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2008 Wastewater News


December, 2008

Hanoi to be cleaner with two wastewater plants on the horizon

Hanoi authorities and Japanese consultants are working on a project to construct two plants to treat waste water in a bid to further improve the environment in the capital city in the 2010-2020 period. According to the joint consultant teams comprising experts from Nippon Koei of Japan and the Vietnam Water and Environment Joint Stock Company (VIWASE), the Yen Xa village plant in Hanoi ’s outlying Thanh Tri district will be capable of treating around 270,000 cu. m a day. Meanwhile, the Phu Do village plant in the outlying district of Tu Liem will be able to process 84,000 cu. m of waste water a day. The proposed construction, which is estimated to cost 10 trillion VND in total, should be carried out in two phases with the first phase scheduled to be completed in 2015 before operating in full in 2020. Once completed, those plants are expected to improve water quality in Hanoi ’s rivers, particularly the To Lich. Voice of the Army and the People_ 12/26/08

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, launches US$266 million wastewater treatment plant

A wastewater treatment plant built with official development assistance (ODA) loans from the Japanese government was officially put into operation in Ho Chi Minh City on December 26. The Wastewater Treatment Plant is an essential component of the Water Environment Improvement Project, which received 23,99 billion yen (roughly US$266 million) from the Japanese government’s ODA. The funds were channeled through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under two loan agreements signed in 2001 and 2003. Repayment period of the loan is 30 years. Voice of the Armed Forces_ 12/26/08

Septic upgrades help protect waterways

In recent years, water quality in both the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays has deteriorated. Three major sources -- agricultural runoff, urban runoff and wastewater effluent -- have contributed to this decline by introducing large quantities of phosphorus and nitrogen into the waterways. While the average individual using public sewer is responsible for adding approximately two pounds of nitrogen to the environment annually, the typical person using septic contributes nine pounds during that same period. Wastewater mixes with the groundwater that flows into streams and rivers and that groundwater accounts for more than half of the water in both the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays. Homeowners who upgrade their systems to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering groundwater can play a significant role in decreasing these environmental pollutants. DelMarvaNow.com_ 12/25/08

Bristol, New Hampshire's wastewater treatment plant recognized by EPA for excellence

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently selected the Town of Bristol, New Hampshire’s Wastewater Treatment Plant for a National First Place “Operations and Maintenance Excellence Award” in the Most Improved Plant category. The “Most Improved Plant” category recognizes extraordinary efforts by treatment plant personnel, local officials, and the on-site state operator trainer to return a facility to compliance under a technical assistance program authorized by the Clean Water Act. News Release_ 12/23/08

NWRI calls for water prize nominations
The US National Water Research Institute has begun the nomination process for the 2009 Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize.  NWRI established the Clarke Prize in 1993 to award outstanding individuals who are significantly contributing toward any of the following areas: the discovery, development, improvement, and/or understanding of the issues associated with water quality, quantity, technology, or public policy.  The prize, which includes a medallion and US$ 50,000 award, is one of only a dozen prizes that awards scholarly and practical achievements in water research. It has been designated by the International Congress of Distinguished Awards as one of the most prestigious awards in the world.  Nominations are due by 1 March 2009. Additional information may be found at Desalination.biz_12/12/08

November, 2008

Atlanta, Georgia's $190 million sewer overflow tunnel complete

After three years of digging and pouring concrete, construction crews have completed a deep sewer tunnel that can carry and store up to 177 million gallons of rain and sewage — enough to fill the Georgia Aquarium 21 times. The tunnel gives the city’s combined sewage overflow facilities time to fully treat the mixture of household waste and street wash before sending it back to the Chattahoochee River. The $190 million tunnel has been the most controversial piece of the city’s $4 billion overhaul of its water and sewer system. Opponents wanted Atlanta to modernize its combined sewers by separating sewer pipes from storm drains, as most of the city’s pipes are. Only about 10 percent of Atlanta remains hooked to combined sewers, in the central city. Officials opted for the tunnel because it could be done quicker and with less disruption. Atlanta Journal Constitution_ 11/10/08

Singaporeans drink little of their recycled sewage water

The Queensland, Australia, government has hailed Singapore as a prime example of the success of introducing recycled sewage to the drinking water supply, but most of the water the island nation derives from recycled sewage is used for industrial and commercial purposes. The revelation came as it emerged that the Bligh Government was examining ways of reducing flows of hospital wastes to Queensland's sewerage system. Recycled sewage will comprise between 10 per cent and 25 per cent of the water supply for the 2.6 million residents of southeast Queensland after flows to the Wivenhoe Dam from the Western Corridor Recycled Water Project begin early next year. Singapore Department of Environment and Water communications manager Joy Tan said less than 1 per cent of the Singapore's drinking supply was NEWater, its term for recycled water. Ms Tan said this would rise to no more than 3 per cent over the next three years. "The primary purpose of NEWater is to supply industrial and commercial customers in Singapore," Ms Tan said.

