News Briefs: Water Association President Accused of Embezzlement

Also in this week's sewer and water news, two water supervisors in New Orleans are accused of sleeping on the job during a citywide pressure drop

Mount Gilead-Improve Water Association’s former president has been arrested and is accused of embezzling $106,000 from the Marion County, Missouri-based association.

The accused, Marcus Hall, was arrested after a probe by the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office, which was initiated by officials who learned the association was missing funds.

“My office was happy to work with the sheriff’s office to provide help with their investigation,” says the state auditor, according to a news release. “All local law enforcement should know we stand ready to assist with any financial crimes investigation.”

New Orleans Water Operators Accused of Sleeping on the Job During Pressure Drop

Two Sewerage & Water Board supervisors in New Orleans are accused of sleeping on the job during a citywide pressure drop last November, and now questions have arisen over whether there are appropriate alarm systems in place for such events.

The board’s executive director told that the two water employees were sleeping during the pressure drop that led to a boil-water advisory for the city’s east bank. The director claims no alarm sounded to alert them, but an investigation including testimony from other employees reports that alarms did sound.

The pressure drop took place Nov. 17 around 4 a.m. and minutes elapsed before the employees acted. Other water plant operators tried to reach the supervisors repeatedly via phone and intercom.

English Sewer Workers Find 64-Meter Fatberg

In other news, a 64-meter fatberg was discovered during routine sewer checks in Sidmouth, South West England, according to South West Water.

Officials say it will take at least eight weeks to remove the block of fat, oil and grease.

“Thankfully it has been identified in good time with no risk to bathing waters,” says the company’s director of wastewater, according to The Guardian. “If you keep just one New Year’s resolution this year, let it be to not pour fats, oil or grease down the drain, or flush wet-wipes down the loo. Put your pipes on a diet and don’t feed the fatberg.”

Florida's Governor Signs Executive Order to Overhaul Water Quality

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has signed Executive Order 19-12 (titled Achieving More Now For Florida’s Environment), which implements major reforms to ensure the protection of Florida’s environment and water quality.

“Our water and natural resources are the foundation of our economy and our way of life in Florida,” says DeSantis. “The protection of water resources is one of the most pressing issues facing our state. That’s why today I’m taking immediate action to combat the threats which have devastated our local economies and threatened the health of our communities.”

The order calls for $2.5 billion over the next four years for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources; the establishment of a Blue-Green Algae Task Force; initiation of the next phase of the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir Project; the creation of the of the Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency charged with organizing and directing integrated scientific research; and the appointment of a chief science officer to coordinate and prioritize scientific data, research, monitoring and analysis.


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