News Briefs: Florida City Agrees to Pay Hackers $600,000 in Ransom

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, reclaimed water is reviving the Santa Cruz River in Tucson, Arizona

The Riviera Beach (Florida) City Council has agreed to pay $600,000 in ransom after hackers used a virus to take down the city’s email, phones and water pump stations.

The virus came in the form of an email attachment that was downloaded by a city employee. Hackers demanded 65 Bitcoin — a hard-to-trace digital currency — valued at around $600,000.

As a result of the hack, even utility payments had to be accepted in person or through the U.S. Postal Service.

“Anything that was done online, we did not have access to,” Rose Anne Brown, a city spokesperson, tells The New York Times. “We were able to make payroll and make vendor payments.”

Chicago Families Still Without Potable Tap Water After Lead Warning

Hundreds of families in Chicago’s south suburbs have been without potable tap water for more than a week since Aqua Illinois notified customers of elevated lead levels.

The utility admitted that it had first seen a change in water quality last summer, but that lead levels still met Illinois regulations at that time. Another mandated test in May 2019 showed actionable levels.

The recent tests revealed a number of homes in the area had tap water with lead exceeding the federal limit, along with one home that was 100 times greater than the federal limit.

Charleston Sends Divers to Clear Wipes Clogs Again

In the second time in less than a year, Charleston (South Carolina) Water System officials are sending divers into sewage to remove so-called “flushable” wipes that are clogging processes and pipes.

Divers made three dives 80-90 feet deep to remove masses of wipes blocking pumps in the system’s wastewater processing tanks, according to ABC News 4.

Reclaimed Water Bringing Santa Cruz River Back to Life

In other news, a stretch of the Santa Cruz River is coming back to life, as Tucson (Arizona) Water has released reclaimed water into a formerly dry channel. first covered the Santa Cruz River Heritage Project in detail last August. It’s great to see progress on this ambitious project, which aims to restore a riparian habitat while keeping water in an easily accessible place.

Officials plan for now to release more than 1 billion gallons of reclaimed water into the Santa Cruz River each year, which is slightly more than 10 percent of Tucson’s total reclaimed water supply.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.