WaterWorld Weekly Newscast, December 10, 2018

Dec. 10, 2018
A transcript for the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for December 10, 2018.
$27M in upgrades for Niagara Falls wastewater plant; N.M. puts U.S. Air Force on notice for groundwater contamination; USDA invests $1.2B in rural water, wastewater infrastructure; EPA, USDA encourage collaborative approach to nutrient reduction

The following is a transcript for the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for December 10, 2018.

Hi, I'm Angela Godwin for WaterWorld magazine, bringing you water and wastewater news headlines for the week of December 10. Coming up...

$27 million in upgrades for Niagara Falls wastewater plant
New Mexico puts U.S. Air Force on notice for groundwater contamination
USDA invests $1.2B in rural water, wastewater infrastructure
EPA, USDA encourage collaborative approach to nutrient reduction
EPA says mine spill had little effect on fish, aquatic life

A major upgrade project was announced last week for the Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment plant.

Driven in part by a July 2017 discharge of black water into the Niagara River, the $27 million investment will be split between the state and the Niagara Falls Water Board.

Some of the planned projects include improving primary treatment systems and equipment, making improvements to the sedimentation basin and related equipment, and rehabilitating the Gorge Pumping Station.

In addition, screens and grit removal equipment will be replaced, the dewatering system will be upgraded, and the granular activated carbon system will be replaced.

A completion date was not specified, but according to the consent order, a workplan and construction schedule are due in June.

The New Mexico Environment Department issued a notice of violation last week to the U.S. Air Force for failing to properly address groundwater contamination at Cannon Air Force Base.

For nearly 40 years, the base utilized fire-fighting foam containing per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, which have been detected at elevated levels in groundwater on and off the base.

Specifically, the notice requires the U.S. Air Force to identify short-term corrective measures to address water quality for irrigation and livestock, and to evaluate the feasibility of one or more treatment systems on contaminated water supply wells.

If the Air Force fails to comply with NMED's notice, it could face civil penalties of up to $15,000 per day, per violation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week that it is investing $1.2 billion to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure in 46 states.

Through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program, USDA is providing financing for 234 water and environmental infrastructure projects for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Some of the projects include $2.5 million to replace the primary water transmission line for the Berlin Municipal Water System in Pennsylvania, and $3.2 million plus a $390,000 grant to construct two miles of water line and a 500,000-gallon water storage tank for the Todd County Water District in Kentucky.

Funding from this USDA program can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems. Eligible communities and water districts can apply online at rd.usda.gov, or through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

The U.S. EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a letter last week to state co-regulators that encourages increased engagement and a reinvigoration of state, tribal, and federal efforts to reduce excess nutrients in waterways, with a focus on market-based and other collaborative approaches.

Some of these include water quality credit trading, public-private partnerships, pay-for success, supply chain programs, and more.

The two agencies say they are committed to working with states, tribes, and stakeholders to identify watersheds and basins where market-based approaches can supplement traditional regulatory programs to promote meaningful reductions in excess nutrients and improved water quality.

For more information visit epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data.

EPA recently released a Biological Response Report analyzing the effects of the 2015 Gold King Mine spill on select biological organisms living in the Animas and San Juan rivers.

EPA found that while some fish accumulated metals immediately after the mine release, levels returned to background conditions when samples were collected again the following spring.

Based on the analysis of the available pre- and post-release data, EPA also concluded there were no measurable changes to fish populations and bottom-dwelling organisms after the Gold King Mine release.

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

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