News Briefs: Whoops! Contractors Pour Concrete Into Sewers

In this weeks news, a construction-site error causes sewer woes, a water main break creates a 50-foot geyser, and a pilot program enlists homeowners.
News Briefs: Whoops! Contractors Pour Concrete Into Sewers

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The City of Hamilton, Ontario, is investigating how loads of concrete ended up in a municipal sewer during the construction of a transit station. A contract crew was working at the site and filling caissons when they realized that “one … took more concrete than they were expecting.”

“We know we’ve got a problem,” says Dan McKinnon, Hamilton’s director of water and wastewater, in a Hamilton Spectator article.

City workers used cameras to view the obstruction. McKinnon doesn’t anticipate the blockage will cause any problems for city residents because the affected sewer backs up into a tank. However, when asked by the Hamilton Spectator whether fixing the problem will be as expensive as it sounds, he replied, “I think you’d probably be right.”

The City will not be responsible for the cost of repairs. Officials are still investigating how the incident occurred to ensure it won’t happen again.

Source: The Hamilton Spectator

Water Main Break Creates 50-Foot Geyser

The Columbia (Tenn.) Power and Water Systems crew was called out last week to repair a water main break that startled some residents.

“It was something to see,” says CPWS Director Wes Kelley in a Columbia Daily Herald article. “We heard from a bystander the problem began around 3 a.m. He reported he saw the ground start to bubble, and then it sounded like a shotgun blast and it came right up through the pavement.”

The water shot an estimated 50 feet into the air.

The break occurred on the top of the 50-year-old cast iron pipe. To repair the main, crews reduced pressure but did not turn off the water completely. The repair work took five hours.

Source: Columbia Daily Herald

Milwaukee Proposes Preventive Sewer Maintenance for Select Homes

Homeowners in Milwaukee’s Cooper Park neighborhood have been asked to participate in preventative sewer maintenance. The City will pay to have foundation drains disconnected from laterals as part of a program to reduce stormwater entering sewer mains.

The City will use funds from a $62 million 10-year plan aimed at reducing stormwater problems in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Meters in downstream sewer mains will measure flow to determine the program’s effectiveness.

Foundation drains will stay connected if there is less than 5 feet of lawn between the foundation and the property line.

“We need to keep water on the same property,” says Tim Thur, engineer for the Department of Public Works in a Journal-Sentinel article. “We will not drain to a sidewalk or the neighbor’s yard. We don’t want to create a nuisance.”

This is the second time Cooper Park homeowners have been involved in a trial program. In 2011, city contractors lined laterals at 432 homes to prevent infiltration.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

NOAA Releases Lake Erie Algae Bloom Forecast

The summer blue-green algae season has started in Lake Erie, and forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting an above-average bloom. The NOAA algae prediction model ranks the blooms on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most severe. This year, the bloom is ranked at a 5 or 6, which is nowhere near the record-setting 2011 season that scored a 10.

To create the forecasts, the NOAA calibrates 12 years of bloom observations from satellite imagery.

Algae blooms were particularly aggressive from the 1960s to 1980s. In 1988, a ban on phosphorus in laundry soap halted growth. However, phosphorus from fertilizer, stormwater runoff and wastewater treatment plants continues to affect the relatively shallow lake, creating oxygen-depleted dead zones.

The full report is available from the NOAA.

Source: The Weather Channel


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