The Australian_ 11/5/08

October, 2008

Millions of children mark UN's first Global Handwashing Day

The UN says it wants to get over the message that this simple routine is one of the most effective ways of preventing killer diseases. Nearly half the world's population do not have access to adequate sanitation. More than 120 million children in 70 countries across five continents are expected to participate in the campaign. "The message we are really trying to get out is the importance of correctly washing your hands with soap and water at the critical times," Unicef's senior Sanitation and Hygiene programme adviser, Therese Dooley, said. "And those critical times are before you cook or prepare food, before you eat and after using the toilet and after cleaning a baby." Unicef says using soap to wash hands, particularly after contact with excreta, can reduce diarrhoeal diseases by over 40% and respiratory infections by 30%. Nearly half the population of South Asia has no access to toilets, whilst in sub-Saharan Africa this figure is as low as 28%. The UN is celebrating 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation. BBC News_ 10/15/08

September, 2008

Ft. Wayne, Indiana, opens $32.4 million project to boost sewer capacity

Mayor Tom Henry and other city officials Friday officially opened the city’s four new primary clarifier tanks at the sewer plant, the latest effort to keep raw sewage out of Fort Wayne’s rivers. The $32.4 million project will help the city treat more sewage each day, preventing more of it from flowing into rivers during heavy rains. Mark Gensic, City Utilities engineer, said the tanks will eventually be able to handle 85 million gallons of sewage each day, a 40 percent increase over existing capacity. Currently, more than 1 billion gallons of untreated sewage flows directly into area rivers, mostly when heavy rains overflow the sewer system. On average, the city’s waterways exceed the E. coli bacteria standards for recreational use 85 days a year. The tanks are part of the city’s $240 million plan to clean up sewers over the next 18 years. City Utilities Director Kumar Menon said a task force is examining ways to finance the massive public works project, although he said rate increases will be part of it. A family who pays $27 a month for sewer service currently would pay more than $85 a month in 2025 with annual 7 percent increases – which are anticipated by the city on average – slightly more than tripling the rate. Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette_ 9/27/08

Pipes OK'd for effluent to dump into Lake Mead

The U.S. Interior Department is allowing construction through public lands of a treatment plant and pipeline that will dump effluent into Lake Mead and the Colorado River. The Bureau of Reclamation and National Park Service Final Environmental Impact Statement Clean Water Coalition Systems Conveyance and Operations Program record of decision was dated Sept. 3. It states the Bureau of Land Management will issue a right-of-way permit to the Clean Water Coalition to construct and operate the “Boulder Islands North Alternative” on BLM land. The pipeline will replace the discharge of effluent through the Las Vegas Wash. The Clean Water Coalition is made up of the wastewater divisions of the City of Las Vegas, the City of Henderson, Nev., and the Clark County (Nev.) Water Reclamation District. Havasu News-Herald_ 9/16/08

General Mills conservation efforts praised

Citing the importance of industry-municipality partnership during one of the worst droughts in Georgia's history, Gov. Sonny Perdue toured the General Mills facility in Covington to see firsthand the company's innovative approach to water conservation enabled by the plant's on-site wastewater treatment facility. The treatment facility recovers and treats the plant's food processing wastewater so thoroughly that the water can be fully reused. The restored water, once treated, is clean enough and pure enough to be used for any purpose. With the new treatment facility, as much as half of the plant's water can now be treated, restored and reused, trimming the plant's overall water consumption by an average of 46 percent -- or about 5.3 million gallons per month. In total, the new facility conserves enough water to supply about 1,000 homes. MarketWatch_9/10/08

August, 2008

England and Wales sewage pipes left 'unregulated'

The Environment Agency has given water companies in England and Wales a "licence to pollute", says a charity. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says sewage is being dumped into rivers and coastal waters by thousands of "unregulated" overflow pipes. It said some 3,500 combined sewer overflows - flood-release mechanisms for sewers carrying both sewage and storm water - needed urgent review. The Environment Agency said most of the overflows were a low pollution risk. BBC News_ 8/3/08

July, 2008

Wolfeboro, New Hampshire sewage treatment system raises concerns about pollution in Lake Winnipesaukee

Wolfeboro's current practice of spraying fields with treated wastewater has resulted in more than a decade of violations in state and federal law. But as New Hampshire Public Radio’s Amy Quinton reports, some Tuftonboro officials fear the new system could pollute Lake Winnipesaukee. Since 2005, Wolfeboro has not been able to add any more connections to its sewer system. That has essentially stopped development in town. Public Works Director David Ford says the town is upgrading its 30 year old wastewater treatment plant.

