New York Rural Water : News

September 17, 2014

Revised Total Coliform Rule Assessments and Corrective Actions

Category: Events, General, Water — New York Rural Water @ 9:52 AM

EPA has released the Interim Final version of the Revised Total Coliform Rule Assessments and Corrective Actions Guidance Manual.

The guidance manual is currently available online at

The guidance manual provides public water systems and primacy agencies with guidance on complying with and implementing the assessment and corrective action requirements of the Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR).  Under the RTCR, public water systems that are vulnerable to microbial contamination in the distribution system (as indicated by their monitoring results for total coliforms and E. coli) are required to assess the problem and take corrective action that may reduce cases of illnesses and deaths due to potential fecal contamination and waterborne pathogen exposure.  The guidance manual provides information on the common causes of total coliform and E. coli occurrence in the distribution system, how to conduct assessments to identify possible causes of contamination (“sanitary defects”), and corresponding corrective actions that systems can take to correct the problem.

September 15, 2014

WaterSense Free Webinar on Water Loss Control

Category: Events, General, Water — New York Rural Water @ 9:31 AM

There is a free water loss control webinar that will review effective tools, policies, and programs. They will  discuss free software utilities can use to manage water loss; review policies that local and state governments can implement to encourage program adoption; and hear about the successful water loss control efforts of two utilities: the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) in California and the Water and Wastewater Aut hority of Wilson County (WWAWC) in Tennessee.

Scheduled for Wednesday, October 15, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific (1:00 p.m. Eastern), the webinar will feature Kate Gasner from Water Systems Optimization, Danielle Gallet from the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Penny Falcon from LADWP, and Chris Leauber from WWAWC. To get the latest on water loss control, register today and, this fall, get ready to save water, energy, and money by managing your “real” and “apparent” losses.

Please note this webinar is open to any interested parties, and this invitation can be posted publicly and forwarded to non-WaterSense partners.

If you have any questions regarding WaterSense webinars, please contact the WaterSense Helpline or 866-WTR-SENS (987-7367). We hope you will join us on October 15.

September 10, 2014

Flush Defying Wipes Bedevil Cities as Sewers Surrender

Category: General, Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 10:14 AM

The ancient Greeks used clay and stone; the Romans, sponges and salt water. Americans made do with rags, newspapers or mail-order catalogs until 1890 when the Scott brothers popularized toilet paper on a roll.

Only in the past decade have grownups seized upon moist “flushable” wipes similar to those that clean baby bottoms, a product that has become a prized asset in a flat market. Accelerating sales are demonstrated inside the world’s sewers, where tons clog equipment. From New York to London, the hygiene fad costs governments millions of dollars a year.

As profit drive collides with the public’s interest in functional wastewater infrastructure, officials are discussing regulation and how to assess the cost of ungunking the system.

At stake is nothing less than “the long-term viability of the product category,” said David Rousse, president of the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, a Cary, North Carolina-based trade group that represents manufacturers.

Wastewater officials in New York and other cities say products advertised as flushable aren’t, and that adults use products such as baby wipes that are too resilient to dissolve.

New York City, which runs the largest U.S. sewer system, has spent more than $18 million during the past five years replacing and repairing sewer-plant pumps, gears, valves and screens clogged when the cloth-like material didn’t disintegrate.

“A growing number of adults think that if it’s good for baby, it’s good for them,” said Vincent Sapienza, deputy commissioner of the city Department of Environmental Protection. “Many brands may say they’re flushable, but they wind up in our sewer plants fully intact.”

London’s Fatberg

Wipes compose about a third of the debris choking screens and pumps in U.S. treatment plants, and about 30 percent were sold as flushable, said Cynthia Finley, director of regulatory affairs for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies in Washington.

In New York, the city must pay workers to pull the stuff off screens and pumps and to cart it to landfills. Residual material extracted increased to more than 40,000 tons last year from 21,000 tons in 2008, Sapienza said. That’s about a thousand subway cars.

The globs aren’t unique to New York, which processes 1.3 billion gallons of waste a day. In London, a 15-ton wad of wet wipes and cooking grease last year accumulated to the size of a yellow school bus inside a sewer line, preventing neighborhood toilets from flushing. It took more than three weeks for Thames Water Utilities Ltd. to break up the “fatberg.”

Swirling Away

Similar blockages have been experienced in Orange County, California; Columbus, Georgia; and Vancouver, Washington. Portland, Maine’s Water District is still paying for the $4.3 million it borrowed in 2009, an amount almost equal to half its annual operating costs, for screens to catch wipes before they ruin pumps. In Canada, the Municipal Enforcement Sewer Use Group, an association of 25 communities, estimated wipes clogs cost the public at least C$250 million ($230 million) a year.

Sales of moist flushable wipes are a souce of sales growth in the household paper-products industry, rising 23 percent to $367 million from 2008 to 2013, according to Mintel Group Ltd., an international market-research firm.

