E-News May 8, 2023
05/08/2023 - Weekly KRWA E-News
Pipe Manufacturers Blast Report that Claimed PVC Pipes are Risky for Drinking Water
A report warning water systems against the use of PVC pipes in water systems sparked swift and resounding criticism from the plastics industry, its advocates and at least one leading scientific expert. Representatives of several trade groups, including the Plastics Pipe Institute, the Vinyl Institute and Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association, claimed falsehoods and fear-mongering littered the report that a coalition of U.S. environmental advocacy groups released last month. “There is so much wrong with it, it is hard to know where to start,” said Bruce Hollands, executive director of Uni-Bell, a national nonprofit organization that touts itself as “the authoritative source of information" on PVC pipe for water and sewer use. Industry leaders told USA TODAY there is no credible evidence that PVC pipes, which have been used for decades, are unsafe for use in drinking water systems and that multiple studies have shown they're more environmentally friendly than metal pipes. They said the recent report was biased and "confused." Spearheaded by the nonprofit Beyond Plastics, based at Bennington College, Vermont, the 56-page report raised concerns about the health consequences of chemicals in PVC pipes leaching chemicals into drinking water, as well as the environmental impact of their production. It cited research that documented as many as 50 chemicals released into the water by PVC pipes and their fittings, and it called the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment in February the latest in a string of environmental disasters connected with PVC production. The train was carrying vinyl chloride, which is used to make PVC and CPVC – or polyvinyl chloride and chlorinated polyvinyl chloride. The report also criticizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allowing cities and states to use $15 billion in federal dollars from its Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to replace lead water service lines with PVC pipes. [SOURCE]
Phoenix to Recycle Wastewater into Drinking Water
The city of Phoenix announced its plans to recycle wastewater for drinking purposes in the near future as Arizona is on the heels of even more cuts due to the shrinking Colorado River. The plan is set to be implemented within the Valley by 2030. "Since we live in a desert, I think it's good we will be putting some things in place like that," said one Phoenix resident. "I wouldn't be comfortable with knowing my toilet water is being used as drinking water," said another resident. Regardless of the uncomfortable thoughts, it would have to meet all drinking water standards set by the federal government under the Safe Drinking Water Act. "The water that you get out of the back end is very, very similar to bottled water, especially in terms of its taste," said Cynthia Campbell, water resources management advisor with the city of Phoenix. The city of Phoenix has been operating a wastewater treatment plant for decades. The recycled water is currently used for cooling purposes at the Palo Verde nuclear facility and put back into the Salt River for agricultural or habitat use. Now, the city will be expanding the treatment plant to add new treatment technology. "We will recycle around 60 million gallons per day upon completion," said Mayor Kate Gallego. What makes the option so appealing, is the fact that the Colorado River is dwindling. The Biden Administration just released competing plans for how the seven Western states, that pull water from that supply, should cut their use. Arizona is likely to be hit hard. "We always had more water than we needed for build out and so, you know, this... this current situation really changes that perspective a bit and arguably threatens the stability of that portfolio. We want to get that back to normal as soon as we can," said Campbell. In the meantime, there are several steps in the works. "It's currently permitted under state law, but the 'how you do it' is what they're developing right now in terms of rules," said Campbell. [SOURCE]
Construction at Wichita’s Northwest Water Treatment Facility is on Schedule
The new $500 million plant, near 21st Street and Hoover, will replace the city’s 80-year-old water plant that is at risk of failing, and it will serve nearby communities. Work by Wichita Water Partners began at the location back in October 2020. On Wednesday, KSN News toured the site and was able to speak to those involved with the construction. “The structures on site are essentially built, and we are in the process of putting all the equipment inside,” said John Smith, Wichita Water Partners construction manager. “We are in the process of getting all the underground infrastructure in place, and as we move towards the end of summer, we are going to have complete structures, complete buildings. As we move to the end of the year, we will begin functional testing.” Before that testing can begin, work to tie the existing water system into the new facility continues. Smith said the challenges are with existing aging infrastructure. “Back when stuff was put in, we are not keeping the same records that you are keeping today, so we had to do a lot of preliminary investigations, go out, make some open holes and look at what it was.” Even with all that planning, workers continue to troubleshoot. “We are making adjustments, modifications to the existing system to accommodate the build that is happening here,” Smith said. Recently workers at the site completed the one million-hour labor mark. Construction on the new water plant is set to be completed by the end of September 2024. [SOURCE]
Value of Water Campaign Releases Annual Poll
The Value of Water Campaign recently released the results of its seventh annual national poll—The Value of Water Index. The poll annually tracks voters’ opinions and concerns around water infrastructure, climate, the environment, and other water issues. This year, the poll also asked questions about the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or IIJA. Read the full results of the Value of Water Index here. The poll found that voters’ trust in their local water infrastructure has diminished, dropping from 86 percent of voters saying the water infrastructure in their local community is very good or somewhat good in 2016 to 74 percent in 2022. There was a drop in confidence in the nation’s water infrastructure, with 59 percent of voters ranking it as very good or somewhat good in 2016 and only 41 percent saying that today. Simultaneously, the number of voters saying the nation’s water infrastructure was in bad shape increased over the same period, from 34 percent in 2016 to 41 percent in 2022. The Value of Water Campaign educates and inspires the nation about how water is essential, invaluable, and in need of investment. Spearheaded by top leaders in the water industry, the Value of Water Campaign is building public and political will for investment in America's water infrastructure. Learn more by visiting the Value of Water Campaign website. [SOURCE]
Senator Jerry Moran Visits KRWA Office
U. S. Senator Jerry Moran visited the KRWA office last Friday. He and KRWA General Manager Elmer Ronnebaum discussed challenges of small water and wastewater systems, the shortage of operators and funding programs for rural utilities. Senator Moran is Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Verterans’ Affairs and is a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Kansas Rural Water Association appreciates Senator Moran’s long-time support for funding programs, including the USDA Rural Development loan and grant program for water and wastewater utilities. KRWA recognized him in 2022 with the “Friend of Rural Water Award”.
