News Briefs: California Water Agencies’ Energy Use to be Tracked Under New Law

In this week’s news briefs, California is examining more closely how the water sector plays into the climate issue, and a firm determines the reason for a Texas plant’s elevated H2S levels that killed two workers.
News Briefs: California Water Agencies’ Energy Use to be Tracked Under New Law

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A new law in California will help track the energy consumption and emissions that result from water use. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed the legislation, which creates a voluntary registry for the water sector to use to report such data.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, which sponsored the bill, the registry will help the state devise solutions to control one of the fastest-growing pieces of the climate issue. California water utilities and wastewater treatment facilities use nearly 20 percent of the state’s electricity supply and that figure is expected to grow as the ongoing drought stresses water supplies.

“When it comes to climate change, California’s water sector is like a slow-dripping faucet,” UCS climate scientist Juliet Christian-Smith said in a press release. “It may not seem like much, but the energy used to pump, treat, transport, deliver and heat water really adds up. This new law will help provide reliable data to identify conservation and clean energy opportunities that are needed to ensure that water is part of California’s climate solution.”

Source: press release

Senate and House Clash Over Funding Levels for Water Resources Development Act
When Congress returns from recess, more work will be required on the Water Resources Development Act legislation that includes emergency funding for Flint, Michigan.

The Senate passed it last month, and the House recently passed its version. However, there is about a $1 billion difference between the two bills. A part of that difference is the emergency assistance targeted for Flint, Michigan, and other communities dealing with lead pipe issues. The Senate’s bill had $220 million slotted for that initiative. The House bill has $170 million, and it’s specific to Flint so other communities around the country wouldn’t benefit.

“That bill is making its way through,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said during a Michigan campaign event recently, according to the Detroit News. “It will get done in December or November, and I’m confident Flint will be addressed there.”

Source: The Hill

Firm Determines Several Factors Caused H2S Levels that Killed Two Texas Treatment Plant Workers
A consulting firm believes it has determined the reason for the elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide gas that killed two treatment plant workers in July in Wichita Falls, Texas.

According to the findings of the firm reported in the Times Record News, the likely cause was decreased water discharge into the sewers, increased human waste and hot summer temperatures. That created a proliferation of H2S producing bacteria in the collections system and led to the deaths of Daniel Arredondo and David Sheppard when they responded to the plant July 2 to repair a pipe valve that was leaking sewage in the basement. Another city worker found the two men unconscious shortly after beginning repairs.

The men were not wearing protective gear when they were found, though they were wearing the gear when they began work, according to a preliminary investigation. Hydrogen sulfide levels were measured at 509 ppm at the time.

Source: Times Record News


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