WaterBriefs: Pittsburgh engineering unit wins U.S. military support contract

In other news: Louisville, Jefferson County settle on SSO/CSO case; AK Steel's Mansfield Plant to pay $187,500 EPA fine; AWWA - House retains MTBE provision that would soak water consumers; Mayors decry multi-billion dollar MTBE unfunded mandate approved by House...

In other news below:
-- Louisville, Jefferson County settle over SSO/CSO case likely to cost $500 mln
-- AK Steel's Mansfield Plant to pay $187,500 in EPA, Justice Dept. settlement
-- AWWA: House retains MTBE provision that would soak water consumers
-- Mayors decry multi-billion dollar MTBE unfunded mandate by House

Pittsburgh engineering unit wins U.S. military support contract
Michael Baker Jr. Inc. receives contract up to $30 million from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Programs Center...
PITTSBURGH, April 25, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -- Michael Baker Jr. Inc., an engineering unit of Michael Baker Corp. has won the award of a contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Programs Center (USACE-TAC), to provide architecture, engineering and construction management services throughout TAC's Area of Responsibility (AOR), which includes Africa, the Middle East and other areas. The five-year task order contract has a monetary ceiling of $10 million for the first year with four, one-year options. The option years have a yearly ceiling of $5 million.

Under the contract, Baker will be providing a full spectrum of planning, pre-design, preliminary and final design and construction-phase services in support of TAC's mission to support deployed U.S. military forces, including the U.S. Central Command, and to support the engineering requirements of other U.S. and foreign agencies. The company expects to begin receiving task orders under the contract during the second quarter of 2005.

"We are honored to have been selected for this contract, and we are looking forward to supporting TAC on their mission in the Global War on Terrorism, as well as assisting with the broader mission of capacity building in the AOR," Jeffrey Hill, assistant vice president and USACE-TAC program manager, said.

Baker has a long-standing professional relationship with TAC, and most recently completed several high profile projects throughout TAC's Area of Responsibility.

Michael Baker Corporation (www.mbakercorp.com) provides engineering and operations and maintenance services for its clients' most complex challenges worldwide. The firm's primary practice areas are aviation, environmental, facilities, geospatial information technologies, linear utilities, transportation, water/wastewater, and oil & gas. With more than 4,200 employees in over 40 offices across the United States and internationally, Baker is focused on providing services that span the complete life cycle of infrastructure and managed asset projects.

Clean Water Act agreement announced with Louisville, Jefferson County
WASHINGTON, DC, April 25, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- The U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Commonwealth of Kentucky's Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) jointly announced today a comprehensive Clean Water Act settlement with the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).

The settlement ensures that MSD will make extensive improvements to its sewer systems to eliminate unauthorized discharges of untreated sewage and to address problems of overflows from sewers that carry a combination of untreated sewage and storm water at a cost likely to exceed $500 million. Throughout the year, MSD's sewer systems are overwhelmed by rainfall resulting in unlawful discharges of untreated sewage and overflows of combined sewage into the Ohio River and its tributaries totaling billions of gallons each year.

The Commonwealth filed a civil suit against MSD in state court in February, 2004 and has been negotiating since that time with MSD to reach an agreement. A consent decree, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in Louisville, represents the combined efforts of both the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the United States, which have entered into this settlement as plaintiff and intervening plaintiff, respectively.

The consent decree will require MSD to: propose and implement specific corrective action plans to bring overflows from its combined sewers that carry a combination of both untreated sewage and storm water into compliance with water quality standards; propose and implement specific corrective action plans to eliminate unauthorized discharges from its sanitary sewers that carry just untreated sewage (the worst discharges, representing about 75% of the total, must be addressed by no later than 2013); improve its management, operation and maintenance programs to prevent future overflows; and respond to overflows when they occur.

"This settlement represents a monumental step forward in improving water quality in the Commonwealth of Kentucky," Governor Ernie Fletcher said. "These issues have never been addressed in a meaningful way in Kentucky, and the cooperation of federal, state and local entities was key to moving forward expeditiously. It's a win win win."

"Old sewage systems across our nation allow significant water pollution to occur," said Thomas V. Skinner, EPA's Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "The Louisville settlement is a great example of the progress that can be made when federal, state and local governments work together. Collaboration like this can be a model for other cities to achieve cleaner water, faster."

