News Briefs: Austin Council Asks City Manager to Pay Back Customers for Boil-Water Incident

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, police in Jackson, Michigan, use GPS to track a city-owned truck stolen from its wastewater treatment plant

Following the February boil water notice in Austin, Texas, that made national headlines, the Austin City Council is asking its city manager to pay back Austin Water customers through rebates or infrastructure improvements.

The council passed a resolution asking for recommendations to mitigate the impacts customers experienced during the boil water incident. It proposes either sending a one-time rebate to all of the utility’s customers or investing more funding into infrastructure.

Police Use GPS to Track City-Owned Truck Stolen From WWTP

Police were easily able to track a city-owned pickup truck that had been stolen from a wastewater treatment facility in Jackson, Michigan, thanks to GPS.

While the staff was working, a suspect had entered the secured area of the plant to steal the truck, which was soon reported to the Blackman-Leoni Department of Public Safety.

US Water Alliance Announces Next Initiative

Mami Hara, CEO of US Water Alliance, recently released a statement announcing the next initiative of the organization.

With the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law last year, Hara says the US Water Alliance sees a unique and necessary confluence of the topics of infrastructure and equity, which is why it's announcing that its next initiative will be Equitable Infrastructure. 

“The funding for water in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law won’t be enough to fund all the capital needs in communities across the country, but it can help us find better ways to solve those problems than we have used in the past — ways that can help sustain all of us through an increasingly precarious future,” says Hara.

“The water funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law gives us the opportunity to model investment in infrastructure that equitably and sustainably supports community health and wealth. Through our new Equitable Infrastructure initiative, we will be sharing principles and guidebooks for equitable infrastructure investment, convening webinars about how to access and best administer State Revolving Funds, expanding our Water Equity Network so many communities can work together and exchange knowledge with peers in other communities, hosting related dialogues at our One Water Summit this September in Milwaukee, and so much more. To kick off this initiative, part one of our four-part Principles for Equitable Infrastructure Implementation series is available online here.”

EPA Announces New Science Advisory Board Process

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the implementation of a new process by which the Science Advisory Board will assess the science that informs decisions regarding agency-proposed rules. The new process will restore opportunities for peer review and strengthen the independence of the board. The improved process builds on the principle that early engagement with the Science Advisory Board is a priority and will best enable EPA to benefit from the expert advice received from the board. 

This new Science Supporting EPA Decisions process strengthens peer review at EPA by:

  • Restoring the SAB’s role by having structured opportunities to conduct peer review of critical scientific and technical actions developed by EPA;
  • Strengthening the independence of the SAB’s role by scoping and identifying the peer review need for EPA decisions;
  • Ensuring EPA considers and develops peer reviewed science early in their rule-making development process; and
  • Restoring public faith in the EPA by ensuring the use of peer reviewed science to inform decision-making.


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