News Briefs: Savannah to Replace 19th Century Brick Pipelines

In this week’s news, aging brick pipelines are creating headaches in Georgia’s oldest city, Detroit gets $8.9 million for green infrastructure, and LA deploys shade balls in its ongoing battle against drought
News Briefs: Savannah to Replace 19th Century Brick Pipelines

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The City of Savannah, Georgia, plans to spend about $500,000 for a new drainage line to replace the aging 19th century stormwater pipelines after one of the brick pipes collapsed about four months ago.

The 8 miles of brick pipelines, built after the Civil War, used to be connected to the city’s sewer system. In an ongoing program, the city locates any connections that still need to be separated from the sewer system.

Water within the old lines creates expansion — combined with the pressure exerted from the outside of the lines — can cause the pipes’ bricks to loosen, leading to collapses.

“Once those start falling out, it’s like a house of cards,” John Sawyer, public works and water resources bureau chief, told the Savannah Morning News. “It doesn’t support its own weight any more.”

The city plans to abandon the brick line and will reroute the drain outlet from the Savannah River to the Springfield Canal.

“There is a lot to be said for historic preservation,” says Sawyer. “But when it comes to transferring stormwater, we prefer that it actually works.”

The expense to build the new line is being covered using funds from the capital reserve fund for unbudgeted expenses, said Melissa Carter, Savannah’s research and budget director.

Source: Savannah Morning News

Detroit Gets $8.9M for Green Infrastructure
Detroit will receive $8.9 million in federal funding to be used for green infrastructure to better prepare the city for floods and other natural disasters.

This funding announcement made Aug. 7 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development came after storms that brought severe flooding a year ago, which resulted in over 10 billion gallons of combined sewer overflow, including 6 billion gallons from Detroit’s system. More than 58,000 Detroit homes suffered some level of housing damage in the August 2014 flooding, CBS Detroit reports.

The plan calls for creating a vegetation system that will help prevent floods, public facility improvements, and demolishing vacant properties in areas affected by flooding.

“[We’re putting in] trees and plants that have extensive root systems that absorb water,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “And when we build it out, we’re going to use the vacant property in Detroit, so when the rain hits — instead of running up your property and into your basement — it’s going to run into the vacant landscaped area and be absorbed into the vegetation.”

Source: CBS Detroit

Desalination, Water Reuse Event Returns to San Diego
The IDA World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse will be held Aug. 30 through Sept. 4 in San Diego, where global experts on water will be able to take a closer look at seawater desalination and wastewater recycling technologies.

There will be two water production plant tours available to attendees: the Poseidon Water’s nearly complete desalination plant in Carlsbad — which will be the largest commercial desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere capable of producing 50 million gallons of drinking water a day — and the Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System, which supplies about 100 million gallons a day of recycled water. The recycled water is sent back into groundwater basins that provide a local water supply.

Each of these projects has become a model for the water industry around the world, Doug Eisberg, chairman of the technical program committee, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“You’re going to see at this conference a lot of folks coming in from all over the world that have done some pretty amazing things with technology that started right here,” says Peter MacLaggan, a Poseidon Water executive vice president for California.

For more information on the event, visit

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

Millions of Shade Balls Help LA Fight Drought
The City of Los Angeles has turned to black, plastic shade balls to help protect its water resources against the drought that keeps dragging on.

On Aug. 10, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti had 20,000 shade balls dumped into the Los Angeles Reservoir, which will help keep the water clean and prevent evaporation. This is the final stage of the city’s water quality protection plan, which totals out at $34.5 million.

A total of 96 million shade balls have been poured into the 175-acre reservoir, which holds up to 3.3 billion gallons of water.

According to a press release, the shade balls — at a cost of 36 cents each — are a “cost-effective way to reduce evaporation each year by nearly 300 million gallons, enough to provide drinking water for 8,100 people for a full year.”

Source: Gizmodo


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