Thankfully, at the forefront of this experiment, the water is clean and the beer tastes great.”

Read the article here on CNET.


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