In this week’s news briefs, a water department crew makes a gruesome discovery, and the town of Colebrook, New Hampshire, starts replacing some of the oldest water infrastructure in the state.

The Phoenix Police Department continues to investigate how human remains ended up in a sewer system in the Paceo Point subdivision, where residents last week had reported a wastewater backup.

The Arizona Republic reports that a crew from the Phoenix Water Department discovered the cause of the blockage, which they identified as human remains, around 9 p.m. on July 20 and called the police.

“This has been, and will continue to be, a long and complicated recovery effort,” officer James Holmes told the newspaper. “Down in the sewer there are just so many things that can affect the human body.”

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According to the report, the body parts were identified as belonging to an adult, but it’s unknown if they belonged to a man or a woman. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine the identity of the victim and the cause of death.

“There’s a lot of things they’ll have to do to get this body out of the drainage system,” Holmes said. “They’re going to have to check a lot of areas to figure out where it originated. We don’t know if this incident happened here or if it traveled through the drain system.”

Source: The Arizona Republic

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Water Utility Gets $150 Million to Buy More Land
The Texas Water Development Board recently approved a $150 million loan for El Paso Water to acquire tens of thousands more acres of land with water rights in nearby Dell Valley.

The move is part of El Paso Water’s $600 million plan to deliver water to the city of 675,000 residents from properties it acquires in West Texas counties starting in 2050, El Paso Inc. reports.

Funds will come from the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, or SWIFT, which the Legislature set up to finance major water projects in the state’s 50-year regional water plans.

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“Leveraging the SWIFT loan program at a time of historically low interest rates allows El Paso Water the flexibility to invest in future water sources, spread costs over a long-time horizon and reduce the long-term impact to ratepayers,” CEO John Balliew said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the water utility spent nearly $50 million to buy the 26,500-acre Chambers Lynch Ranch in Dell Valley, 90 miles east of El Paso. Since 1990, El Paso Water has purchased more than 100,000 acres of new land, according to the report.

Source: El Paso Inc.

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Town Begins Replacing 125-Year-Old Pipes
The Town of Colebrook, New Hampshire, broke ground last week on a water and sewer project that will replace some of the oldest pipes in the state, the Union Leader reports.

The $6 million project includes removing existing water and sewer lines on Main Street and throughout downtown. Selectman Ray Gorman said that some of the pipes were installed in the 1890s. Gorman also said that leaky waterlines were responsible for up 80 percent water loss.

CMA Engineers designed the new water and wastewater systems, and J.P. Sicard Contracting is doing the excavation. The project is expected to take up to three years to complete.

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Source: Union Leader

State Receives Funding for Infrastructure Projects
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced the investment of $68 million for 20 drinking water, wastewater and non-point source projects across 14 counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.

Of the $68.1 million, $46.8 million is allocated for low-interest loans and $21.3 million is awarded through grants.

The funding comes from a combination of state funds approved by voters, federal grants to PENNVEST from the Environmental Protection Agency, and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards.

Funds for the projects will be dispersed after bills for work are paid and receipts are submitted.

Source: press release

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