KDHE Study: Higher Cancer Rates Near Wichita's 29th and Grove Environmental Site
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has released the results of a health study conducted on the 29th and Grove environmental site in Wichita. The site has contamination that, the KDHE says, originated with a leak of chemicals at the Union Pacific rail yard approximately 30 years ago. The site is within the borders of Interstate 135 to the west, 29th Street to the North, Grove to the east and stretches south to around Ninth Street. Based on the new study, local leaders are warning people in that area not to use well water. “There are contaminants in the groundwater, and I want you all to know that,” Wichita City Council Member Brandon Johnson said during a news conference after the health study was released. It found the rate of liver cancer was higher in that area than in Sedgwick County or Kansas. In particular, the rate of liver cancer among non-Hispanic Black persons in this area was more than twice the rate compared to the same population in Kansas. Rates of low birth weight among infants in the area were higher than in the rest of Kansas, though those rates decreased from 2000 to 2021. The study also looked at other health problems, including other cancers, congenital disabilities, and infants born small for gestational age. KDHE said it found no other notable increases. KDHE plans to hold a public meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the outcomes of the health study. [SOURCE]
Questions and Answers Coming Next Week!
KRWA plans to incorporate a new “Questions and Answers” segment beginning in next week’s E-NEWS. Watch for the answer to this and other questions: “If our water system contacts all the customers for a response on the lead and copper survey, what additional will be be required to do if some customers do not respond? In the meantime, if you have a question that you would like to submit, send it to email@example.com. Whoever asks the questions will not be disclosed. Don't be bashful in sending your questions.
Upcoming Water & Wastewater Training Sponsored by KRWA
Register for sessions on KRWA's Training Schedule.
New and Recent Job Postings on KRWA Website
The Kansas Rural Water Association's "Job Postings" web page includes openings that have recently been submitted by:
- City of Hays (Water Resources Maintenance Superintendent)
- City of Silver Lake (Public Works Assistant)
- Cowley RWD No. 3 (Water System Operator)
- City of Solomon (Assistant City Clerk/City Treasurer)
- City of Harper (Water/Wastewater Foreman)
- City of Colwich (Maintenance Worker)
- City of Arkansas City (Assistant Environmental Services Superintendent)
- City of Lawrence (MSO Field Technologist - Control Systems Tech)
- City of Dorrance (City Superintendent)
- City of Abilene (Public Works Director)
- City of Hutchinson (Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent)
- City of Lawrence (Water Treatment Plant Operator)
- City of Pretty Prairie (Full-Time Maintenance Person)
- City of Downs (Water / Wastewater Operator)
- City of Anthony (Water / Wastewater Dept. Head)
- City of Wichita (Water Treatment Process Control Specialist)
- City of Wichita (Instrumentation Electrical & Control Specialist)
- City of Seneca (City Administrator)
- Leavenworth WaterWorks (Finance Manager)
- City of Park City (Public Works Water tech 1 or Water Tech II)
- City of Fowler (Maintenance Worker)
- City of Paola (Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator 1)
- --- And many additional openings
KRWA provides job postings at no charge. Job openings to be posted should be e-mailed in a Word or text document to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which Water and Wastewater System Did KRWA Help Last Week?
KRWA provided assistance to these 64 water and wastewater systems last week: Atchison Cons. RWD 5, Brown RWD 2, City of Altoona, City of Arlington, City of Atlanta, City of Augusta, City of Belvue, City of Blue Rapids, City of Bushton, City of Caldwell, City of Centralia, City of Clifton, City of Corning, City of Elgin, City of Greenleaf, City of Hiawatha, City of Humboldt, City of LaCygne, City of Leon, City of Liebenthal, City of Logan, City of Lucas, City of Luray, City of Maple Hill, City of Melvern, City of Nortonville, City of Ogden, City of Ozawkie, City of Portis, City of Preston, City of Ransom, City of Raymond, City of Rexford, City of Richmond, City of Robinson, City of Rozel, City of Seneca, City of Silver Lake, City of South Haven. City of Susank, City of Troy, City of Washington, City of Weir, City of Whitewater, City of Whitewater, City of Williamsburg, City of Wilson, City of Winona, City of Yates Center, Franklin RWD 4, Jackson RWD 3, Jefferson RWD 1, Jefferson RWD 3, McPherson RWD 6, Miami Co. SD Walnut Creek, Montgomery RWD 2C, Osage RWD 6, Osage RWD 7, Public Wholesale 12, Rush RWD 1, Russell RWD 4, Shawnee Cons. RWD 4, Sumner RWD 4, and Washington RWD 2.