News Briefs: ​Philly Mayor Addresses Public Amidst Plague of Wipes in Sewers

Also in this week's sewer and water news, central Arkansas strikes a significant deal for water allocation

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney recently led off a briefing on the city’s COVID-19 response with a warning that the city sewer system is experiencing clogs from face masks, gloves and wipes residents have been irresponsibly flushing.

“Please do not flush any of these items down the toilet,” he said in the briefing.

Many other public works employees and city officials throughout the nation have issued similar statements to residents, as wipes and masks continue to plague sewers everywhere.

“When everyone rushed out to get toilet paper and there was none . . . people were using whatever they could,” says Pamela Mooring, spokeswoman for DC Water, according to Associated Press.

Central Arkansas Strikes Significant Deal for Water Allocation

In a new agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Mid-Arkansas Water Alliance has secured water storage allocation of 20.75 mgd through 2050 from Greers Ferry Lake.

The alliance had previously struck two other deals for water storage allocations from Greers Ferry Lake and Lake Ouachita.

“It’s been nearly a 20-year effort working with the Corps to access water in those two Corps lakes for long-range municipal water use in Central Arkansas,” says Jim McKenzie, alliance board secretary. In total, the agreements have secured 65.7 mgd from water storage.

Senate Bill Aims to Provide Drinking Water Funding for Navajo Nation   

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill to settle water rights claims by the Navajo Nations in Utah and provide $210 million in funding for water infrastructure, as the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the drinking water crisis on the Navajo Reservation.

The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act is sponsored by Sens. Mitt Romney, Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema.

“Passing this bill is an important part of keeping a longstanding promise by the federal government to Native American tribal members,” the summary reads. “It would significantly contribute to the water needs of the Navajo Nation in Utah — half of its population lacks indoor plumbing — and resolve a legal claim in a fiscally responsible way designed to prevent millions in additional legal costs.”

Molasses Helps Illinois WWTP Control Phosphorus

Operators in Lake County, Illinois, are using molasses as an essential part of its wastewater treatment process, according to a recent article in the Daily Herald.

The public works department recently purchased $55,000 worth of molasses, and when asked by a curious county board committee member what it was for, Interim Public Works Director Austin McFarlane explained they’ve been using it since 2015 as a carbon source to sustain the biological process needed for phosphorus reduction.

McFarlane explained that phosphorus-accumulating organisms rely on a constant supply of carbon to continue working.

"We want to make sure there's a constant supply — that helps us in the long run," McFarlane said to the committee, according to the Daily Herald. "It's a cheaper way to go than chemicals."


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