News Briefs: Two Mississippi Water Workers Accused of Embezzlement

Also in this week's sewer and water news, a state cabinet estimates that Kentucky will need $15 billion in water and sewer upgrades in the next 20 years

Two women in Mississippi will likely face indictments after being accused of embezzling money from the North Lee Water Association, where they worked, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

The workers, Tina Wilson and Gina Niblett, may have been stealing money since 2012. The possible crime was reported by other parties involved with the water utility.

Just how much the women stole is unknown at this time, according to the sheriff’s office, but they were both arrested and are now free on bail.

Water and sewer infrastructure in Kentucky needs a $15 billion investment over the next two decades, according to the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Deputy Cabinet Secretary Bruce Scott told the Senate standing committee on natural resources Monday the state must invest. “We cannot avoid making the investment in water and sewers and dams. The only real question is when.”

Half the sewer and water infrastructure in the state is past its design life, according to Peter Goodman, director of the Division of Water. The state’s water treatment plants have an average age of 38 years old, and the state’s 800 or so wastewater plants are more than 36 years old on average. A lot of the state’s drinking waterlines and sewer pipes are older still.

The Madison (Wisconsin) Water Utility is facing a $6 million budget shortfall and the city council recently voted to refer a 5-year contract extension for the utility’s general manager to the Water Utility Board.

The idea behind the referral is that board members will have a chance to add conditions to Tom Heikkenen’s contract before an extension is granted.

Mayor Paul Soglin recently sent a letter to Heikkenen saying he expects to see progress on the utility’s budget outlook by the end of 2018 if the contract is renewed.

The Mount Laurel (New Jersey) Township Municipal Utilities Authority is experiencing a setback on a sewer project thanks to so-called “flushable wipes.”

Utility workers recently shared photos of the huge clump of wipes clogging various sewer components as a reminder to the public that disposable wipes shouldn’t be flushed.


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