November 2021 Vol. 76 No. 11



Hamtramck in Detroit Area is Latest Facing Lead in Water 

Another Michigan city is giving filters to residents because of high lead results in some drinking water samples. 

Hamtramck, in the Detroit area, is a 2-square-mile (5.2-square-kilometer) city with 28,000 residents, many of them immigrants from Bangladesh, Yemen and other countries. 

Seven hundred filters were passed out on Oct. 21 and another 900 will be distributed next week, said City Manager Kathleen Angerer. 

“The water itself is fine. The issue is the outdated lead services lines that in some cases are leaching lead into the water into individual homes,” Mayor Karen Majewski said. 


EPA Funds Development of WaterCorps Career Network 

The EPA announced that the Wichita State University (WSU) Environmental Finance Center is one of 10 organizations selected to receive a total of $3.8 million in funding under a new grant program that will help build the water workforce by connecting individuals to jobs in the drinking water and wastewater utility sectors and expanding public awareness about the benefits of careers providing vital water services. 

“Workers at water and wastewater treatment utilities provide a service that is absolutely essential to public health, the environment, and economic prosperity in their communities,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “The water sector is facing significant workforce challenges and it is critical that EPA and its federal, state, and local partners invest in the next generation of water professionals.” 

WSU’s project description states that funding will be used to create WaterCorps, a nationwide network of high school and post-secondary students along with school counselors and water utility professionals, who will connect the students to water utility internship experiences, educational resources, guidance from field experts, and facility tours. The Environmental Finance Centers at the University of New Mexico and Syracuse University will join WSU on the project. 

The water industry is facing widespread shortages of qualified workers, due to expected retirements, new investments in the nation’s physical infrastructure, and new technical and scientific skill sets required to operate and maintain these systems. 


New CGA Report Documents Pathways to Improving Efficiency of U.S. Damage Prevention System 

Common Ground Alliance (CGA) has announced the publication of its “Next Practices Pathways to Improving U.S. Damage Prevention Status” report. The new report is a product of the Next Practices Initiative, which CGA launched in 2020 to encourage innovation and new practices to address the most critical challenges facing the damage prevention industry. 

CGA published its Next Practices report to the Industry in February 2021, which identified critical industry issues and high-ROI opportunities for systemic improvement. After its release, the Next Practices Advisory Committee and Working Groups – comprised of leaders representing a wide range of damage prevention stakeholders – moved into an information-gathering phase to review and assess practices, case studies, implementation examples and other data to inform the Pathways report. 

“The pathways to reevaluating the U.S. damage prevention system that we map out in the report reveal that stakeholders should consider a new cost-benefit calculus, as underinvesting in safety at the beginning of a project ultimately leads to overpaying for damages,” said Sarah K. Magruder Lyle, president and CEO of CGA. 

“Our work in the Next Practices Initiative is only just beginning, and it’s our hope that this report will help set a strategic path forward to reducing the hundreds of thousands of damages that occur across the country each year and cost communities approximately $30 billion annually,” Lyle said. 


Canadian Energy Pipeline Association Ending Operations 

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) Board of Directors announced the organization will cease operations on Dec. 31 after 28 years. 

The group attributed the closure to recent changes in CEPA’s membership “which makes it no longer feasible to carry on operations and effectively execute CEPA’s mandate in the future.” These membership changes include the departure of TC Energy, Pembina Pipeline and Enbridge. 

“The decision was not taken lightly,” CEPA President and CEO Chris Bloomer said in a statement. “We are proud of the impact CEPA has had on the Canadian energy policy landscape. In addition, through our industry collaboration, we established the Integrity First program to help pipeline companies share and implement leading practices, keeping pipelines safe and communities protected.” 

The Financial Post quoted Bloomer saying the loss of the companies brought uncertainty for the organization going forward, and “we needed to not muddle along but bring this to an end.” He also noted that the industry is changing with a focus on renewable energy. 


Sentinel Midstream, ExxonMobil Form Enercoast Midstream to Serve Houston Energy Market 

Sentinel Midstream Texas announced the formation of a joint venture with ExxonMobil Pipeline Company that owns crude oil pipelines and related transportation infrastructure in the Houston area. The joint venture, Enercoast Midstream, provides the critical last-mile link for Permian, Gulf of Mexico, and other barrels in the Houston crude oil market. 

ExxonMobil will contribute two existing crude oil pipelines to the joint venture: a 16-inch pipeline originating at Webster Terminal with delivery points at ExxonMobil’s Baytown Refinery and Seabrook export terminal and a 20-inch crude pipeline with access to Moore Road station. Sentinel contributed cash for a majority equity position and will be the operator for the joint venture. 

As operator, Sentinel will undertake efforts to commercialize capacity on Enercoast’s system while pursuing opportunities to grow its operating footprint by building or acquiring new pipelines. 


Maine’s Governor Backs Federal Plan to Tackle PFAS Contamination 

Maine’s governor said the federal government is right to take a nationwide approach to the issue of PFAS contamination, which she called “a devastating problem” in her state. 

PFAS chemicals, which are short for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are sometimes called “forever chemicals” and they have long been used in a variety of consumer products. Maine has required manufacturers in the state to phase them out by 2030 because of concerns about water contamination and human health risks. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said recently it is launching a comprehensive plan to tackle PFAS contamination around the country. Gov. Janet Mills said that resources from the federal government will make it easier for states and local communities to mitigate the problem. 

