News Briefs: Sewer Blockage Leaves 77 Hospital Patients Without Toilet Access

Tensions are rising after a sewer blockage in Atascadero, California, has left 77 patients at Atascadero State Hospital without easy access to toilets and drinking water for more than a week, according to The Sacramento Bee.

In rooms without toilets, patients have been given access to portable urinals, which have contributed to degrading sanitary conditions at the hospital, as staff must empty the urinals by hand into trash cans.

“We have been just barely managing,” a staffer told the newspaper. “They are starting to unravel. It’s turning into Lord of the Flies slowly.”

In the meantime, a contractor is working to repair the blockage.

Michigan Radio Updates Flint Water Crisis Court Cases

Now that five years have passed since Flint, Michigan, officials switched the water sources and kicked off the Flint Water Crisis, Michigan Radio NPR is offering a rundown of all the officials facing criminal charges.

The investigation in the the Flint Water Crisis has been ongoing since 2015. Click here for Michigan Radio’s update of court cases.

Pittsburgh to Add Orthophosphate to Distribution to Control Lead

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is adding orthophosphate to its distribution system in an effort to lower lead levels for 300,000 customers.

PWSA saw its first exceedance of federal lead levels nearly three years ago. It worked with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a study to build the four facilities needed to treat the system with orthophosphate.

“It is really a big deal,” Will Pickering, PWSA’s senior manager of public affairs, tells WESA News. “About 12 to 15% of our residential customers still have these lead service lines. We’re working our hardest to replace them as fast as possible.”


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