News Briefs: New York Creek Still Running Black After September Wastewater Spill

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, the Minnesota House of Representatives passes a $1.9 billion infrastructure package that could create thousands of jobs

City officials are working to fix a problem with Oneida, New York’s wastewater treatment plant, as a local creek has been black since a spill was reported in September.

Residents have gathered to form the Oneida Creek Coalition in an effort to resolve the issue, according to an online news article at

One of the residents quoted in the article says a similar spill happened around 25 years ago. “It turned the creek septic, black,” he says. “There was a complete absence of life in the creek. It took a couple years to come back and I’m afraid that’s where it’s headed now.”

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation says the incident is due to a problem with industrial wastewater, and adds that the plant was operating at reduced treatment capacity.

Minnesota House Passes $1.9 Billion Infrastructure Package

Minneapolis’ Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota House of Representatives has given the OK to a $1.9 billion public works infrastructure package that includes funding for water infrastructure.

The package is expected to create thousands of jobs and provide economic stimulus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal still needs Senate approval, but it’s expected to pass in some form before moving on to Gov. Tim Walz.

“The most important reason to pass this bill is the jobs that the bonding portion of the bill creates. But every portion of this bill is essential to economic recovery in COVID-19,” Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman tells the Star Tribune.

Designees Announced for President Trump's Water Subcabinet

The U.S. EPA and its federal partners wrapped up a week focused on federal coordination on water issues by announcing designees for the Water Subcabinet, established by President Trump’s Executive Order on “Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure.” 

The Water Subcabinet designees will be responsible for implementing the strategic direction and specific actions initiated under Executive Order to improve federal water infrastructure and prioritize access to essential water supplies for Americans.

As stated in the Executive Order, the Water Subcabinet is chaired by the Secretary of the Interior and the administrator of the EPA. The designees to the newly formed Water Subcabinet are:

  • Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary of Water and Science Dr. Tim Petty.
  • EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey
  • Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James
  • U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel R. Simmons
  • Deputy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Rear Admiral Gallaudet


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