News Briefs: Trench Collapse Kills Los Angeles Sewer Worker

Also in this week's sewer and water news, the entire overnight shift is suspended at the Phoenix Water Services Department after investigations into inappropriate employee behavior

A trench collapse in Los Angeles recently killed a 23-year-old sewer worker named David Tzaput Tzep of Montebello, California.

A firefighter from the Los Angeles Fire Department is saying early findings from an investigation into the incident suggest Tzep was working on a sewer line when a catastrophic failure of the 10- to 20-foot trench took place.

A team of search and rescue personnel excavated and shored up the trench before recovering Tzep’s body.

The incident is still under investigation.

Minneapolis Homeowner Responsible for $20,000 Waterline Repair

A homeowner in Minneapolis with a leaking waterline is financially responsible for a $20,000 repair, according to the city.

The homeowner, Dan Wilke, saw water coming out of his front lawn about a month and a half ago and called the city for help, but a city ordinance states that the leak is his responsibility.

The waterline is on the other side of the street from his house, across four lanes of traffic. Bids for the work came in between $17,000 to $21,000.

Denver Considers Replacing All Its Lead Service Lines

Officials with Denver Water are looking at replacing thousands of lead service lines throughout the city in an effort to provide lead-free tap water to every home, business and school in the system at a cost of up to $500 million.

The utility serves 1.4 million people in Denver and its suburbs, and the system includes somewhere between 50,000 and 90,000 lead service lines.

Denver Water is proposing a water rate increase to fund the project.

Overnight Shift at Phoenix Water Services Department Suspended After Inappropriate Behavior

Recent reports from two investigations into employee conduct at the Phoenix Water Services Department revealed harassment, abuse and racism that led to the entire overnight shift being suspended, according to the Phoenix New Times.

Some of the complaints include being hit in the face with a dildo, butt and chest grabbing, frequent use of racial slurs by multiple employees on the overnight shift in the water distribution division, says a report by the city’s Equal Opportunity Department.

Five of the nine employees who violated policy had been fired in May, and another was reprimanded in writing. Another two still work for the utility, while the entire overnight shift has been suspended and repairs are being handled through an on-call system.

“The actions of these employees are a disservice to, and in no way reflect the excellent work of the 1,400 other Water Services employees,” Stephanie Bracken, a spokesperson for the department, tells Phoenix New Times.


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