News Briefs: California Announces $1 Billion Emergency Drought Package

In this week's news, California legislators announced a $1 billion drought package, a raccoon is blamed for a sewage spill, and manhole covers got a fashion makeover in Milan.
News Briefs: California Announces $1 Billion Emergency Drought Package

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Governor Edmund Brown Jr. and state legislative leaders announced last week $1 billion in legislation to help California communities cope with the ongoing drought. The emergency package will expedite bond issuances and help ensure that all Californians have access to local water supplies.

“The programs funded by the actions announced today will provide direct relief to workers and communities most impacted by these historic dry conditions,” Brown said in a press release. “The legislation includes more than $1 billion for local drought relief and infrastructure projects to make the state’s water infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather events, including $272 million in funding for safe drinking water and water recycling.”

Taking action to further strengthen water conservation in the state, the State Water Resources Control Board voted to expand and extend an emergency regulation to prohibit certain water use, such as washing down sidewalks, and create a minimum standard for outdoor irrigation restrictions by urban water suppliers. Governor Brown has called on all Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent.

Source: State of California press release

Raccoon Blamed For Lift Station Failure, Sewage Spill

A 60,750-gallon sewer spill was reported Saturday, March 14, in the City of St. Augustine, Florida, due to a power outage at a sanitary sewer lift station. A raccoon was reported as the culprit, after it found its way into the control panel and shorted out the station’s power. 

After arriving on the spill scene, city crews discovered sewage overflowing from a manhole into the San Sebastian River. Water samples taken from the river showed that the spill did not harm the environment or public health.

“It wasn’t large enough to produce a risk, if you will, to public health and safety,” says Russell Simpson, ombudsman for the northeast district of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in a statement to the St. Augustine Record. The highest level of fecal coliform found per milliliter in samples cleared FDEP standards.

Source: The St. Augustine Record, Historic City News

Manhole Covers Get a Fashion Makeover in Milan

The fashion world crossed over into the municipal sewer and water world when 24 designers, including world-renowned fashion designers Giorgio Armani, Prada and Versace, created colorful manhole covers for Milan’s fashion district for the event,  “Over the Under — Manhole Art Tells the Story of a Cabled City.”

The 24 made-over manholes found throughout the district will remain in place until January 2016, when they will be auctioned off to benefit charitable projects promoted by Oxfam Italia, according to Luxury Daily.

Source: Luxury Daily, Fashion Times

SAK Construction Begins $9.2 Million Wastewater Rehabilitation Contract

SAK Construction has begun work on a $9.2 million contract to rehabilitate 5,575 lineal feet of aging combined sewer in downtown St. Louis. Rehabilitation of this section of sewer, which was built in the 1860s, is part of a comprehensive plan the Metropolitan Sewer District of St. Louis is implementing to improve the St. Louis wastewater system.

According to Mike Badgley, SAK project manager, the contract includes renovating the 18-foot-high by 20-foot-wide arch-shaped sewer, 15 manholes and 58 lateral connections using chemical grout, concrete and shotcrete. To complete the work, the project requires 3,200 cubic yards of concrete, 4,500 cubic yards of shotcrete and 400 tons of reinforced steel.

Among the unusual challenges posed by the project is the sewer’s significant average dry weather flow of 50 mgd. To minimize potential issues and to progress on schedule, SAK regulates the dry weather flow by using a combination of bypasses and flow diversions.

Completion of the rehabilitation is slated for November 2017.

Source: SAK press release

Collapsed Manhole Leads to 300,000-Gallon Wastewater Spill

The San Jacinto River Authority of Conroe, Texas, responded to a report of a sinkhole and discovered a collapsed manhole that caused 300,000 gallons of wastewater to spill into a nearby drainage ditch March 11.

According to Your Houston News and an SJRA statement, authorities believe the spill was caused by a “failed force main connection to the manhole; however, recent heavy rains and saturated soils surrounding the manhole have made investigation of the cause difficult.”

Granular chlorine was used to reduce bacterial problems in areas affected by the spill, and no harmful results have been recorded. 

“We feel like all the proper measures have been taken,” said Woodlands Joint Powers Agency General Manger Jim Stinson in a statement to the newspaper.  “We don’t feel like there is a concern of cross-contamination of potable drinking water. But we will continue to do sampling in the water to make sure it hasn’t been compromised.”

Source: Your Houston News


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