But Conservation Commissioners in the nearby town of Tuftonboro worry that runoff into a brook will lead to pollution of Lake Winnipesaukee. Construction on the new wastewater treatment system should be finished by December. New Hampshire Public Radio_ 7/30/08

European Investment Bank lends 200 million euros to finance water and wastewater projects in Rome

The European Investment Bank is lending EUR 200 million to ACEA to finance water and wastewater investments in the Province of Rome. ACEA is one of the largest Italian water sector operators, with a population served in excess of 8 million. finchannel.com_ 7/19/08

Two steps completed in repair of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, waste treatment plant; one more step to go

Cedar Rapids' wastewater treatment plant won't be back to pre-flood operation until the end of September, but officials at the plant announced Friday that major progress has been made. Of the three steps in treatment, 100 percent of the city's wastewater is going through the first two steps as of Friday, Environmental Manager Steve Hershner said. The plant, which is along the Cedar River on Bertram Road southeast of Cedar Rapids, was severely damaged in the flood. Bids will be received Thursday on restoring the third step of the process, and whichever contractor is chosen will be expected to have the job done by Sept. 30. Cedar Rapids Gazette_ 7/18/08

High chloride levels found in two Columbia, Missouri city drinking water wells

According to documents supplied to the Missourian by the city Department of Water and Light, high chloride levels in samples taken throughout the city’s well field indicate that effluent being used to flood Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area may be seeping into the well field, according to a 2002 study by Brenda Smith of the U. S. Geological Survey in Columbia. The sewage is treated at Columbia’s wastewater plant and piped to the Missouri River bottoms near McBaine for additional treatment in municipal wetland cells.
Related Articles. Barry Kirchhoff, superintendent of the city water treatment plant, said he’s aware of the Geological Survey findings and the possibility that treated effluent used to flood the state-owned conservation wetlands is affecting groundwater in the Missouri River bottoms that the city relies on for drinking water. Chloride is a major component of salt. Wastewater is high in chloride because urine, which is salty, breaks down and leaves chloride behind. Chloride is not known to be harmful to people, but its presence in the wells is an indicator of change in the water in the alluvial plane that the city’s 15 wells tap into. Columbia Missourian_ 7/15/08

Zimbabwe embarks on sewer plant upgrade to save Harare's drinking water

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority has embarked on a quadrillion-dollar sewer treatment plant upgrading project in a bid to contribute towards saving Harare’s major source of water, Lake Chivero. The lake’s raw water quality has deteriorated in the past few months owing to the release of partially treated sewage from some of Harare’s waste water treatment plants that have not been working effectively. Harare Catchment has seven waste water treatment plants. The major concern is that all are in a state of near collapse. Waste water experts at the water authority have attributed this to lack of effective and consistent maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure for a number of years. They have also pointed out that population growth was another contributing factor as this was exerting pressure on the aged infrastructure. Zimbabwe Sunday Mail_ 7/6/08

June, 2008

Abu Dhabi to build 25-mile sewage tunnel

The Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSSC) is stepping up efforts to implement the Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme (STEP) during the next six years to establish a tunnel that will cater to the immediate, short and long-term needs of Abu Dhabi's wastewater and drainage issues. The STEP project comprises 40 kilometres of deep sewerage tunnel and two new large pumping stations. Omur Akay, Senior Vice President of CH2M Hill Company, said in an interview for Khaleej Times that the company is keen to support Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) and ADSSC. Business Intelligence Middle East_ 6/30/08

Indiana reviewing wastewater release from Pfizer

State and federal officials are working to assess environmental impacts related to a release of water and the possible release of sediments containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from a wastewater lagoon at the Pfizer facility in Terre Haute. Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) staff began investigating the potential release of PCB-contaminated sediments on June 7, when Pfizer personnel reported a dam break at the Pfizer lagoon during heavy rains and flooding. No immediate public health risk has been identified related to the release of wastewater and possible release of sediments from the lagoon. In 1977, the manufacture of PCBs was stopped in the United States due to studies showing a number of serious health effects related to exposure to PCBs. News Release/Inside INdiana Business_ 6/30/08