“The average consumer believes if a product clears their toilet bowl, it’s flushable,” said Jamie Rosenberg, a Chicago-based household and personal-care analyst for Mintel. “People in their homes have no idea what’s going on downstream.”

Cheeky Question

Sales have grown thanks to frank and funny advertising, Rosenberg said. He cited a commercial for Kimberly-Clark Corp.’s (KMB:US) Cottonelle Flushable Wipes featuring British television personality Cherry Healey, who asks strangers in a U.S. airport, “How do you like to wet your bum?”

As wastewater officials become vocal, manufacturers such as Kimberly-Clark andProcter & Gamble (PG:US) Co. have played defense.

“We have invested significant time and resources to understand the difficult issues faced by agencies that process wastewater and to develop technologies to make sure that flushable wipes sold by K-C will be considered flushable,” said Eric Bruner, a Kimberly-Clark spokesman.

The company is part of a task force organized to work with a group of municipal wastewater authorities to quantify how much of the clogging is due to flushable wipes. The group will also develop labeling standards.

“The biggest culprit is baby wipes designed to be wrapped up in the diaper and thrown out in a bin,” Rousse said in an interview.

September 4, 2014

Ford Fleet Deal for NYRWA Members

Category: General — New York Rural Water @ 9:17 AM

Ford’s new 2015 F150 pickup has finally been scheduled and production will start soon. They anticipate these new trucks will start hitting the dealership in mid winter.

In an order to accommodate the demand for trucks, Ford extended the build out cycle on the 2014 F150, but the last opportunity to order the 2014 model is 9/06/14.

If any of our state association members need a 1/2 ton truck before March of 2015, we highly recommend getting them ordered immediately. If you place an order today, they will not be delivered until November or December.  This is a benefit for being a member of NYRWA.  If you are interested in getting a quote from your local dealer, please call our office for the fleet code number to verify your membership.

Or you can request a quote, please click on this link and complete the form, we will send a quote immediately. NRWA pricing has been locked in for the 2014 models. By ordering now, you will avoid the 2015 price increase and get what you need before the end of the year.

Cameron Colter

Vance Fleet Services

September 3, 2014

Town of Rotterdam Wins the Title of Best Tasting Drinking Water in New York State

Category: Achievements, General, Water — New York Rural Water @ 11:33 AM
ALBANY –The Town of Rotterdam, Schenectady County, claimed the top spot in the New York Tap Water Taste Contest, held at the New York State Fair in Syracuse. The Village of Remsen in Oneida County was the runner-up.

The New York State Tap Water Taste Contest is a non-scientific, friendly competition intended to highlight the importance of taste and quality in drinking water, a vital public health resource.

“The New York State Department of Health congratulates Rotterdam on capturing the 2014 bragging rights to the best-tasting tap water in New York State,” said Acting Health Department Commissioner Howard Zucker, M.D., J.D. announced. “Having great tasting tap water encourages the healthy habit of consuming water. That is good for the person drinking it, for their wallet, for their health and for the environment.”

The results were announced today at the final round of the competition at the New York State Fair in Syracuse. More than 200 fairgoers put their taste buds to the test to select the winner from five water systems that won regional contests. The finalists competing in the championship round were:

  • Western Region – City of Canandaigua
  • Central Region – Village of Remsen (Statewide Runner Up)
  • Northern Region – Village of Malone
  • Capital Region – Town of Rotterdam (Statewide Winner)
  • Metropolitan Region – City of White Plains

“We congratulate all of the regional winners,” said Zucker. “They and more than 9,500 other public water systems in the state provide 95% of New Yorkers with this most important beverage. We must never underestimate the value of healthy drinking water to our families and communities.”

DOH has regulatory oversight of all public drinking water systems in New York State. The 28th annual contest was sponsored by DOH under a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cooperative agreement with the DOH Environmental Health Specialist Water Program.

The Tap Water Taste Contest is sponsored by the Water and Wastewater Education and Outreach Committee (WWEOC), which is comprised of state and local government agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, professional associations, engineering firms, water operators, wastewater organizations, community leaders, and training providers. Its mission is to elevate, promote, and attract talented individuals into the water profession and to raise awareness of the value of water and wastewater services with the public and elected officials in New York State and nationwide.

September 2, 2014

Sewer Workers Battling a “Fatberg” the Size of a Boeing 747 Under London

Category: General, Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 8:07 AM

Thames Water, the company that keeps sewers flowing freely under London, has released a set of disgusting pictures of a “fatberg” that took a week to remove from a 262-foot stretch of Shepherd’s Bush Road in West London. The water authority claims it was the size of a Boeing 747, if it was buried underground.

“A team of sewer experts from the company fought the ‘berg all last week (Tuesday, Aug. 26 to Friday, Aug. 29). The immense, solid blockage needed to be broken up and removed from the sewer to prevent sewer flooding to nearby homes and business,” the company said in a press release.

