WaterWorld Weekly Newscast, January 21, 2019

Jan. 21, 2019
A transcript of the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for January 21, 2019.
N.Y. gov calls for $2.5B investment in water infrastructure; Cleaning wastewater with algae; NH considers lowering arsenic limits; Pease to clean up stormwater runoff; Contractor drowns in wastewater tank; Massive fatberg found in Sidmouth

The following is a transcript of the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for January 21, 2019.

Hi, I'm Angela Godwin for WaterWorld magazine, bringing you water and wastewater news headlines for the week of January 21. Coming up...

N.Y. gov calls for $2.5B investment in water infrastructure
Cleaning wastewater with algae
NH considers lowering arsenic limits
Pease to clean up stormwater runoff
Contractor drowns in wastewater tank
Massive fatberg found in Sidmouth

In his State of the State address last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined an ambitious environmental agenda that includes investing $2.5 billion in clean water infrastructure.

"It is our generational obligation to make sure we leave this place better than we found it," he said.

The investment is part of the larger $10 billion Green Future Fund outlined in the governor's 2019 Justice Agenda, which includes $5 billion in total for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

A number of research and pilot projects have studied using algae to clean wastewater but a recurring challenge is the variability of wastewater quality. The fluctuation in available nitrogen and phosphorus can make it difficult to maintain algae growth.

But now researchers at the University of Arkansas have discovered that a certain single-celled fresh water algae species, Chlorella vulgaris, can handle fluctuations in nutrient content.

In fact, this particular type of algae can survive, even in the absence of either nitrogen or phosphorus, making it an effective tool for wastewater treatment.

Last June, New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services was directed to review the state's arsenic standard for drinking water and groundwater.

As a result, DES is recommending that arsenic limits in the state be lowered from the federal limit of 10 ppb down to 5.

It's estimated that implementing the lower limit would cost the state's public water systems a total of $1 million initially, with ongoing annual maintenance costs of about $4 million.

If the lower limit is passed by state legislature, New Hampshire would join New Jersey as the only states with arsenic limits more stringent than the federal standard.

In another story out of New Hampshire, developers of Pease International Tradeport, a commercial district built on the former site of Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, have reached an agreement to resolve Clean Water Act violations.

Under the settlement, the Pease Development Authority has agreed to obtain a federal municipal storm sewer permit and clean up stormwater pollution emanating from the site.

The PDA will also evaluate the presence and toxicity of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have been detected in nearby surface waters and in groundwater at the former base.

The agreement also directs PDA to pilot emerging technologies for the treatment of PFAS contamination.

The body of a testing and maintenance contractor was discovered in a holding tank at the Metamora wastewater treatment plant in Franklin County, Indiana, last week.

Deputies were responding to a missing person's report filed by the victim's family.

Preliminary reports indicate that the man drowned and that his death was an accident.

The case, however, is still under investigation.

In international news, a 210-foot-long fatberg -- the length of 6 double-decker buses -- was discovered in the coastal town of Sidmouth in southwest England.

The sewer worker who found the monster fatberg described it as looking "like something out of a horror scene."

South West Water plans to begin removing the fatberg on February 4. In the meantime, the utility has opened a 'pop-up' shop -- called "Stop the Block" -- to help educate the public about fatbergs and what can -- and cannot -- be put down the drain.

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