News Briefs: Student's Award-Winning Short Film Examines New Orleans Water Infrastructure

In this week's sewer and water news, a 19-year-old girl from New Orleans explores her city's water system in-depth asking what she can do about its flooding issues

A 19-year-old student in New Orleans has created a short film titled “Station 15” inspired by flooding that occurred in August 2017 that spurred her to learn more about her city’s water infrastructure. The film is named after one of the city’s pump stations.

Although she’s now enrolled at the University of New Orleans, Chasity Hunter spent her senior year of high school studying the city’s water management system and speaking with infrastructure engineers to make the film.

Hunter’s investigation into the city’s water woes won a Best Audience Award at the New Orleans Film Festival and is on a statewide Smithsonian exhibition. Reel South is hosting the short film on its Facebook page. You can view it below.

In other sewer and water news, officials in Redding, California, are concerned about chemicals making their way into local streams and rivers as a result of the ongoing Carr Fire. In the meantime, they’re waiting for assessments from Cal Fire and federal agencies regarding the area’s watershed.

“What we’re really concerned about is when we get up into the foothills and start looking at those tributaries to the Sacramento River,” Clint Snyder, assistant executive officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, told the Record Searchlight. “That’s where a lot of that erosion is going to occur, and it will make its way into those streams and into the river.”

Possible solutions going forward could include laying straw and planting seeds to prevent erosion, or possibly installing floating barriers in waterways to catch sediment.

A recent report by the San Diego Union-Tribune shows that single-family homes in the city were overcharged by the water department to the tune of $2 million in 2017.

The newspaper got the information from the city after it had faced an internal audit of its public utilities department, finding evidence of at least 2,750 incorrect water bills last year.

While the city claims it has repaid customers for overcharges, it didn’t provide a dollar amount. According to the auditor’s report, the overcharges were the result of inaccurate meter reading by the department’s team.

The city of Trenton, New Jersey, has been fined $13,000 for failing to update its water system per state mandate after elevated lead levels were found in 12 of 100 water samples taken in the first half of 2018.

An 18-page Administrative Consent Agreement admonishes the city for its lack of response to the lead problem and lays out a plan going forward.

Meanwhile, water samples taken in the second half of this year show lead levels in acceptable ranges, according to the DEP’s Drinking Water Watch.

“Generally speaking, a lot of variables can go into individual test results, one of the biggest of which is how long the water has been sitting in the plumbing before it is turned on and the sample is taken. The longer the water sits, the more likelihood there is of traces of lead to leach out of the pipe,” DEP spokesperson Larry Hajna told


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