Cocaine, meth, heroin: City sewers reveal a community's illegal drug choice

Environmental scientists are beginning to use an unsavory new tool -- raw sewage -- to paint an accurate portrait of drug abuse in communities. Like one big, citywide urinalysis, tests at municipal sewage plants in many areas of the United States and Europe, have detected illicit drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana. Law enforcement officials have long sought a way to come up with reliable and verifiable calculations of narcotics use, to identify new trends and formulate policies. Surveys, the backbone of drug-use estimates, are only as reliable as the people who answer them. But sewage does not lie. Since people excrete chemicals in urine and flush it down toilets, measuring raw sewage for street drugs can provide quick, fairly precise snapshots of drug use in communities, even on a particular day. Los Angeles Times_ 6/24/08 (logon required)

In Iowa, raw sewage flowed into flooded rivers

Dozens of sewage treatment plants across Iowa -- including Cedar Rapids’ -- have either overflowed or been shut down, sending raw sewage into rivers, a state spokesman said. Kevin Baskins of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said the Cedar Rapids plant is under water and will be closed down for at least two months. In addition, every sewage treatment plant in the Cedar, Wapsipinicon and Maquoketa river basins in northeast Iowa is under water and shut down. The number of plants that have sent untreated sewage into rivers could reach hundreds before the floods crest statewide, Baskins added. Residents who have to come into contact with river water should ask their doctor for advice on shots, and should bathe as soon as possible after leaving the floodwaters. The contaminants can cause severe intestinal illness and skin, eye and ear infections. Des Moines Register_ 6/13/08

St. Paul, Minnesota, asks residents to limit wastewater

People in St. Paul are being told to limit their wastewater after a part of the city's sewage system collapses. The city said a group of pipes intersect below a manhole. and the tank they lead into collapsed. It happened around 8:00 Monday night. Officials said too much groundwater made the land around the tank too soft. The city says it will take at least a couple days to pump out all the excess water in the area. Once that is done it will take a couple more days to repair the pipes. KHAS_ 6/10/08

Orange County, California, water agencies win the 2008 Stockholm Industry Water Award for pioneering sewer water purification system

WaterWebster Staff

June 4, 2008

Learn how your organization can republish this article at no cost

The award for developing the world's largest groundwater recharge purification plant will be presented to executives from the Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District on Aug. 21 during the 2008 World Water Week in Stockholm. According to a news release announcing the award, the GWR System diverts highly treated sewer water that is currently discharged into the ocean and purifies it through a series of advanced techniques: microfiltration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet disinfection and hydrogen peroxide. The cleaned water is returned to the groundwater basin to increase both water supply and quality. The GWR system has established a blueprint for large-scale wastewater purification that is already being emulated in dry regions and nations, such as Singapore. The Stockholm Industry Water Award honours and encourages business sector contributions to sustainable development in the water sector.

April, 2008

Draining the basin that's Mexico City

The enormous expanse of concrete and asphalt known as Mexico City was once a lake. And each year, starting about this time, it seems hell-bent on becoming one again. The rainy season, which begins in earnest soon, offers an annual reminder to the 20 million residents of the metropolitan area that they inhabit a big tub with no natural drain. In low-lying neighborhoods, residents are so accustomed to seeing a fetid sea of sewage rise in the streets that they have built miniature dikes in front of their homes. Since the days of the Aztecs, inhabitants have labored to manage the waters of the basin cradling modern-day Mexico City. Now they're trying again, with a much-touted, $1.3-billion government effort to revamp the massive but overwhelmed sewer system. The project involves a series of newly installed pump stations, a planned new 30-mile drainage tunnel, and repairs to parts of the 7,400-mile system of aging pipes and tunnels that carries rainwater and human waste from the city. Los Angeles Times_ 4/28/08 (logon required)

ConocoPhillips, GE unit to work on Qatar wastewater cleaning issues

ConocoPhillips, the third-biggest U.S. oil company, and a unit of General Electric Co. said they will work together to develop water solutions in Qatar primarily for the petroleum and petrochemical industries. The water sustainability center, situated in the Qatar Science and Technology Park, is expected to open in late 2008, the companies said today in a statement. Financial terms weren't provided. Fairfield, Conn.-based GE and Houston-based ConocoPhillips will develop cost-effective treatments to remove petrochemical residue from wastewater. About three barrels of water are produced for every barrel of oil produced on average. Bloomberg/Houston Chronicle_ 4/21/08

March, 2008

El Paso, Texas, Holocaust Museum flooded by sewage water

Just six weeks after the El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center celebrated its grand re-opening, the museum has been struck by another setback. Museum employees arrived early Friday to find the museum had been flooded overnight by sewage water. Leslie Novick, the museum's executive director, said none of the museum's Holocaust artifacts were destroyed. "Thankfully, our artifacts are high enough off the ground. The only things that are ruined are things that can be replaced: carpeting, computers and furniture," Novick said. "The offices are what took the brunt of the damage." The cause of the flood is still under investigation, and El Paso Water Utilities crews were on site trying to fix the problem, Novick said. El Paso Times_ 3/14/08

