News Briefs: Baltimore Seeks Judicial Review of State's WWTP Takeover

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, Colorado is working with 47 wastewater facilities serving 60% of its population to monitor wastewater for COVID-19, and aims for statewide coverage

The City of Baltimore is asking for a judicial review of the State of Maryland’s recent takeover of the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The takeover occurred after the plant had experienced ongoing compliance issues.

The city argues that a recent order by Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles to cease illegal discharges within 48 hours was impossible to comply with, and it was noncompliance with that order which allowed the state to announce it would take control of the plant.

California Sites Reservoir Awarded $25 Million Additional Funding

The California Water Commission recently announced increased funding for Proposition 1 bond recipients, including $38 million for Sites Reservoir, bringing the total amount to $875 million in Proposition 1 funds for the stormwater reuse project.

Additional funds became available due to another project withdrawing from the program, and the CWC was able to increase the investment for all projects to partially account for inflation and, specifically for Sites, make up for previous funding shortages. As background, Sites Reservoir is eligible for Proposition 1 because of its significant public benefits, including a dedicated source of water for the environment.

“Sites Reservoir has some real momentum right now with the recent announcement of a WIFIA loan and now additional Proposal 1 funding,” says Fritz Durst, chairman of the Sites Project Authority. “We’re grateful the California Water Commission was able to give Sites Reservoir and all of the storage projects a funding boost and we look forward to delivering substantial benefits for California.”

Colorado Aims for Statewide Wastewater Surveillance

A recent story in NPR highlights that the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment is now working with 47 wastewater facilities serving 60% of its population to monitor wastewater for COVID-19. The agency’s goal is to make the effort statewide.

Currently, the state is compiling its data on a public dashboard and shares its numbers with the CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System.


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