News Briefs: Public Wants to Invest More in Hurricane Prediction, Says Study

Also in this week's sewer and water news, two recent failures at water treatment plants in Ireland have resulted in more than 50 cases of illness

A recent survey of people affected by hurricanes across four states found that the public is willing to pay more than $500 million per year to improve hurricane forecasts. The study — led by a group of atmospheric scientists and economists at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science — comes at a time when Hurricane Ida’s path caused widespread damage across the United States.

“People see a direct benefit from having better science and information regarding track, wind speed and precipitation associated with these storms,” says Renato Molina, assistant professor of environmental and resource economics at the UM Rosenstiel School.

Water Treatment Failures Put Irish Public at Risk

Two recent failures at water treatment plants in Ireland — at Ballymore Eustace and Gorey — have resulted in illnesses and hospitalizations.

The failure at the Gorey plant resulted in improperly treated water being provided to the public and caused more than 50 illnesses.

Meanwhile, a power failure and chlorine pump failure at a plant in Ballmore Eustace — which serves part of Dublin — produced unsafe tap water for 10 hours for 877,000 customers. In neither case was the public told to boil water.

The Irish Environmental Protection Agency is calling it an “abject failure of managerial oversight, operational control and responsiveness by Irish Water and local authorities in terms of their respective roles to deliver safe and secure drinking water.”

Tampa Water Department Seeks Solutions to Oxygen Shortage

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting a strain on the Tampa (Florida) Water Department, as it begins to look for a long-term solution to an ongoing liquid oxygen shortage.

While the limited oxygen supply is being used on COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state, Tampa Water Department has shifted toward disinfecting its water with chlorine.

“We are working with our regulatory partners to figure out, OK, what are our options?” spokeswoman Sonia Quiñones tells WUSF News. “If we get to a point where chlorine isn’t going to be enough for us, what are our options?”


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