February, 2008

Siemens to supply Georgia Tech with water treatment system
The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) has selected Siemens Water
Technologies to provide multi-million dollar wastewater and ultrapure water
treatment systems for a new, 55 million euros ($80 million) nanotechnology
research centre, located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The wastewater treatment
system will treat acid/or alkaline waste streams, and the ultrapure water treatment
system is designed to meet very tight water quality specifications required by the
Centre’s research programs. Construction on the new centre is slated to be
complete in October, 2008. The new nanotechnology centre will be the most advanced nanotechnology facility in the Southeast, the first of its kind in the region, and will be one of the most sophisticated in the country. Mechanical contractor on both the wastewater and ultrapure water systems is Mann Mechanical, Avondale Estates, GA. Georgia Tech and MW Zander/Whiting-Turner, are the Project engineers. News Release_ 2/25/08

University of Missouri-Rolla students tackle sanitation projects for Engineers Without Borders

Last summer, the 15 Rolla engineering students traveled to the Bolivian villages of Inka Katurapi and Rio Colorado, both outside the capital of La Paz. In Inka Katurapi, they taught the roughly 80 families living in mud brick homes how to build, operate and maintain composting latrines for each family. In Rio Colorado, another group of students mixed mortar and laid bricks to build new showers for a school and installed plumbing to handle the increased water flow. Last year, they replaced the school’s shallow, bacteria-filled wells with deeper ones. “I know that when I graduate I’m going to use my degree to do this kind of work,” said Tom Scroggin, a 21-year-old Rolla senior from Kansas City, who worked on the Rio Colorado project. “It’s powerful knowing the scope of how much you can affect the world." Established in 2002, Engineers Without Borders-USA has about 200 chapters around the country and 8,000 members. Sixty percent of the chapters are made up of college students. AP/Park Hills Daily Journal_ 2/8/08

January, 2008

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell allocates $1.7 million to communities for wastewater infrastructure

The $568,230 in sewage facilities enforcement grants announced today will help 188 municipalities enforce on-lot sewage system requirements. The grants reimburse local governments for costs associated with permitting these systems. Another $1 million in sewage facilities planning grants was awarded to municipalities, counties and authorities to reimburse the costs associated with preparing and revising official plans that ensure the adequate operation and maintenance of sewage facilities. The Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, known as Act 537, requires municipalities--either individually or as members of multi-municipal sewage agencies--to enforce on-lot sewage system requirements. Requirements include evaluating and permitting new systems, properly repairing malfunctioning systems, and investigating complaints in a timely manner. News Release_ 1/23/08

California store owners sue over sewage water in their taps; Candy store closes

Store owners at an Eastlake California business park who discovered that recycled sewage water was flowing through their taps have sued the Otay Water District, Chula Vista and their landlord.  The owners of Candy Bouquet, a gift store that closed in November, filed their lawsuit Wednesday. Attorney Anthony Dain, who represents the store, said other business owners were filing similar suits this week.  In August, owners of the 17 stores at the Fenton Business Center discovered they had been getting treated sewage water in their pipes for two years because a recycled-water pipe had been connected to a meter for drinking water. The problem was corrected, but store owners at the park said their businesses suffered. Another store, Dream Dinners, also closed.  The lawsuits allege that Otay failed to assure the waterlines were correctly connected and that Chula Vista improperly approved the flawed plans.  Otay General Manager Mark Watton said he could not comment because he has not seen the lawsuits. He said Otay has settled 60 claims in connection with the incident. SignOnSanDiego.com_1/4/08

Orange County sewage will soon be drinking water
As a hedge against water shortages and population growth, Orange County, California has begun operating the world's largest, most modern reclamation plant -- a facility that can turn 70 million gallons of treated sewage into drinking water every day.  The new purification system at the Orange County Water District headquarters in Fountain Valley cost about $490 million and comprises a labyrinth of pipes, filters, holding tanks and pumps across 20 acres.  Almost four years after construction began, the facility is now purifying effluent from a neighboring sewage treatment plant run by the Orange County Sanitation District, a partner in the venture.  The finished product will be injected into the county's vast groundwater basin to combat saltwater intrusion and supplement drinking water supplies for 2.3 million people in coastal, central and northern Orange County.  But before that can be done, state health officials must certify that the reclaimed water meets drinking water standards. Officials expect the approval to be granted before opening ceremonies Jan. 25.  Los Angeles Times_1/2/08




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