News Briefs: Metal Scrappers Stealing Manhole Covers, Leaving Holes in Cincinnati

In this week's sewer and water news, thieves are stealing manhole covers and stormwater grates and scrapping them for cash in Cincinnati, Ohio; and a sewer worker is credited for helping secure the Bank of England's 400,000 gold bars

Metal scrappers in Cincinnati, Ohio, are leaving dangerous holes around the city as they continue stealing manhole covers and stormwater grates right out of the ground, according to WLWT5 News.

Sewer and water officials are saying it’s happening all over the city and isn’t restricted to any one neighborhood.

“It might be a guy who looks like a city worker, you know, or a construction worker, with a neon shirt, in a backhoe,” a sewer district spokesperson told the news station. “Looks like he’s supposed to be there, but he’s not.”

It’s estimated that nearly 100 instances of this type of theft have occurred recently in Cincinnati.

The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) is applauding the reintroduction of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Crapo (R-ID).

The proposal would stimulate private investment in drinking water and wastewater systems by modifying the tax code to remove state volume caps on the issuances of government private activity bonds. This is the same tax treatment other types of public infrastructure already receive, including airports, high-speed rail and the solid waste disposal industry.

“There’s widespread consensus that our nation’s water infrastructure needs an investment boost. And there’s no doubt that investment is also good for our economy. If enacted into law, this legislation could bring billions in new water infrastructure investment and help create and support more than 1.4 million jobs,” says NAWC President and CEO Robert Powelson. “Eliminating the volume cap on water infrastructure will lead to new drinking water and wastewater infrastructure investment, while allowing the issuance of exempt facility bonds provides municipalities with a lower cost financing option. All of this adds up to a major win for our water systems, communities and each and every American.”

The city of Portland, Oregon, is partnering with a company called Lucid Energy in an effort to generate hydroelectricity by installing turbines in the city’s drinking water pipes.

It’s called the Conduit 3 Hydroelectric Project and it involves reinstalling a section of the city’s water infrastructure with Lucid Energy pipes that have 42-inch turbines in them.

It sounds like the system will only generate surplus energy in areas where pipes are flowing downhill, but the technology also offers some monitoring capabilities. It’s scheduled to be operating by next March.

In recognition of the Bank of England’s 121st governor taking over next year, the Business Standard posted an article that contained an interesting anecdote about the bank’s history.

There are around 400,000 bars of gold worth nearly $130 billion stored underground at the bank, and it’s never been robbed successfully. However, according to legend, a sewer worker sneaked in through the floorboards in 1836 and reported the vulnerability to the bank without taking anything. He was rewarded 800 pounds.


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