WaterWorld Weekly: May 5, 2011

May 5, 2011
Transcript of the May 5, 2011, edition of the WaterWorld Weekly newscast...
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The following is a transcript of the May 5, 2011, edition of the WaterWorld Weekly newscast.

Hi, I'm Angela Godwin, digital media editor for WaterWorld magazine, bringing you this week's water and wastewater news headlines. Coming up...

• Canal breach could lead to water emergency
• Massachusetts water authority prepares to file lawsuit
• Levee blast eases flooding but fears remain
• California water officials optimistic over snow pack
• Enviro groups sue Chicago water authority
• Tepco to start water reuse at reactor in June


The Water Agency in Placer County, California, is contemplating declaring a water emergency there after a canal servicing the area broke nearly three weeks ago.

A 40-foot section was destroyed during a landslide in April, but according to a PG&E spokesperson, the damaged area has almost doubled since then.

PG&E crews have been working on a temporary fix while waiting on the results of geo-technical studies of the stability of the area.

In the meantime, Placer County Water Agency is growing alarmed that its 150,000 customers could experience a water shortage this summer. At particular risk are the Agency's 4000 irrigation customers who could experience outages as a result of the damage.

PG&E said it will have a plan by May 10.


Last year's massive water main break that cut off drinking water to almost 2-million Boston area residents could be seeing the inside of a courtroom.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority is preparing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against several companies involved in the original design, engineering and construction of the pipe project eight years ago.

The water main break resulted from a failed coupling at the high-pressure juncture of two 10-foot-diameter water mains.

A forensic analysis report of the recovered clamp pieces is expected to be released within the next two weeks.

Through legal action, MWRA hopes to recover the millions of dollars it cost to fix the rupture and coordinate emergency measures.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blast holes in the Birds Point Levee in Missouri this past week, in hopes of alleviating the swollen Ohio River that was threatening to inundate the town of Cairo.

The river had reached a record 61.72 feet and was still rising before the detonation late Monday night.

Ohio River levels initially dropped about a foot after the blast, but still remain at dangerously high levels despite a second breaching at a section in New Madrid on Tuesday. A third blast is planned for Wednesday near Kickman, Kentucky.

The controversial decision to breach the levee will result in the flooding of about 130,000 acres of farmland. Farmers have already launched a class action suit against the Army Corps of Engineers.


Water officials in California are encouraged by massive amount of snow pack left in the Sierra.

Department of Water Resources said the water content statewide is about 144 percent of the April first season average, which is when the snowpack typically peaks.

Most of the state's reservoirs contain more water than normal for this time of year.

The agency estimates being able to deliver about 80 percent of the water for State Water Project customers -- up from 50 percent last year.


A coalition of conservation groups has launched a suit against the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

The agency, they say, is polluting Chicago area waters with excess amounts of phosphorus as well as raw sewage from combined sewer overflows.

The three plants at the heart of the lawsuit include Calumet, North Side, and Stickney, which are the largest in the state and treat about a billion gallons of wastewater a day.

The suit was filed by NRDC, Sierra Club and Prairie Rivers Network and accuses MWRD of falling behind other major metropolitan cities in wastewater and stormwater treatment efforts.


In international news...

Tokyo Electric Power Co. -- or Tepco -- will begin decontaminating water used to cool reactors at the crippled Fukushima Nuclear Plant in June.

The water treatment unit uses technology from Areva and Kurion to process 1.2 million liters of contaminated water per day. The treated water can then be reused to cool the reactors.

The water treatment unit is part of a larger decontamination facility that includes storage tanks and desalination systems designed by Toshiba and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy.

Until the unit is operational, Tepco is pumping out and storing the contaminated water in temporary storage tanks.

For WaterWorld magazine, I'm Angela Godwin. Thanks for watching.


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