In this week’s news briefs, Kansas City, Missouri, installs its 100th mile of new water main since 2013, and OSHA fines a Massachusetts company $1.5 million for an incident that killed two sewer workers
Kansas City, Missouri, recently celebrated its 100th mile of pipe replaced since launching a comprehensive water main replacement program in 2013.
It’s only a small part of the city’s 2,800-mile water main network, but it’s having an effect. According to a report in the Kansas City Star, in 2012 the city had 1,844 water main breaks. In 2016, that number dropped to 814.
City Manager Troy Schulte says the program currently aims for replacing 28 to 30 miles a year and is addressing the “worst of the worst” first. He and other officials gathered this week in a city neighborhood where crews prepped a new section of 6-inch ductile iron pipe for installation.
“It’s history in the making. I know it’s necessary,” Rebecca Sharp, a resident where the water main replacement was occurring, told the Kansas City Star.
She noted, though, that her water and sewer bills have tripled in recent years and it’s been a struggle to pay the costs. About $65 million has been spent to date on the water main replacement program, all covered by rate increases.
Source: Kansas City Star
Connecticut Nearly Recovered From 2016 Drought
Water conservation remains top of mind, but more areas of the country that have been suffering from drought are coming out of it.
According to a report in the New Haven Register, many of Connecticut’s water utilities are reporting that their reservoirs have almost fully recovered from last summer’s drought.
Connecticut Water, which serves 93,000 customers in 56 towns in the state, lifted its water supply advisory with all of its reservoirs at 100 percent capacity. Aquarion serves 625,000 customers in 51 communities. Its reservoir system is at 85 percent capacity, so an irrigation ban is remaining in place for some of its communities.
“We expect to lift the ban gradually starting in May,” Bruce Silverstone of Aquarion told the New Haven Register. “We will start by allowing irrigation two days a week and go from there.”
Source: New Haven Register
Massachusetts Company Heavily Fined for Incident that Killed 2 Workers
OSHA recently announced $1.5 million in fines against a Massachusetts drain cleaning company for an incident last October in which two of its workers were killed.
A total of 18 citations were levied against Atlantic Drain Service, which had previously been fined by OSHA in 2007 and 2012.
“The deaths of these two men could have and should have been prevented,” OSHA New England regional administrator Galen Blanton said in a statement. “Their employer, which previously had been cited by OSHA for the same hazardous conditions, knew what safeguards were needed to protect its employees but chose to ignore that responsibility.”
Ted Fitzgerald, regional director for public affairs of the U.S. Labor Department, told TV affiliate WBZ in Boston that OSHA fines that high are rare.
“We’ve only had two cases in New England in the past 20 years in which the proposed penalties exceeded $1 million,” he says.
Atlantic Drain is also facing criminal charges in the matter.