WaterWorld Weekly Newscast: July 15, 2011

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The following is a transcript of the July 15, 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...
• House passes controversial water bill
• Water utility employee caught embezzling
• Perchlorate found in Duncan, OK, water wells
• Update on Yellowstone River oil spill
• Bottled water in Beijing contaminated

[story1]
This week the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2018, the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act, which, if signed into law, would severely limit EPA's authority to enforce the Clean Water Act.

Under the legislation, EPA would be unable to take action when State water quality standards are inadequate or when a state's Clean Water Act permit program is not protective of public health.

The Office of Management and Budget released a statement this week strongly opposing the legislation and stating that if the President is presented with it, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

[story2]
A water utility employee in West Terre Haute, Indiana, has been charged with theft and corrupt business influence for stealing more than $100,000 dollars from the city's utility department.

A recent audit showed that, in total, more than $350,000 has gone missing since 2007.

Two other water utility employees are also being investigated in connection with the crime, but have not been charged.

Water department customers raised concerns about their bills during that period, questioning whether they might have been overcharged.

An investigation, however, did not find any evidence of customers' accounts being tampered with and officials are assuring residents that they should continue to pay their bills.

[story3]
Eighteen water wells in Duncan, Oklahoma, have been found to be contaminated with perchlorate.

The wells are located near Halliburton's former missile fuel disposal site on the north side of town.

Although it's been 20 years since Halliburton suspended its Duncan operations, the company said it believes the work probably contributed to the groundwater contamination there.

Halliburton is working with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality on a long-term solution. In the meantime, the company is supplying affected residents with bottled water and also agreed to pay for health screenings.

[story4]
Progress is ongoing in cleaning up the Yellowstone River oil spill in Montana.

EPA said there are currently 750 personnel on site. The majority of them are in the field engaged in cleanup or sampling activities.

EPA On-Scene Coordinator Steve Merritt said they're focusing efforts on vegetation and shoreline cleanup and trying to minimize further impact to the local ecosystem.

Along with other cleanup efforts, crews have used over 36,000 feet of absorbent booms and 260,000 absorbent pads.

The spill occurred when an ExxonMobil pipeline burst on July 1, spilling around 1,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River.

[story5]
In international news...

Thirty-one brands of bottled water were yanked off store shelves in Beijing last week after failing safety testing.

Random inspections detected bacteria colonies in the water -- one brand had bacteria levels 9,000 times above safety standards.

Quality control issues at the bottled water factories are being blamed but the investigation is ongoing.

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

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