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2003 Drinking Water and Wastewater Legal Issues

December, 2003

Man who dumped pesticides into a water reservoir in China sentenced to life in prison. He said he poisoned the water to increase sales at his water filter company. News 24 12/30/03

World's largest mozzarella maker settles Nebraska wastewater stream pollution case. Leprino Foods Company to pay an $85,000 fine and donate another $15,000 to help upgrade the local wastewater treatment plant.  The Independent 12/28/03

A big beer spill and wastewater overflow in Colorado may yet improve wetlands for wild animals. The accidents wiped out thousands of fish, but the Coors brewery is restoring habitat as part of its penalties.  Denver Post 12/28/03

Florida water case worries the West. U.S. Supreme Court ruling could affect diversions of polluted water. Los Angeles Times/San Francisco Chronicle 12/23/03

Federal judge orders Detroit and its suburbs to settle water fight out of court. Accusations that Detroit overcharged other towns to be heard by the Southeast Michigan Consortium for Water Quality. Detroit Free Press 12/18/03

Board member on Southern California's West Basin Municipal Water District pleads guilty to taking a $25,000 bribe. A second board member faces charges on a different contract.  AP/Mercury News 12/9/03

California judge voids $600 million water privatization contract that backers hoped would be national model. Local government leaders didn't handle environmental issues properly in the contract.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 12/7/03

Fed up with delays, California AG goes to court to force Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power to restore the Owens River water flow. L.A. drained the river dry in 1913 to give the growing city drinking water.  Los Angeles Times 12/7/03

Cleveland gives Water Division cases to FBI for fraud investigation.  Cleveland Plain Dealer 12/3/03

November, 2003

Indiana sewage plant director is sentenced to nearly four years in prison. Prosecutors say diesel fuel was dumped into creek to cover insufficient treatment of sewage.  Indianapolis Star 11/19/03

Pensacola, Florida lawyer files a $25 million lawsuit against the Escambia County Utilities Authority. Claims more than 10,000 residents remain at risk from radium in their drinking water.  Pensacola News Journal 11/17/03

In the New West, it's the state water engineer who keeps the peace. Utah water district is accused of stealing water.  Salt Lake Tribune 11/13/03

Alabama Supreme Court upholds ruling that takeover of Birmingham water board was illegal.  Birmingham News 11/9/03

Hollywood, Florida will pay $9 million to settle charges it bilked its neighbors by overcharging them for water and sewer services.  Sun-Sentinel 11/6/03

October, 2003

Florida builder of world's biggest desalination plant declares bankruptcy. Filter and subcontractor problems blamed for failure of Tampa project.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 10/30/03

Westminster, Colorado city employees accused of fixing water meters to keep their lawns green during the drought. "I think several took pride in their landscaping," city official says.  News 4 Colorado 10/30/03

Georgia county seeks court OK to dump treated wastewater into the Chattahoochee River.  AccessNorthGa.com 10/25/03

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida water department under investigation. Former workers allege employes cut corners on testing.  Miami Herald 10/24/03

Ohio water district asks court to reconsider ruling that broke up its water distribution monopoly.  Athens News 10/23/03

U.S. Supreme Court won't get involved in Montana water pollution issue. Coalbed methane water is a pollutant and subject to regulation.  Billings Gazette 10/21/03

California water provider fined $9.5 million by the state Public Utilities Commission. Company failed to notify the state when it took over two water systems and did get state OK for rates. Company and PUC negotiating. Monterey County Herald 10/19/03

EPA fines Vail ski resorts $80,100 for Clean Water Act violations during ski construction.  AP/Yahoo 10/19/03

Colorado man found guilty of polluting the Colorado River with de-icing fluid. Faces up to three years in prison. Grand Junction Sentinel 10/17/03

Connecticut sues Tyco subsidiary for alleged Clean Water Act violations. Stamford Advocate 10/16/03

Florida desalination plant

Largest U.S. desalination plant in hot water. Two Florida officials call for investigations. Contract default looms.  Tampa Tribune

Florida official to ask for grand jury investigation of troubled desalination plant.  St. Petersburg Times

Tiny mussels hobble largest U.S. desal plant. Builder seeks help from competitors.  St. Petersburg Times

GenCorp and American States Water in settlement talks over Aerojet water contamination near Sacramento, California. Settlement expected to be about $10 million.  Reuters/Forbes 10/15/03

Two Nashville, Tennessee water officials travel with vendors who get water agency contract.  Tennessean 10/13/03

Officials in California's San Gabriel Valley ask U.S. Justice Dept. to prosecute 20 polluters. They're refusing to help clean groundwater.  Business Wire 10/12/03

Two former Sacramento water district officials indicted. Accused of fraud and tax evasion involving water district funds.  AP/Mercury News 10/9/03

Kannapolis, North Carolina seeks takeover of bankrupt water operator. Matter of local health and safety, says city official.  Salisbury Post 10/9/03

Firing of auditor upheld in California's Otay Water District. But jury blasts   district management. "I wouldn't want to work in that district if they paid me all the money in the world," says one juror. San Diego Union Tribune 10/7/03

Showdown in Central Florida water fight. Utility's right to pump billions of gallons from aquifer challenged.  Orlando Sentinel

State audit says Missouri-American water has 'excess earnings' of $20 million. Company is seeking rate increases.  St. Louis Business Journal

September, 2003

New Orleans water board chair, contractor sentenced to prison. Wire fraud, conspiracy convictions connected to operation of city's sewage treatment plant.  nola.com

Feds probe cost overruns at Colorado-New Mexico water project. Animas-La Plata more than 50% over estimates.  Cortez Journal

D. G. Yuengling & Son Inc. settles Pennsylvania brewery Clean Water Act case for $110,000.  EPA/Newswire

Iowa company owner gets 30 days in federal prison for polluting water. (2nd item)  U.S. News Wire

Law suit: San Diego's Otay Mesa water board officials point fingers at  each other over bribery allegations.  San Diego Union-Tribune

Indiana wastewater treatment plant operator awaits sentencing for polluting the Tippicanoe River. Maximum is eight years in prison. U.S. Newswire

 

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