News Briefs: 'Tidal Wave' of Utility Shutoffs Could Soon Hit Nation

Also in this week's sewer and water news, the Suquamish Tribe is planning to sue King County, Washington, for violating the Clean Water Act

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports a “tidal wave” of utility shutoffs could soon hit the nation, making landfall after many municipalities originally suspended penalties during the early response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Missouri American Water, the newspaper reports, will restart its normal payment process Aug. 1 and plans to cut off service for delinquent accounts.

Moratoriums on utility payments are slated to expire in 21 states between now and November, and amidst the cessation of the federal government’s $600 weekly unemployment payments, some experts are forecasting shutoffs.

Suquamish Tribe to Sue King County Over Clean Water Act Violations

The Suquamish Tribe is planning to sue King County, Washington, for violating the Clean Water Act, according to a report by K5 News.

Lawyers representing the tribe say the incoming lawsuit stems from sewage spills from West Point Treatment Plant in 2018 and 2019, and for NPDES permit violations for discharging effluent into Puget Sound. The lawsuit alleges there were at least 11 such incidents ranging from 50,000 to 2.1 million gallons.

New Jersey Suburbs File Suit Against Trenton Over Water Works

Hamilton Township, New Jersey, on behalf of the townships of Ewing and Lawrence, recently filed to join an existing lawsuit by the state’s Department of Environmental Services against Trenton and four surrounding towns.

The lawsuit aims to get Trenton to give up some control of its water system, Trenton Water Works, which it has owned by the city since 1859. Today, it provides drinking water to 217,000 people in Trenton and four surrounding towns.

“The right to clean water is a human and constitutional right. This is nonnegotiable,” Elissa Grodd Schragger, Hamilton’s township attorney, wrote in her filing, according to “It is also clear that Trenton and Trenton Water Works have repeatedly and egregiously missed benchmarks in fulfilling their obligation to provide safe and clean drinking water for the customers of Trenton Water Works, which include residents of Plaintiff-Intervener Municipalities.”


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