During Drinking Water Week, AWWA focuses on daily vital role of water

DENVER — May 3, 2016 — The American Water Works Association (AWWA) celebrates the 35th Drinking Water Week with the theme “Your Water — To Know It Is To Love It.” The week focuses on how water affects our daily quality of life.

The organization encourages consumers to identify lead service lines in their homes during the 35th Drinking Water Week, according to a press release 

People may be at risk of lead exposure if they live in homes with lead service lines. Licensed plumbers can identify and replace these lines. Consumers who find the lines should also discuss it with their local water utilities.

In addition, certified laboratories should also test the water. Local utilities can recommend these facilities.

Water bill passes Senate committee

WASHINGTON — April 28, 2016 — The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) with a vote of 19-1 and the bill will now go before the full Senate.

The bill authorizes 25 projects in 17 states which would be overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also authorizes grant assistance to enable disadvantaged communities to comply with the Clean Water Act; promotes new water supply technologies; and reauthorizes the Water Resources Research Act and the Water Desalination Act of 1996.

As part of the bill, the Senate committee approved a $220 million aid package for Flint, Michigan, to help the city deal with the water crisis and public health emergency caused by high levels of lead in its drinking water.

The legislation would also require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to warn the public about high lead levels in drinking water if local officials fail to do so.

San Diego water authority says local supply is safe and reliable

SAN DIEGO — April 29, 2016 — Releasing its draft Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP), the San Diego County Water Authority said that San Diego County will continue to have a safe and reliable water supply for decades. Urban Water Management Plans must be updated every five years by law.

The draft plan — known as the 2015 UWMP based on when the updating process began — estimates that the region’s future water demands will be about 14 percent lower in 2020 and about 15 percent lower in 2035 compared to projections in the 2010 plan.

This is because of changes in demographic and economic projections as well as long-term improvements in water-use efficiency by residents and businesses. To meet projected demands, the water authority anticipates continued development of highly reliable, locally controlled water supplies such as new recycling and groundwater recovery projects.

U.K. water utility fined $1.6 million for sewage discharge

BRADFORD, United Kingdom — April 29, 2016 — Water utility Yorkshire Water in the north of England was fined £1.1 million ($1.6 million) after a 2013 monitoring survey found a large volume of effluent discharging from the treatment works into the river.

According to the Environment Agency, the sewage overflowed into the river because of a pump failure at the treatment works. The company is legally required to have at least one backup pump available in case any of the others fail.

At the time of the incident, when one of the pumps failed, the backup was not operational. It had been out of use for five months, in breach of the utility’s environmental permit. With only two pumps working, sewage flowed into emergency storage tanks, filled them up, and then approximately 6,000 cubic meters of sewage overflowed through an old outfall into the river, at a location where discharges are not permitted.

A site inspection by the Environment Agency just over a year later revealed that the backup pump was out of operation again. The pump had been taken away for repair, but had not been replaced.

Since the incident, Yorkshire Water has installed an alarm system to warn of potential overflows and increased the number of workers at the site, BBC News reported.