News Briefs: Workers Escape Uninjured After WWTP Explosion in Ontario

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is penalized after admitting it illegally dumped sludge for seven years

Two workers escaped uninjured after a wastewater treatment plant explosion in Hamilton, Ontario, that caused an estimated $75,000 in damages.

A deputy fire chief tells CBC News that a dust explosion happened within a process building, and that firefighters saw smoke in the building when they arrived.

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the incident.

Contractor Banned from Municipal Projects After Botched Repairs in California

An engineering and contracting company in Pismo Beach, California, has been banned from working on city projects for the next five years due to a botched lift station project that lost the city $323,000.

The project was initiated in 2018 and included maintenance work on six lift stations along with collections system repairs. But the city claims there were numerous mistakes, and the project was delayed 69 days.

“This is actually a very rare thing for a City Council to do and a very rare item,” City Manager Jim Lewis said at a recent council meeting, the New Times reports. “And it was certainly with a heavy heart and a heavy frame of mind that I added this to your agenda. But it really has to do with public safety and the integrity of our projects.”

PWSA Penalized for Illegal Sludge Dumping

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that sludge collected during water treatment processes at the Aspinwall treatment facility owned by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer was intentionally and illegally discharged into the Allegheny River for seven years.

A plea agreement announced by the U.S. Attorney’s office in the city outlines the illegal dumping charge and levies a $500,000 fine on PWSA. It also prohibits PWSA from raising utility rates to pay for the fine.

PWSA was placed on probation for three years and the $500,000 fine will be used to establish a fund and compliance program that will be subject to audit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice.


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