News Briefs: Utilities Throughout Nation Suspend Water Disconnections During Pandemic

Also in this week's sewer and water news, heavy rains cause a spill of 6.9 million gallons of diluted wastewater in Georgia

Municipal sewer and water utilities around country are adopting various policies to suspend water shutoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To name just a few that have made recent appearances in the news, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission suspended all power and water shutoffs and dismissed late fees on overdue payments; Tennessee American Water temporarily suspended service disconnections; Viroqua (Wisconsin) Utilities will not disconnect service for nonpayment until the state’s emergency declaration is lifted; Illinois American Water, Ameren, ComEd and Nicor have announced putting a hold on shutoffs during the coronavirus outbreak; and New York’s major water, electric and gas utilities have agreed not to cut water, power or heat from customers unable to pay their bills during the pandemic; in New Mexico, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Albuquerque have all halted shutoffs as well.

EPA Reports Flint Isn't Spending Its Federal Funding Fast Enough

In other news, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than $87 million in federal funding earmarked to fix Flint, Michigan’s infrastructure hasn’t been collected because the city has requested reimbursement on too few projects.

In a recent letter to the city’s mayor, EPA Acting Water Division Director Thomas Short Jr. urged the city to advance its schedule of projects to complete work during the grant period which ends Dec. 31, 2021.

The EPA originally awarded Flint $100 million in funding through its Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.

Heavy Rains Cause 6.9-Million-Gallon Spill in Georgia

Heavy rainfall in early March caused flooding in the DeKalb County, Georgia, sewer system and led to the spilling of 6.9 million gallons of diluted wastewater.

Public works officials say the spill was caused by stormwater infiltration through aging infrastructure. Of the system’s 70,000 manholes, 16 overflowed during the rain event.


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