News Briefs: Mayor Declares Infrastructure Emergency

A Mississippi mayor declares emergency on the city's aging sewer system, and a Ohio utility will begin delivering water to outlying customers.
News Briefs: Mayor Declares Infrastructure Emergency

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Mayor Tony Yarber of Jackson, Mississippi, has taken initial steps to declare an infrastructure emergency on the city’s sewer system. Yarber is believed to be the first mayor in the country to declare an emergency for infrastructure that is not related to a natural disaster or catastrophic failure.

The aging water infrastructure in Jackson has been causing problems for decades. However, severe winter weather has pushed the issue to the forefront. There have been a total of 75 water main breaks in the city this year alone.

Yarber declared an infrastructure emergency on March 27, which expired after seven days. He has since signed a second declaration of emergency for 30 days, which requires City Council approval.

“We have to find funding somewhere,” Yarber said to the Clarion-Ledger. “It’s either going to come on the back of citizens paying their water and sewer bill through water and sewer rates or through federal assistance.”

Funds are required for new 24-inch and 20-inch pipelines, and a new water main. Yarber’s administration has since presented the plan to council members, but there hasn’t been a vote yet. On Monday, April 13, city council president De’Keither Stamps and vice president Melvin Priester Jr., said they were unsure when the council might take up the emergency declaration.

The emergency declaration would allow two things: The typical bidding process can be bypassed so the project can be started sooner, and it allows the city to seek federal and state funds. Though the city is permitted to seek federal funding through the declaration, it doesn’t ensure the city will necessarily qualify.

Source: The Clarion-Ledger

Ohio Utility To Truck Water To Neighborhood Outside Service Area

One Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, neighborhood lies just outside the city’s existing water system, which has caused the city to seek a cost-efficient way to provide water to those outlying residents.

After nearly eight months, a solution has been found: On April 13, City Council approved spending up to $100,000 to purchase a truck for delivering water to the area of about 40 residents. By giving 24-hour notice, residents of the rural area can call the city to get water for their cistern, and the water department will deliver up to 1,600 gallons for a flat rate for water and delivery, according to an article in the Cuyahoga Falls News Press.

“It can only make our residents feel more confident and secure knowing that our city can provide such a basic but vital resource for their families,” said Councilman Victor Pallotta to the News Press.

Source: Cuyahoga Falls News Press

Record Rainfall in Milwaukee Leads to Wastewater Discharge

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District was in emergency mode earlier this month when the city received a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours. To prevent basement backups, the district initiated a combined sewer overflow of about 681.1 million gallons.

It was Milwaukee's first combined sewer overflow of 2015. By comparison, the district reported 341 million gallons of total sewer overflows in all of last year.

Sanitary sewer overflows were also reported by southeastern Wisconsin communities South Milwaukee, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Mequon, Fox Point, Bayside, Brown Deer and Menomonee Falls.

According to a report from Fox6, MMSD also conducted combined sewage treatment at the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility, which reduced the sewer overflow by 76.9 million gallons.

Between April 8 and 9, the city recorded between 3 and 4 inches of rain. One inch of rain in MMSD's service area equals 7.1 billion gallons of water. 

Source: Journal Sentinel, Fox6now.com 

California Utilities Approve Reductions in Water Use

Unprecedented severe drought in California has called for drastic measures, and so far at least two utilities have approved reductions in water use, as called for by Governor Jerry Brown in his executive order mandating a 25 percent statewide reduction.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California approved a 15 percent water supply cutback to the San Diego County Water Authority, and the East Bay Municipal Utility District declared a stage four critical drought, imposing a districtwide 20 percent mandatory reduction in water use.

“It’s critical that every resident immediately eliminate unnecessary water use — severely restrict lawn watering, take shorter showers and fix leaks immediately,” said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the Water Authority, in a press release. “We could be in for a very long road ahead, and we all need to step up.”

East Bay MUD approved additional measures with its declaration, which include outdoor water use prohibitions and restrictions, penalties for people who use more than four times the amount of water used by the average residential customer, and penalties for those who steal water or misuse water from a public fire hydrant, reports CBS San Francisco.

Source: CBS SF Bay Area, SDCWA.org



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