"This joint enforcement action represents tremendous team work between federal and state partners that will bring long-term, significant environmental improvements to the Louisville area and the Ohio River system," said Kelly Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This case is another outstanding example of how federal and state agencies can work together to achieve compliance with our environmental regulations."

MSD was created to provide sanitary sewer and storm water drainage service for residential, commercial, and industrial entities throughout the City of Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky. MSD is responsible for the operation and maintenance of six major regional wastewater treatment facilities, 21 minor treatment plants, and about 3,000 miles of sewer lines. About 23% of these sewer lines are served by a combined system of single pipes that carry both untreated sewage and storm water to the Morris Forman Waste Water Treatment Plant. The remaining 77% of MSD's system carries untreated sewage separate from storm water. The capacity of MSD's sewer systems can be overwhelmed after rainfall, resulting in unauthorized discharges averaging 175 million gallons of untreated sewage from the separated system annually. In 2004 alone, however, MSD's separated system experienced over 500 million gallons of unauthorized discharges of untreated sewage. In addition, rainfall events cause combined sewer overflows (or CSOs) of untreated sewage and storm water totaling an average of 4.5 billion gallons annually. These unauthorized discharges and CSOs have affected water quality in the Ohio River and its tributaries, including Beargrass Creek.

The consent decree also requires MSD to pay a civil penalty of $1 million to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and, under Commonwealth supervision, perform $2.25 million in Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs). The purposes of the SEPs are to provide public health screenings for residents of neighborhoods adjacent to the industrialized areas of the western portion of Louisville; perform, or provide funding for groups that will perform, efforts to raise environmental awareness and stewardship for the local and regional community; and convert and reclaim the former Lee's Lane Landfill into an area for public use.

"This settlement reflects our commitment to work with state and local agencies to resolve legal disputes cooperatively and in the best interests of the public," commented Jimmy Palmer, EPA Regional Administrator in Atlanta. "We are pleased that EPA and the Commonwealth of Kentucky are collaborating as plaintiffs in this settlement, as it will go a long way toward improving the health of the Ohio River and its tributaries in the Louisville area."

"Protecting the Commonwealth's waters is one of the top priorities of our Cabinet," added Kentucky EPPC secretary LaJuana Wilcher. "We plan to continue working with other communities on wet weather issues such as CSOs and storm water. That's vital to improving our water quality."

In the past, the United States has reached similar agreements with numerous municipal entities across the country including Mobile; Jefferson County (Birmingham), Alabama; Atlanta; Knoxville; Miami; New Orleans; Toledo; Hamilton County (Cincinnati), Ohio; Baltimore; and Los Angeles.

The proposed consent decree with MSD is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval before becoming effective.

For more information, go to: www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/cwa/louisville.html

AK Steel's Mansfield Plant to pay $187,500 in EPA, Justice Dept. settlement
CHICAGO, April 22, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and the U.S. Department of Justice announced they have settled with AK Steel for alleged water pollution violations at its Mansfield, Ohio, plant. The company will pay a penalty of $187,500.

In a complaint filed simultaneously with the settlement on April 19, EPA alleged that on numerous occasions between April 1999 and May 2004, AK Steel's manufacturing plant exceeded its permit limits for copper, zinc, iron, oil and grease, suspended solids and toxicity for discharges to the Rocky Fork of the Mohican River. It also alleged that on several occasions between November 1999 and April 2000, the plant discharged wastewater containing mercury and oil and grease from its acid pickling and cold rolling processes to the Mansfield wastewater treatment plant in violation of the city's sewer use ordinance.

Since Oct. 1, 1999, AK Steel has owned and operated the steel manufacturing facility at 913 Bowman St., Mansfield, where it melts scrap steel, metal alloys and other additives to produce slabs that are rolled into steel coils.

AWWA: House retains MTBE provision that would soak water consumers
DENVER, April 21, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- The U.S. House of Representatives today approved an Energy Bill that includes a provision granting gasoline makers defective product liability immunity in cases where water has been contaminated by the additive MTBE. The MTBE "safe harbor" provision effectively shifts the burden of cleanup from the industry that created MTBE to local water providers, communities and consumers.