Maine has also installed drinking water treatment systems and established wastewater sludge testing requirements to try to get a handle on PFAS contamination. 


Construction Begins to Improve Water Quality of Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco 

As part of a comprehensive effort to improve the water quality in the Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco, the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works will soon break ground on the $13 million Low Flow Diversion (LFD) Project. 

The project, led by global design firm Stantec’s Pasadena office, in collaboration with Los Angeles Department of Public Works Bureau of Engineering (BOE) and Los Angeles Sanitation & Environment (LASAN), will provide new infrastructure to remove dry-weather flows from five sub-watersheds to the LA River and Arroyo Seco. 

When completed, the project should divert about 1 million gallons per day from storm drains, while providing no negative impact on wet-weather flows from storms. Construction, which is led by Clarke Contracting Corporation for Los Angeles River LFD projects and Mike Pirch and Sons for Arroyo Seco LFD projects, is expected to be complete by November 2022. 

Both the LA River and the Arroyo Seco are negatively impacted by multiple pollutants contained in dry-weather flows. At times, high levels of bacteria in the two waterways rival that of wastewater. Heavy metals and petroleum products are also washed into storm drains and waterways. Dry-weather flows are usually a combination of runoff from car washing, lawn sprinkling, and watering of plants/gardens. 


Mississippi City Dumped 6B Gallons of Partly Treated Sewage 

Mississippi’s capital city of Jackson dumped more than 6 billion gallons of partly treated sewage into a river in 2020, seven years after signing a federal court agreement to clean up its act, court records show. 

The city had made “only limited progress” toward some requirements in a 2013 agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and had not begun work toward other “crucial” goals, according to an August status report. Jackson has a deadline of late 2030 to meet terms of the consent decree, which was announced in November 2012 and became final in March 2013. 

The city, which agreed to spend about $400 million to comply with state and federal water laws, now will need nearly $960 million to do so, it said in the report. Jackson is negotiating with the EPA to amend the order. 

The untreated sewage in 2020 came from 376 overflows throughout the collection system. Eleven forbidden bypasses at a wastewater treatment plant discharged partly treated wastewater into the Pearl River. 

U.S. Awards $98 Million in Grants to Support Pipeline Safety Efforts 

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced it is awarding $98.8 million in grants to states, territories, and tribes to help enhance pipeline and hazardous materials safety programs at the community level for 11 different safety programs. 

The awards provide over $69 million in grant funding for six different pipeline safety grant programs, including approximately $58 million in Pipeline Safety State Base grants to support state inspection and enforcement of pipeline safety regulations for natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. 

They also will provide money for One-Call grants to help improve state one-call notification systems and enhance damage prevention education and enforcement efforts, as well as underground natural gas storage inspection and safety, pipeline safety technical assistance, university research to advance pipeline safety technologies and state damage prevention programs. 


Dominion to Sell Questar Pipeline to Southwest Gas in Near $2 Billion Deal 

Dominion Energy announced that it has agreed to sell Questar Pipeline to Southwest Gas Holdings Inc. in a deal valued at $1.975 billion. 

The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, comes after activist investor Carl Icahn sent a letter to Southwest Gas, urging the company to abandon the acquisition and instead focus on improving its share price. 

Questar Pipeline is an interstate natural gas pipeline company that provides transportation and underground storage services in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. It also owns the Clay Basin storage facility, the largest underground storage reservoir in the Rocky Mountains. 

5 Kentucky Counties Get Water, Sewer Improvement Grants 

Five Kentucky counties are receiving a total of $2 million in grants for water and sewer improvement projects. 

The 18 projects are in Bracken, Lewis, Fleming Robertson and Mason Counties. Most of the work will be replacing, repainting and repairing water infrastructure in the counties. 

Mason County will receive the highest total, with nearly $627,000 to fund four projects, including a project to rehabilitate four of its glass-lined storage tanks. 

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the grants, with money funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority. 

Beshear said modernizing water and sewer infrastructure is “vital for the future of Kentucky.” 


Navigator Approved to Develop Heartland Greenway Pipeline System 

Navigator CO2 Ventures announced that as a result of commitments received during its binding open season, it has obtained the necessary board approvals to proceed with its proposed carbon capture pipeline system, the Heartland Greenway. 

Based upon the substantial market reception for the project, Navigator is evaluating multiple opportunities to expand the Heartland Greenway’s available capacity and add service offerings for the benefit of its current and future customers. Following initial approval, it has commenced the process of obtaining necessary permits to construct the Heartland Greenway and start initial system commissioning during late 2024 and into early 2025. 

“The Heartland Greenway is the first substantial, fully integrated CO2 handling system to reach a final investment decision, and we could not be more excited for the path ahead for all stakeholders,” said Navigator CEO Matt Vining. 

The Heartland Greenway’s first phase is projected to commence initial service in early 2025 and span approximately 1,300 miles across five Midwest states to nearly 20 receipt points. In parallel, multiple permanent sequestration locations are being actively developed in south-central Illinois, where the project will utilize specific intervals of the well understood Mt. Simon formation for the safe, permanent sequestration of its CO2. 

This combined scope will enable Heartland Greenway to transport and sequester up to 15 million metric tons per year once fully expanded. 

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