News Briefs: Feds Back Off After Report Shows Newark's Lead Filters Are Functional

Also in this week's sewer and water news, city leaders in Hutchinson, Minnesota, are considering putting valves and pumps clogged with flushable wipes on display in the city's sculpture walk as an educational tool

Engineering firm CDM Smith, acting as the city’s consultant, recently provided a 100-page report on whether Newark, New Jersey’s filters are working to remove lead from residential tap water.

The filters were provided by the city to some water customers earlier this year amid the discovery of elevated lead levels in drinking water.

The report found that all but five of the 198 filters inspected had reduced lead to comply with standards, and those results improved if customers flushed water through the system before using it.

In light of the report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed via letter that the filters are safe for use as long as residents let the water run for five minutes first, and the agency is no longer recommending bottled water for citizens of the city.

“We want to make sure when you are way from your home for several hours, you should flush the water, using water for about five minutes before you filter,” Kareem Adeem, acting director of the water and sewer department, tells NJ Advance Media.

Study Shows Benefits of Water Infrastructure Expenditures in Michigan

Investing $12 billion on top of existing water infrastructure expenditures over the next two decades would address the Flint water problem and also create nearly 90,000 direct full-time jobs and generate $8.8 billion in total direct, indirect and induced labor income in Michigan, according to a new study from the national, nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

According to the report, How Investing in Michigan’s Water Infrastructure Protects Our Economy, Creates Jobs and Drives Growthoverhauling Michigan’s infrastructure — including residential waterlines, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure — would generate $441 million in additional wages for workers and $28 million in state and local tax revenue every year for 20 years.

“Keeping Michigan’s water infrastructure functioning properly — and keeping contaminants out of our water supplies — is essential to the state’s economy, public health and our quality of life,” says Micaela Preskill, E2 Midwest advocate.

Minnesota City May Put Clogged Pumps on Display

The Hutchinson (Minnesota) Wastewater Treatment Facility may soon put a gallery of valves and pumps clogged with wet wipes and rags on display for the public so they can see the damage first hand.

There have been a number of clogs in recent years, according to wastewater manager Tim Gratke. Most recently, he tells the Hutchinson Leader, a large clog was found in a valve. “We alternate force mains,” he says. “We have two and we usually use one. In order to keep the wastewater fresh in them, we usually switch them weekly. They went to switch it one time and all of a sudden they had flow for about an instant and then the flow went to zero.”

Now, in an effort to educate the public, Gratke and local city council members are considering putting the clogged equipment on a trailer to display at churches, fairs or even the city’s sculpture walk.


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