In this week’s news briefs, D.C. Water awards the contract for a 5-mile, $580 million tunnel project that will reduce overflows into the Anacostia River, and a Michigan city is adding defendants to its lawsuit over who should pay for the repairs of a collapsed sewer and large sinkhole that appeared this past Christmas Eve
D.C. Water recently awarded its largest contract ever — a 5-mile tunnel costing $580 million that will help avoid CSOs into the Anacostia River.
A joint venture of Salini Impregilo and S.A. Healy will design and construct the tunnel, with work expected to begin in September. Completion of the tunnel is set for 2023.
In a statement, D.C. Water CEO George Hawkins called the project “the last piece of the puzzle for the Anacostia River tunnel system.”
The 23-foot-diameter tunnel will be constructed with precast concrete segments buried 50 to 160 feet below the ground. It is part of the Clean Rivers Project, a $2.6 billion, 20-year effort to cut down on CSOs.
Source: Washington Business Journal
Iowa Utility Modifies Water Main Break Operations
The city of Dubuque, Iowa, is revamping its water main break response policy following two high-profile breaks last year that included long street closures and boil water advisories for customers.
According to a report by KWWL 7, in May 2016, a water main break resulted in the loss of more than 3 million gallons of water and created a boil water advisory for over 5,000 customers. Then, in November 2016, a water main break opened up a large sinkhole that shut down a street for a week.
Part of the new policy focuses on how the city communicates to people affected by the breaks. Water Department Manager Denise Ihrig says customers are being encouraged to sign up for the city’s Code Red system, which alerts people through text, phone calls, email or social media about information they need to know regarding water main breaks.
“Whether we are under a boil water advisory, or whether it’s a case of just flushing the line following work we would do in the area, we’re hoping to communicate that a little bit better to our residents,” Ihrig says.
Source: KWWL 7
Residents Receive Free Rain Barrels as Part of Green Infrastructure Plan
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection recently distributed 100 rain barrels to homeowners in four different city neighborhoods as part of a free giveaway event.
It’s part of an ongoing program the department has maintained since 2008 to help lower residents’ water bills, as well as reduce stormwater runoff from overburdening sewers. In the first year, 250 rain barrels were distributed. Last year, a record 11,111 rain barrels were given away free to homeowners.
“I was happy to see so many residents pick up rain barrels during our giveaway,” City Councilman Costa Constantinides told the Times Ledger. “The continued enthusiasm for rain barrels shows that our community is dedicated to conserving water, forming sustainable habits and helping to reduce flooding.”
The rain barrel giveaway program is part of the city’s larger green infrastructure plan to invest $2.4 billion into projects that will significantly reduce CSOs by 2030.
Source: Times Ledger
City Sues Former Sewer Officials for Gross Negligence Over Collapsed Sewer Interceptor
The city of Sterling Heights, Michigan, wants to add two former Macomb County Public Works officials to its lawsuit challenging who should foot the bill for the millions of dollars in repairs resulting from a sewer line collapse and a massive sinkhole on Christmas Eve.
According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, Sterling Heights officials are accusing former Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco and his former chief deputy, William Misterovich, of gross negligence, saying that they knew the sewer line was in “dire need of repair” and facing possible failure but didn’t inspect or maintain it.
Currently, the repairs are being funded through a $70 million bond paid for by ratepayers in the 11 communities, including Sterling Heights, served by the collapsed line.
“This is about making sure the people who failed us are held accountable,” Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor told the Detroit Free Press. “We want something back that we paid and got nothing for.”
Source: Detroit Free Press