News Briefs: Staffing Shortage Leads to Major Repair Backlog in Columbia, South Carolina

Also in this week's sewer and water news, an error by operations staff at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant in Austin, Texas, results in a citywide boil-water notice for residents

As water mains continue breaking and residents deal with ongoing boil water advisories in Columbia, South Carolina, public sentiment is also at a breaking and boiling point, according to WLTX News.

The utility says it’s facing a backlog of 4,000 customer repair requests, largely due to a staffing shortage, the news organization reports.

Assistant City Manager Clint Shealy tells WLTX that Columbia Water has 207 job vacancies — a full third of its workforce. He says it’s due to a lack of skilled labor to fill positions and people not returning to work during the pandemic.

Austin Residents Undergo Citywide Boil-Water Advisory

An error by operations staff at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant in Austin, Texas, recently resulted in a citywide boil-water notice for residents.

“In the process of clarification there were oversights and errors and had some turbidity issues and the process was not stopped and attended to,” Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros told CBS Austin.

Meszaros was alerted to the turbidity issue and that is was impacting water that was leaving the plant. The plant was then shut down to figure out what happened.

Austin Water lifted the boil notice Feb. 8 after more than 76 hours.

CDC Announces COVID Wastewater Data Tracker Tool Online

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced it will expand its efforts to collect wastewater samples from communities throughout the nation in an effort to find traces of COVID-19.

And in a related announcement, the agency launched a new online tool to help track the virus. The CDC’s COVID Data Tracker offers maps, charts and data representing all wastewater data submitted directly to CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System’s DCIPHER platform.


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