News Briefs: Workers Discover 19th Century Burial Vault

In this week’s news, workers in New York unearth more than a water main, Beverly Hills is fined for water overuse, and Akron tackles CSOs by embarking on its biggest construction project ever
News Briefs: Workers Discover 19th Century Burial Vault

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Workers upgrading water mains under New York City’s Washington Square Park discovered a burial vault containing the remains of at least a dozen people dating back approximately 200 years ago.

The vault measured 8 feet deep, 15 feet wide and 20 feet long, on land that used to be a “potter’s field,” or public burial ground, between 1797 and 1825. Anthropologists and archaeologists will be asked to investigate the vault to determine its exact age.

Fox News reports historians have estimated that approximately 20,000 people were buried underneath the park.

Source: Fox News

Last Winter’s Road Salt Contaminating Drinking Well
Even though Wisconsin is gearing up for another winter, certain parts of Madison are still dealing with the last frigid season. Officials say salt put down on University Avenue and surrounding streets for drivers is getting into a nearby drinking well.

While the current amount of salt in the well isn’t harmful, if the levels rise it may no longer be drinkable.

“It’s really important to … realize that what goes along with heavily salting our driveways and our roadways and our parking lots does have an impact,” says Amy Barrilleaux, Madison Water Utility Public Information officer.

To combat contaminating the drinking well this winter, the city and county will change the way they salt the streets this year. Using two new brine machines, workers will lay salt brine before it snows to prevent snow and ice from sticking to the pavement. In turn, less salt will have to be used on the road during the season.

“It’s sort of counter-intuitive. We’re putting down salt in order to use less salt, but that’s what we’re doing, and we’ve seen it work pretty well for us,” says George Dreckmann, the Madison Streets Division spokesperson.

Source: NBC 15

California Levies First Fines For Water Overuse
For the first time, California officials have imposed fines — to the tune of $61,000 — on communities that failed to meet water conservation goals imposed due to the four-year drought.

Cities hit with the fines were upscale Beverly Hills and three desert cities: Indio, Redlands and Coachella.

“Up and down the state, residents and water suppliers are making the necessary sacrifices needed to help California meet its conservation goals,” says Cris Carrigan, director of the California Water Boards’ enforcement office. “However, some urban water suppliers simply have not met the requirements laid before them.”

Collectively, the four cities wasted about 2.3 billion gallons of water since June, Carrigan notes, adding that if they fail to cut back on water usage, the fines could be ramped up to $10,000 per day vs. the $500 per day they’re at right now.

Source: Phys.org

Akron Starts 4-Year Project on Mile-Long Tunnel
An EPA mandate to help manage overflow from torrential rainfall has led Akron, Ohio, to embark on what’s described as the largest construction project ever for the city: a three-story high, mile-long tunnel that will be bored 160 feet underneath the city’s downtown.

The city’s aging sewers are between 25 percent and 30 percent combined sewers, Interim Environmental Division Manager Michelle DiFiore notes.

“They were built a hundred years ago, and that was the state-of-the-art technology when they were constructed,” she continues. “But, as we have learned over the years, they cause pollution of our waterways and we are looking to clean that up.”

The price tag for the four-year-long project is $190 million. Once completed, the tunnel is intended to hold more than 25 million gallons of stormwater until it can be treated and released without contaminating local streams.

Source: FOX 8



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