News Briefs: Water Utility Imposters Brandish Gun in D.C.

Also in this week's sewer and water news, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy announced that it has been awarded a $1.9 million grant for lead testing at schools across the state

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) recently warned its customers to be on the look out for potentially dangerous imposters claiming to represent its company.

The utility shared information with customers after the release of a police report claiming that two suspects tried to gain access to a home by pretending to be DC Water employees. The men were dressed as construction workers and said they needed to check pipes inside the home. When the homeowner refused them entry, they brandished a handgun and tried to force their way inside.

Police say the homeowner managed to get the door closed and the suspects fled the scene.

Orange County Water District and EPA Save Ratepayers $79.4 Million

Joined by leadership from the Orange County (California) Water District (OCWD) and Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD), U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently toured the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), where he announced a joint effort that will save ratepayers $79.4 million.

Officials from EPA and the Water District made this savings possible by updating a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan that was granted to OCWD for use toward the construction of the GWRS Final Expansion.

In 2018, EPA granted a $135 million WIFIA loan to OCWD to help finance the 30 mgd final expansion of the GWRS, a $282 million project. The initial 70 mgd GWRS project came online in 2008, followed by a 30 mgd expansion in 2015. The second and final expansion of the GWRS will make the world’s largest reuse project even bigger, taking it to its ultimate capacity of 130 mgd ― enough water to meet the daily needs of 1 million people.

Michigan Nets $1.9 Million EPA Grant for Lead Testing

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) recently announced that it has been awarded a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. EPA for lead testing of drinking water at schools and child care facilities across the state.

Michigan will receive $1,871,000 from the $69.7 million EPA Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care grant program.

“This award is due to the hard work that EGLE’s Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division’s newly formed Lead and Copper Unit have put in finding funding sources and new ways to further protect our most vulnerable populations,” says Division Director Eric Oswald.

EGLE, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, is prioritizing this funding toward the protection of children in areas where blood lead levels in the state are higher, where schools are unable to pay for testing, and to enhance community, parent and teacher trust.


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