In response, Jack W. Hoffbuhr, executive director of AWWA, issued the below statement.

"It's very disappointing that so many of our members of Congress today chose to support the MTBE 'safe harbor' provision at the expense of local communities and water consumers. Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office categorized the MTBE provision as an unfunded mandate on state and local governments, yet some elected leaders actually voted to invalidate lawsuits brought by their own communities.

"If it were to become law, this legislative end-run would effectively strip communities of their ability to address MTBE water contamination in court. That would saddle everyday citizens with enormous MTBE cleanup bills and the considerable burden of finding new water sources.

"As the Energy Bill dialogue shifts to the Senate, the water community will continue to fight against this egregious provision. During the last Congress, the Energy Bill stalled in the U.S. Senate largely because many members of Congress voted with their consciences instead of with powerful special interests. American citizens deserve a common-sense energy policy that's not encumbered by the cynical politics reflected in the MTBE safe harbor provision."

Established in 1881, AWWA (www.awwa.org) is the oldest and largest nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to safe water in North America. AWWA has over 57,000 members worldwide and its 4,700 utility members serve 80% of America's population.

Mayors decry multi-billion dollar MTBE unfunded mandate approved by House
WASHINGTON, DC, April 21, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors released the following statement with regard to passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of a bill containing a provision shielding MTBE producers from liability for contamination of the nation's water resources.

"The nation's mayors express their extreme disappointment that the U.S. House of Representatives chose to impose a significant financial burden upon local budgets and local taxpayers rather than require the responsible parties -- MTBE manufacturers -- to pay the cost of cleaning up polluted local drinking water supplies.

"The House has imposed another unfunded federal mandate on the backs of local governments, and missed a real opportunity to reaffirm the full intent and spirit of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, which is now enjoying its 10th anniversary.

"We thank the many members in the House who supported the amendment to strike a provision in the Energy Bill that grants immunity to the manufactures of MTBE, which despite bi-partisan support narrowly lost by a mere 6-vote margin of 213 to 219.

"We are hopeful that the U.S. Senate will reject this unwarranted cost shift to local governments and their taxpayers."

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (www.usmayors.org) is the official nonpartisan organization of the nation's 1183 U.S. cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Each city is represented in the by its chief elected official, the mayor.

For additional news briefs, see:
-- "WaterBriefs: Acquisition risks for utilities topic at regional conference": ALSO in this report (April 25, 2005): Cytec to sell share of CYRO Industries joint venture; SecureWave partners with Gotham Technology Group; Baltimore adopts watershed protection plan for waterways; Three PennWorks projects to add 20,000 jobs, $670 million investment; Optelecom announces name change to Optelecom-NKF

-- "WaterBriefs: PICO to supply water for new community in Lincoln County, Nev.": ALSO in this report (April 22, 2005): CarteGraph heads to Florida, Arizona for user groups; Unico mining approval includes extensive water treatment; and New Jersey American Water to host ceremony for new Springfield facilities...

-- "WaterBriefs: Antibacterial research should focus on facts, not fear": ALSO in this report (April 15, 2005): Cytec hikes prices on water treatment chemicals; Beverage reports out for France, East Asia; U.S.-Russia filter in Space Technology Hall of Fame; MWD authorizes groundwater recovery projects; ACWA enters solar energy partnership; PennFuture lauds $625M environmental bond; Home Depot, Lowe's asked to sell non-toxic lawn pesticides; Citect wins Cincinnati Water Works project; Ecolab's quat sanitizer offers disinfection solution; Calif. to offer desalination, groundwater grants...

-- "WaterBriefs: Aqua America unit builds wastewater business with two acquisitions": ALSO in this report (April 1, 2005): Pirnie-McGuire Environmental merger done; Ohio county wins biosolids EMS certification; Koch Industries sponsors DC watershed cleanup; Judge scraps Nestle deal to buy half-billion gallons of spring water; Insituform pipeline tunneling unit honored; UK aids P&G clean water effort in Haiti; AchemAmerica focuses on process technologies at Mexico City event; Aqua-Aerobic breaks ground to expand; WEF, others commemorate World Water Day...

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