News Briefs: Baltimore Water Main Breaks Down 40 Percent

In this week’s news briefs, the city of Baltimore says proactive maintenance has led to a significant reduction in water main breaks, and the state of Alabama sues Dothan over sewer overflows.
News Briefs: Baltimore Water Main Breaks Down 40 Percent

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The number of water main breaks in Baltimore, Maryland, has declined by about 40 percent over the last two years, according to a press release. In fiscal year 2016 the city reported 798 water main breaks, which is down from 1,165 the previous year, the Baltimore Sun reports.

“While we still have a long way to go in addressing our aging water infrastructure, I am very encouraged by this trend,” says Rudolph S. Chow, director of Public Works. “We knew that we needed to be aggressive in our water main renewal efforts, and our actions are paying dividends.”

The average age of the city’s water mains is 75 years old, and there are more than 4,000 miles of water mains in the city. Baltimore replaced 19 miles of water mains this past fiscal year, according to the report, surpassing an internal goal of 15 miles. 

“It’s not a secret that we’ve needed to do much more replacement, rehab and proactive maintenance of our mains,” spokesman Jeffrey Raymond says. “That’s been very much at the forefront.”

Source: Baltimore Sun

Utility Looks to Install New Water Intake in Potomac River
The Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission is exploring a plan to draw drinking water from the middle of the Potomac River. The Washington Post reports that the WSSC wants to install a new intake line, saying the existing pipeline is too close to shore.

The utility says water near the shoreline gets heavy sediment from stormwater runoff and water in the middle of the river is cleaner and water quality is more stable.

WSSC was required to conduct environmental impact studies because parts of its treatment plant are within the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, according to the report. The agency sought public comments on the study at a July 14 meeting on the proposal.

Source: The Washington Post

State of Alabama Sues Dothan Over Sewer Overflows
Attorney General Luther Strange and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management filed a complaint in Houston County Circuit Court against the city of Dothan last week. The agency claims the city has repeatedly violated the terms of its wastewater management permits after 248 sewer overflows were reported over the past five years.

According to the Dothan Eagle, the city has been under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 2012, which requires Dothan to replace parts of its aging sewer system.

“The city of Dothan looks forward to responding to the state’s inquiry and providing information demonstrating the city’s commitment to overhauling our aging sewer system in order to provide a fully safe and healthy environment for our citizens,” a statement from the city says. “As a progressive city, we are very proud of the work that has been done over the past few years to resolve a sewer issue that took decades to create.”

The city spent $44 million on sewer infrastructure between 2005 and 2014, according to the report, including $29 million to double the capacity of the Little Choctawhatchee Wastewater Treatment Plant. Dothan will soon begin updating a second treatment plant at a cost of around $40 million and has further identified 13 priority sewer repair projects.

Source: Dothan Eagle


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