News Briefs: California Finds Widespread PFAS Contamination in Wells

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, check out a video of what people are calling the Sistine Chapel of Sewage in London, England

Recent news out of California is serving as another part of a growing concern nationwide surrounding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as the state recently learned nearly 300 drinking water wells and other water sources have traces of the chemicals.

The state tested more than 600 wells this year and found pockets of contamination in 86 water systems serving approximately 9 million Californians.

“This has the potential of being an enormously costly issue both on the health side as well as on the mitigation and regulatory side,” Kurt Schwabe, an environmental policy professor at UC Riverside, tells Los Angeles Times. “It’s going to be one of the defining issues in California, environmentally, for decades.”

EPA Announces $15 Million in Funding for Training in Rural Areas

In other news, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the availability of $15 million in funding for technical assistance and training providers to improve the water quality of small and private water systems that are often located in rural communities across the United States.

“These grants will help ensure that smaller water systems have the knowledge, training and technical assistance needed so they can continue to provide clean drinking water and safeguard public health,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Funding will be used by nonprofit organizations to provide small public drinking water and wastewater systems with training and technical assistance to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act, improve operational performance and help inform private drinking water well owners about protecting their drinking water supply. Small water systems often face unique financial and operational challenges including aging infrastructure, workforce shortages, increasing costs and declining rate bases.

Indiana Finance Authority Receives Largest WIFIA Distribution to Date

In the largest single Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) disbursement to date, the Indiana Finance Authority will receive a $436 million loan which will in turn allow it to lend to an additional 23 water/wastewater infrastructure projects.

Drinking water projects will include efforts to improve water treatment plants, storage tanks, distribution system components, wells and pump stations as well as to construct resiliency features and implement water conservation measures.

Wastewater projects will include efforts to improve and increase capacity of treatment plants and construction of tunnels to capture combined sewer overflows.

See the Sistine Chapel of Sewage

Check out this video of what people are calling the Sistine Chapel of Sewage. It’s the Crossness Pumping Station in East London, England, and it has drawn visitors from around the world to see its elaborate ironwork and columns.

It was opened in 1865 and was one of the first pumping stations of its kind in the world. It was built in the Romanesque style and was created to combat cholera outbreaks in the city.


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