News Briefs: Rats Invade World-Famous Beach After Sewers Flood

In this week's news, floods wreak havoc on water infrastructure on both sides of the Atlantic, and Detroit's water department undergoes a major transition
News Briefs: Rats Invade World-Famous Beach After Sewers Flood

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Deadly floods overtook the sewers in Cannes, France, forcing the rats that made homes in those sewers to move above ground, taking over the beachfront of a French Riviera resort.

Hundreds of rats are roaming through debris on the beach left by the flooding, which caused millions of pounds worth of damage and left 20 people dead.

“It’s not that there are more rats than usual. The problem is that they have come above ground,” one cleanup operation team member told Nice Matin newspaper. “Once the underground networks fill with water, the rats don’t hold their breath — they go elsewhere in search of food.”

One of the area’s chief concerns is how this will affect tourism; however, a massive cleanup operation is underway, needing to cover 32 areas of coast that were declared national disaster zones.

Source: The Daily Mirror

Detroit Water Department Undergoing Transition
Come Jan. 1, 2016, Detroit will be served by two water entities instead of only the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, and Mayor Mike Duggan has made two nominations for leaders of this transition.

DWSD will remain in control of city water and sewer assets, while the new Great Lakes Water Authority will handle suburban water and sewer. In exchange, the GLWA will pay Detroit $50 million a year in lease payments that Detroit will use to upgrade its water and sewer lines, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Duggan nominated Gary Brown, the city’s group executive for operations, to run the administration of DWSD, and Palencia Mobley, an expert on water infrastructure, to run the facility’s water operations.

“This team will bring balanced leadership and expertise to the city’s water operations,” Duggan said in a news release. “Gary is an outstanding administrator who has helped modernize many city services and generate significant cost savings. Palencia is a brilliant engineer and the type of young talent that will rebuild our Water Department’s infrastructure for future generations.”

Source: Detroit Free Press

City Fined $290,000 For Wastewater Discharge
The City of St. Helena, California, will pay a $290,177 fine after partially treated wastewater leaked into the groundwater in early 2014 at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, though it could have faced a penalty of up to $50.35 million.

According to the St. Helena Star, about 5 million gallons of wastewater leaked over nine days.

The tentative settlement was based on negotiations between city staff and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

“We did not agree on everything, but the alternative to settlement is a contested proceeding before the Regional Water Board, with uncertain results,” said City Manager Jennifer Phillips in a statement. “By negotiation, we achieved a result that recognizes the city’s diligence in responding to the leak and our commitment to continually improve the infrastructure and operations at the wastewater treatment plant.”

The tentative settlement is subject to confirmation by the Water Board’s executive officer following a 30-day public comment period, the St. Helena Star reports.

Source: St. Helena Star

Thousand-Year Storm Triggers Boil Advisory
Water customers in Columbia, South Carolina, were placed under a boil advisory this weekend after historic flooding damaged waterlines throughout the city’s distribution system. The flooding also caused at least nine fatalities, including the death of Department of Transportation worker Timothy Wayne Gibson, who was working on a flooded road when his work truck overturned.

The city’s wastewater treatment plant, which is permitted to treat 60 mgd, took in 100 mgd at one point on Saturday. According to an article in The State, the excess water was diverted to a holding basin. One small spill was reported at a pump station.

A wastewater treatment plant operated by Palmetto Wastewater Reclamation also flooded. Officials stated the plant might not be able to resume operation for up to a week. Residents were asked to limit water use until the plant could be restored.

According to the National Weather Service, Sunday was the wettest day on record for Columbia, with a rainfall total of 6.87 inches reported at the Metropolitan Airport. More than 20 inches of rain were recorded between Friday and Sunday in some parts of the city.

Source: Delaware Online, Cape Gazette


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