News Briefs: Riverbanks Are Red After Sonoma County Winery Spill

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a cyberattack takes phone and online payment systems offline for 500,000 water customers in South Carolina

An estimated 97,000 gallons of wine spilled out of a blending tank at the Rodney Strong Winery in Sonoma County, California. A mechanical failure caused the incident, which saw around 45,000 gallons of wine spill into the nearby Reiman Creek and another 45,000 gallons into a treatment pond.

Cleanup efforts are ongoing, but Christopher O’Gorman, Rodney Strong communications director, says there have been zero effects recorded on the wildlife and ecosystem after 50 volunteers from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife monitored the creek and the Russian River. “We were relieved to hear that.”

O’Gorman also says the company diverted around 50% of the wine from waterways by capturing it with pumps, drainpipes and vineyard ponds. No estimate was given as to the value of the wine that was lost.

“The efforts that Rodney Strong and the emergency crews did were commendable,” Russian Riverkeeper Executive Director Don McEnhill tells the Wine Spectator. “They called it in right away. Moving forward there should be some opportunities to look back and introduce other mitigation tools, all in an effort to make sure if another spill occurs, the outcome will be better.”

Weeklong Payment System Outage Reported After Cyberattack

A cyberattack recently took phone and online payment systems offline at Greenville (South Carolina) Water. The outage affected 500,000 customers and lasted nearly a week, according to officials.

Greenville Water’s CEO, David Bereskin, tells reporters with the Greenville News he’s fairly certain the utility’s confidential data wasn’t compromised in the attack.

“We have been preparing for potential attacks for years and put specific protections in place to ensure the safety of our data and the integrity of our water.”

In a statement, the utility says the incident didn’t impact the safety and delivery of water.

House Committees Release $750 Billion Infrastructure Investment Plan

The chairs of three U.S. House of Representatives committees released a framework for a five-year, $760 billion investment in infrastructure that would address some of the country’s most urgent infrastructure needs, from addressing the massive maintenance backlog, to designing safer streets, and putting the U.S. on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector and increasing resiliency.

The framework put forth by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio of Oregon,

Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone of New Jersey, and Ways and Means

Committee Chair Richard Neal of Massachusetts would bolster the federal role in order to help communities around the country undertake transformative projects that are smarter, safer and made to last.

Among other things, the framework outlines major investments, including those in water and wastewater infrastructure, highways, rail, and transit systems, airports, ports and harbors, brownfields and broadband.

“Our country has changed dramatically since the 1950s, yet people and goods are now literally stuck trying to move on transportation networks first developed nearly 70 years ago. It’s past time for transformational investments to make our infrastructure smarter, safer and resilient to climate change, or else we will keep throwing money at an antiquated system that is only holding us and our economy back,” DeFazio says in a press release. 


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