March 25, 2021
Utilities Eye More Permanent Aid After Temporary Relief
Water and sewer utilities are eligible to access a pot of $350 billion in the coronavirus relief package signed into law earlier this month, buoying an underfunded and overlooked sector whose services have become indispensable during the pandemic.

The ability to tap into aid from the state and local coronavirus recovery funds included in the new law could be transformational for a sector shouldering more than $8 billion in debt from customers’ unpaid bills over the past year, advocates said. Even more important than the infusion of federal dollars, however, is Washington’s renewed interest in water affordability and accessibility because of the Covid-19 crisis, they said.

Utilities are hoping to capitalize on that momentum and push for funds for upgrading aging infrastructure as Congress begins work on the next economic package. They also want lawmakers to focus on more affordability programs and resources for low-income ratepayers.

The recovery money “shows me the moment has arrived for water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure,” said Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, chief executive officer of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, which serves 62 communities including Cleveland. “And now we have to continue that conversation.” more
NATIONAL NEWS

Infrastructure Updates: Senate Committee Advances Water Infrastructure Bill - ASDWA On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously advanced the “Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021” (S. 914) which includes reauthorization of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. more

500 Million Now Available For Pre-Disaster Mitigation Projects Climate change and the need for mitigation efforts for disaster control have resulted in more federal funding available for public entities throughout the U.S. more

EPA Takes New Step To Address PFAS Topics include distribution systems, storage tanks, source water considerations, etc. more

Today is #WorldWaterDay! USDA Rural Development is committed to funding projects that protect drinking water in rural communities, as well as projects that improve or build essential water infrastructure. more

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPA) held its first water hearing of the Congress on Wednesday On Wednesday, the Water & Power Subcommittee hearing will feature Troy Larson of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. more

FEMA approves $7.8 million in Hurricane Michael public assistance grants | WJHG FEMA has approved four projects totaling more than $7.8 million for the State of Florida to reimburse for eligible costs of permanent repairs following Hurricane Michael. more

Opinion: We will find a way to affordably fix infrastructure | Northside Sun Who knows how much money it will cost to replace Jackson’s aging pipes. City officials have estimated the cost of replacing Jackson’s old infrastructure as high as two billion dollars. more

STATE NEWS

Green Cove Springs upgrading its wastewater system at Harbor Road plant | Clay Today  The second phase of the wastewater system improvements in Green Cove Springs got underway Tuesday, with a groundbreaking at the Harbor Road Wastewater Treatment Plant. more

Some dried-up wetlands from Tampa Bay ‘Water Wars’ have recovered, officials say | Tampa Bay Times In the late 1990s, when Tampa Bay’s “Water Wars” raged, wells were pumping so much water from underground that some lakes and wetlands had begun to dry out. more

Senate proposes money for Everglades, sea level rise | Florida Politics DOE awards $27.5 million to 16 water projects The $6.1 billion spending plan includes $786 million for Everglades restoration and water projects. more

Concerns growing over location of wastewater treatment plant | WPTV 'It's a potential environmental nightmare,' says St. Lucie County administrator. more

Opinion: Deep-injection wells are key to restoring Florida’s Everglades | Sun Sentinel Restoring Florida’s Everglades, Lake Okeechobee and Florida’s delicate coastal estuary systems is a much-needed environmental stewardship effort that will help secure Florida’s water future. more

For 25 years, this man has helped clean reclaimed water in Hillsborough | Tampa Bay Times Kevin Grant served 15 years in the US Army and started as a water meter reader. more

Opinion: Florida should charge fee on water bottling | Gainesville Sun Florida shouldn’t be giving away groundwater to profit water-bottling companies without getting money back to restore the natural springs being affected. more
This Week in Water History
First U.S. Water Power Canal
March 25, 1639  “America's first canal to provide industrial water power began (dug by colonists in Dedham, MA); ran from Charles River to Neponset River at Mill Creek.”
Wikipedia article. “Mother Brook is the modern name for a stream that flows from the Charles River in Dedham, Massachusetts, to the Neponset River in the Hyde Park section of Boston, Massachusetts. Mother Brook was also known variously as East Brook and Mill Brook in earlier times. The man-made portion of Mother Brook is considered to have been the first canal in America dug by English settlers. Mother Brook was important to Dedham as its only source of water power for mills, from 1639 into the early 20th century.
Reference:  “Business History.” Website http://www.businesshistory.com/index.php, Accessed November 14, 2012.