News Briefs: New York Suspends Work on Crucial Water Tunnel

In this week’s news, Flint residents get the OK to drink filtered tap water, Dothan adds workers for a sewer inspection project, and New York City postpones work on its new $6 billion water tunnel.
News Briefs: New York Suspends Work on Crucial Water Tunnel

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Mayor Bill de Blasio has postponed work to finish New York City’s third water tunnel, reports the New York Times, citing that the administration has moved financing to other projects in an effort to curtail rising water and sewer rates.

“You look back over the last 50 years, whenever there were fiscal pressures, the unseen world of the municipal water system is where weak city leaders turned to cut spending,” says Kevin Bone, water historian. “I’m disappointed to hear that they’ve deferred it. It is symptomatic about planning for the future in America.”

The city currently relies on two water tunnels. Per the report, portions of the third tunnel have already been completed and are carrying water to Manhattan and the Bronx. However, new segments that would supply Brooklyn and Queens — home to 5 million people — are virtually unfinished, awaiting the building of two deep shafts.

According to the report, if damage or age forced the shutdown of City Water Tunnel No. 2, which is 80 years old, the primary water supply to much of Brooklyn and Queens would be lost for at least three months, city engineers say, the time it would take for an emergency activation of the sections of City Water Tunnel No. 3 that have already been finished.

The city intends to finish the remaining portions of the $6 billion tunnel sometime in the 2020s, the newspaper reports, but it has not set a date for completion nor allocated money in the budget to carry out the work.

Source: New York Times

Flint Residents Get OK to Drink Filtered Tap Water
Federal and state officials say residents in Flint, Michigan, can safely drink filtered water from their taps as the city slowly begins its recovery from lead contamination in its drinking water.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the EPA, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and researchers from Virginia Tech made the joint announcement on April 8 following a meeting in Chicago.

“Whenever we see a positive trend in Flint’s water quality, that’s good news,” Gov. Rick Snyder says. “But we still have much work to do to get people the quality of water they need and deserve.”

A spokesman for the governor says a prior recommendation that pregnant women and young children drink bottled water remains in effect.

Last month, Flint stopped billing for water as it implements a program designed to assist residents who have been exposed to lead poisoning. Gov. Snyder approved a $30 million plan in March to help residents with water bills.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Dothan to Add Workers for Sewer Inspection Project
The Dothan (Alabama) City Commission voted April 5 to hire two additional workers management says are needed for a citywide sewer inspection project, reports the Dothan Eagle.

Dothan, which is under a consent decree from the EPA, has 506 miles of sanitary sewer lines, and City Manager Mike West tells the newspaper that the city currently has one two-man crew assigned to inspect the lines.

West estimates that it would take about 22 years for one crew to inspect the entire system. A second crew, he says, would allow the city to “inspect every inch of the system in 10 years.”

Range of pay for the two additional workers is between $36,000 and $55,000 annually for an operator position and between $28,000 and $45,000 for a maintenance position.

Source: Dothan Eagle


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