News Briefs: Crews Rescue Texas Worker Trapped in Treatment Plant Pipe

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, Melbourne, Australia’s Western Treatment Plant is the focal point of a public art project aiming to challenge the stigma surrounding the city's wastewater system

News Briefs: Crews Rescue Texas Worker Trapped in Treatment Plant Pipe

A worker trapped in an underground pipe at Arlington, Texas’ Pierce-Burch Water Treatment Plant was rescued the morning of March 20. The man became trapped around 9 a.m. when the pipe's safety plug dislocated, catching his arm. Rescue crews successfully extricated him by 10 a.m., using ladders and other rescue equipment while maintaining communication throughout the process.

The worker, an employee of contractor Archer Western, is being treated at a hospital for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. In a prepared statement, Arlington's water utilities director, Craig Cummings, emphasized the importance of employee safety and pledged to support Archer Western as it conducts a post-accident safety review.

Australian Treatment Plant Hosts Art Project

Melbourne, Australia’s Western Treatment Plant is set to be the focal point of an innovative public art project, Treatment III, aiming to challenge the stigma surrounding the city's wastewater system.

The event, now in its third iteration, seeks to emphasize the plant's importance as a crucial component of Melbourne's infrastructure. "What many people don’t realize is the Western Treatment Plant is also one of the state’s most popular spots for birdwatching, with some birds migrating from as far away as Siberia to its wetlands. Treated water is also used on the region’s market gardens to grow fresh produce,” project curator David Cross told Star Weekly.

Treatment III features site-responsive art installations, film, sculpture and performance works at various locations along the city’s Main Sewer Outfall pipeline.

Students Tour Newark Watershed

Newark, New Jersey, high school students recently visited the Pequannock Watershed, a 35,000-acre city-owned wilderness area providing drinking water for Newark and surrounding communities, as part of the Newark Watershed Science & Leadership Academy program. The initiative, led by the Newark Department of Water and Sewer Utilities, aims to expose younger residents to the New Jersey Highlands region's natural wonders and inspire careers in water treatment, infrastructure, or conservation.

Jalyla Fraser, CEO of Fraser’s Mathematics Solutions and an education consultant coordinating the tour, emphasized the importance of hands-on learning experiences. “It’s very exciting,” Fraser told “Videos can’t do but so much. But for them to be here, doing things, it creates a memory in their minds.” The tour included a visit to the Pequannock Treatment Plant and the watershed office and recreation center near Echo Lake.

Vermont Governor Announces Funds for Wastewater Pretreatment

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and the Department of Environmental Conservation Wastewater Program recently announced $2.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act awards to help municipalities and companies improve their wastewater quality through pretreatment and capacity management.

“Investing in municipal wastewater infrastructure opens up numerous opportunities for communities, from the environmental benefit, to economic development, housing and more,” says Scott. “My team will continue to make supporting this infrastructure a priority in all corners of the state.”

“Our municipal wastewater treatment facilities often face challenges when treating high strength or toxic wastewater,” says DEC Commissioner John Beling. “By investing ARPA funds in wastewater pretreatment, we can take a significant step forward in cutting pollution and better protecting our environment and human health.”


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