News Briefs: New Zealand City Looks for Leaks Created By Earthquake Damage

In this week’s news briefs, Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, is losing 400,000 gallons of water daily because of leaks created by an earthquake late last year, and a trench collapse traps a worker in Omaha, Nebraska, but rescue crews are fortunately able to save him.
News Briefs: New Zealand City Looks for Leaks Created By Earthquake Damage

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New Zealand’s capital city is losing up to 400,000 gallons of water a day because of damage to pipes stemming from a large earthquake in November.

According to a report by radio station RNZ, the amount of water being taken daily out of Wellington’s system has risen by nearly 10 percent since the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Nov. 14. The city was already losing 13 percent of its water to leaks prior to the quake. Surrounding areas were hit harder, but Wellington was still heavily impacted, with damage occurring to many buildings.

An official says the city is definitely losing water, but it’s difficult to know where because of the area’s geology. Many pipes are surrounded by porous material that absorbs water rather than eroding or creating ruptures. Wellington Water is installing 11 new flowmeters on main lines to supplement the existing 21 around the city in order to better pinpoint leak locations.

About 50 leaks were immediately discovered in the days following the earthquake. Half of them have since been repaired.

Source: RNZ

Public Attendance Poor at Flint Water Summit
Citizen turnout was low last week for the Water Infrastructure 101 workshop that was part of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Flint Water Infrastructure Summit.

According to a report by, a few dozen people attended the Thursday workshop although more than 150 people registered in advance. The workshop included breakout sessions on water filters and flushing of transmission mains, copper piping, household maintenance and water testing.

A DEQ spokesperson did not speculate on why attendance was low, but noted that the workshop was recorded and would be posted online so that people would still have access to the information that was shared.


Pittsburgh to Provide Water Filters to All Residents
The city of Pittsburgh is providing water filters to all of its residents while it gradually works to replace lead service lines.

In addition to point-of-use filters, the city is also installing point-of-entry filters in all public buildings. It is a $1 million effort with Peoples natural gas company committing $500,000 and the city and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority matching the funds.

“This is a Band-Aid. Decades of inadequate maintenance of our infrastructure has led to a situation where our pipes are breaking, the system itself is in disrepair, and hundreds of millions of dollars will be needed in order to solve it over the course of the next decade or more,”  Mayor Bill Peduto told Keystone Crossroads.

Source: Keystone Crossroads

Nebraska Sewer Worker Saved From Collapsed Trench
A worker in Omaha, Nebraska, was saved this week after being trapped in a collapsed trench for nearly seven hours.

According to a report in the Omaha World-Herald, 23-year-old Drew Johnson, an employee of Utility Trenching, was working on a sewer project in a trench about 12 feet deep when one side of it collapsed at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday. He was trapped up to his knees.

Wooden planks were used to stabilize the walls of the trench and rescue personnel gradually loosened and sucked dirt from the hole until Johnson was free. He was lifted from the trench at about 4:15 p.m.

“The trench was fairly unstable. They would free one foot, dirt would slough off, and it would trap him again,” one rescue worker told the Omaha World-Herald.

Johnson was listed in good condition after being transported to the hospital.

OSHA has opened up an investigation into the incident. Utility Trenching has operated in the Omaha area for 15 years and has four prior OSHA violations.

Source: Omaha World-Herald


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