News Briefs: Coronavirus Relief Measure Includes Utility Bill Assistance for Low-Income Americans

Also in this week's sewer and water news, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is warning that a massive government data breach poses a grave risk to government and private networks

Congressional leaders recently announced a roughly $900 billion COVID-19 relief and economic aid measure that includes $638 million for low-income water utility bill assistance, along with $25 billion for a rental assistance program that can also be used to help offset utility payments.

The low-income utility bill assistance program will provide grants to states and tribes, who in turn will provide funds to public water systems to reduce rates.

The rental assistance program will distribute funds to states, along with municipalities with populations above 200,000. Funds will be made available to low-income renters affected by the economic crisis for up to 15 months.

Pennsylvania American Water Releases Festive FOG Video

Pennsylvania American Water asked customers to forget about the Grinch and Cousin Eddie this holiday season and remember that fats, oils and grease can be the real party crashers at your celebrations through a new animated video.

This festive trio, complete with their holiday flair and ugly sweaters, are up to no good at a holiday party until the hosts learn how to properly dispose of them.

“The animation is a novel and fun way of drawing attention to FOG and its impacts in the home and on sewer systems, plus the adverse effects it can have on the environment if the overflow enters our rivers, lakes and streams,” says Pennsylvania American Water President Mike Doran. “We encourage our customers to keep these uninvited guests away from their homes this holiday season with directions on how to properly dispose of FOG.”

Check out the promotional video here.

Governmental Data Breach Prompts Warning by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is warning that a massive data breach tied to a hacking campaign in Russia poses a grave risk to government and private networks.

The breach compromised a number of federal agencies and some critical infrastructure, according to CISA. Apparently the hack had long gone undetected and was difficult to uncover. The Department of Energy has confirmed it was among the agencies that were hacked.

An investigation is ongoing.

Investigators Find Illegal Winery in Alabama WWTP

A wastewater treatment plant supervisor was arrested and suspended without pay after investigators discovered he’d been running an unlicensed winery out of the treatment facility in Rainsville, Alabama.

The 62-year-old man was charged with unlawful possession of an illegally manufactured alcoholic beverage, according to news reports by USA Today and The New York Times.

An anonymous tip had been given to the authorities about the illegal operation. After agents and investigators arrived at the treatment plant, Mayor Roger Lingerfelt was contacted and advised of the complaint. Lingerfelt then arrived on scene to allow agents and investigators to proceed in a search of the building.

While conducting the search, agents and investigators located a large amount of illegal alcohol, and a winery that appeared to have been in operation for a long period of time.


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