News Briefs: Michigan Community Replaces Last Lead Service Line

In this week’s news briefs, Lansing, Michigan, proves it is possible for a utility to win the lead waterline battle, and two New Jersey water utility workers are accused of tampering with public records.
News Briefs: Michigan Community Replaces Last Lead Service Line

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While Flint continues to work to bounce back from its drinking water crisis, another Michigan community is celebrating the replacement of its last lead waterline.

According to a report by Michigan Public Radio, the Lansing Board of Water & Light has removed more than 12,150 active lead service lines since 2004 at a cost of $44.5 million. The last replacement occurred Wednesday. Lansing joins Madison, Wisconsin, as the only two major water utilities in the nation to have removed all lead service lines.

Lansing serves 55,000 residential and commercial customers, and says water will continue to be treated with an anti-corrosion compound to prevent lead leaching from old plumbing fixtures inside buildings.

Source: Michigan Public Radio

Charges Filed Against New Jersey Water Utility Workers
Two water utility workers in New Brunswick, New Jersey, are accused of tampering with public records and accepting money in exchange for reducing water and sewer bills.

According to a report in New Brunswick Today, a criminal complaint alleges that between Nov. 22 and Nov. 23, William Ortiz, 55, accepted $2,000 to reduce the utility bills of another person. He’s charged with bribery and official misconduct. Joseph DeBonis, 54, a water meter reader in addition to the senior account clerk for the utility, is also accused of falsifying water and sewer bills. He faces charges of tampering with public records and official misconduct.

Both men have been suspended while the investigation continues. The charges are only the latest for a utility that has been marred by scandal. Last year, the city’s longtime treatment plant operator pleaded guilty to public corruption, admitting that he covered up problems with the water supplied to customers.

Source: New Brunswick Today

Aerial Photos to Help California Water Conservation Initiatives
Aerial images are going to be used in California to help bolster water conservation efforts.

The state has budgeted $3 million for the project, which will analyze high-res aerial images taken from airplanes of more than 400 urban water suppliers’ areas, measuring the amount of green grass and irrigated landscapes. The data will be used alongside other data, like climate factors, to help officials determine community-specific conservation targets over the long term. The goal is to complete the project by the end of 2017. It is part of a larger water conservation plan state agencies recently revealed.

“What the images do is they avoid painstaking, time-consuming, highly costly work of parcel-by-parcel analysis on the ground of what the land use is,” Max Gomberg, climate and conservation manager at the State Water Resources Control Board told the Desert Sun. “So now we have this ability to just sort of look down from the sky, as it were, and at high resolution see what’s there so that we can essentially come up with a total acreage, a total landscape area.”

Source: Desert Sun


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