WaterWorld Weekly: May 26, 2011

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The following is a transcript from the May 26, 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...

• Bolt failure caused Boston water main break
• Wyoming pipeline study suspended
• State sues over nuclear plant water permit
• Aspen to open water bottle filling stations
• China to release water from Three Gorges Dam

[story1]
The independent panel investigating last year's massive water main break in Boston has concluded that bolt failure was the cause.

The panel said in its report released earlier this week that bolts in the coupling holding two 10-foot-diameter pipe sections together exhibited pre-existing thread cracks, which likely occurred during or shortly after installation.

The additional pressure of water flowing through the pipes would have eventually fractured the weakest bolt, transferring pressure load to the remaining studs.

The bolts would have fractured one by one until the entire coupling finally failed.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority announced it was preparing a lawsuit against parties involved in the pipe's original installation project. The Authority has yet to release specific names.

[story2]
The Army Corps of Engineers has halted its environmental review of a proposed pipeline that would carry about 250,000 acre feet of water per year from the Green River in southwestern Wyoming to as far south as Pueblo, Colorado.

The review has been in progress for the past two years with a projected completion in 2016. The developer of the pipeline requested that the agency suspend its study while he considers whether the project might generate electricity. If so, he expressed interest in realigning with a different government agency.

[story3]
The relicensing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is a violation of the Clean Water Act.

That's what Vermont's Department of Public Service and the New England Coalition are claiming in a lawsuit filed last week against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The commission, they said, abused its discretion when it granted Vermont Yankee a new 20-year license without the plant having either a water quality certificate or a waiver from the state of Vermont.

The Department of Public Service is asking the Federal Court to review the relicensing activities and reject the proposed license until Entergy, owners of the Vermont Yankee plant, can produce a valid water quality certificate.

[story4]

City officials in Aspen, Colorado, have given the green light to the 'Aspen Tap' program, a campaign to reduce the use of bottled water in the city.

The city will spend about $20,000 dollars on reusable, stainless steel water bottles. Some will be given away and the rest sold to residents. An additional $10,000 will be spent on filling stations around town where folks can fill up with municipal tap water.

The program, they say, is intended to reduce plastic waste.

[story5]
In international news...

Over the next couple of weeks, the Chinese government plans to release an unprecedented 5 billion cubic meters of water from the Three Gorges Dam to help alleviate the extreme drought conditions in the Yangtze delta.

Roughly 4 and a 1/2 million people and 3 million farm animals have been impacted by the dry conditions. In April and May, rainfall along the Yangtze was down 40 to 50 percent below normal historical averages.

More than 1300 lakes in the region have been declared 'dead', meaning they cannot be used for irrigation or drinking water.

Earlier this month, 1.8 billion cubic meters was released. Officials hope this larger surge will provide additional relief but are concerned about the impacts on power supply.

The dam is the world's largest hydroelectric power plant, with a total capacity of about 18.2 gigawatts. The decreased water levels could result in electricity shortages over the summer.

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

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