Fatbergs are composed largely of cooking oil that has been poured down drains while hot and runny. Once in the cold water of the sewer system, however, the fat congeals. The solid mess then combines with “wet wipes.” The wipes are frequently labeled as “disposable” but are turning out not to be.

Cooking oil + wet wipes = fatberg, it turns out.

Unfortunately the pictures could not be copied into this article, although the picture shows the leviathan is all the way up to the roof of the tunnel, preventing the Thames Water worker from reaching the bottom. (The Sheperd’s Bush fatberg was not as big as the monster removed from Kingston-area sewers last year, however.)

The team used high-powered hot water jets for a week to dislodge the colossus.  In the picture you can see that the lipid dam is nearly at the top of the sewer.

‘Pretty soon your fatberg is out of control.’

“Wet wipes cling to the fat. Fat clings to the wipes. And pretty soon your fatberg is out of control and sewage is backing up into roads, gardens and in the worst cases flooding up through toilets and into homes,” said Dave Dennis, Thames Water sewer operations manager. “We’ve found all sorts in this sewer – from tennis balls to planks of wood. It goes without saying they shouldn’t be in those pipes. London – bin it, don’t block it.”

Thames Water spends £12 million a year (about $20 million) on the war against fat. “The sewers serve an important purpose — they are not an abyss for household rubbish,” Dennis said.

The worst neighborhood in London for fatbergs is Harrow, which has been plagued by 13,417 fatberg sightings in the last five years.

August 29, 2014

NYS EFC Approves More Than $3.87 Million in Low Cost Financing

Category: Funding, General, Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 1:31 PM

NYS Environmental Facilities Corp. Approves More Than $3.87 Million

in Low-Cost Financing for Sewer Projects in Oswego County


Village of Mexico and Town of Hastings to Receive Low-Cost Loans and Grants

The Board of Directors of the Environmental Facilities Corp. (EFC) today approved more than $3.87 million in low-cost financing to upgrade sewer infrastructure in the Village of Mexico and the Town of Hastings.

Mexico applied for and will receive more than $2.67 million in financing – half interest-free and the other half at market-rate interest – while Hastings will receive $1.2 million in a short-term, interest-free loan. Hastings has also been awarded a $981,000 grant from the Rural Development Office of the USDA.

EFC is the arm of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration that provides low-cost financing to help local governments afford major improvements to wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. This year marks the 25th anniversary of New York State’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which has furnished more than $17 billion in low-cost loans and grants to thousands of important water pollution control projects in New York State.

“As EFC marks the 25th anniversary of New York’s Clean Water revolving loan fund, New York State is expanding its efforts to help local governments create reliable infrastructure for the collection and treatment wastewater and stormwater,” said Matthew Driscoll, President and CEO of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation. “Millions of New Yorkers have benefited from our management of the nation’s largest and most-active Clean Water fund, as upgraded wastewater systems have improved the environment, protected public health and provided new opportunities for economic development.”

At today’s meeting, the EFC Board of Directors approved a total of $28.38 million in loans and grants from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) for seven projects around the state. In addition to the financing for Mexico and Hastings, the EFC Board today approved a total of $28.3 million in CWSRF loans and grants for clean-water projects in the City of Cortland ($13.2 million) in Cortland County, the City of Glens Falls ($689,140) in Warren County, the Village of Philadelphia ($7.3 million) in Jefferson County and Dutchess County (two projects for a total of $3.3 million in financing from EFC).

The project in Mexico includes upgrades to four remote pump stations in the collection system, as well as the installation of screening and grit removal systems ahead of the main lift station. Work will also be performed to restrict water inflow and infiltration in the collection system, including the replacement of manhole frames and covers, to reduce flows during wet weather events.

The treatment plant will also receive new high efficiency blowers, dissolved oxygen monitoring, ultrasonic level senor for flow measurement, chemical storage enclosure for dechlorination, and upgrades to the electrical system. Reed beds will be constructed to reduce the cost of solids disposal.

In Hastings, approximately 6,400 feet of new sewer lines, along with individual grinder pumps and a new pump station, will be installed to serve areas of US Route 11. Flows will be treated at the Fort Brewerton Wastewater Treatment Plant.

July 25, 2014

Human Studies On Benefits of Alkaline Water

Category: General, Water — New York Rural Water @ 1:14 PM


Alkaline mineral water lowers bone resorption even in calcium sufficiency: alkaline mineral water and bone metabolism.

  • Summary: Study examined people who were determined to get sufficient calcium from their diets to find out if calcium-rich alkaline water could reduce the rate of bone loss. The study compared alkaline water to acidic water to see if alkaline water worked better.
  • Results: In calcium sufficiency, the alkaline water led to a significant decrease of PTH and of S- CTX (two important markers of bone loss). The acidic water with did not reduce bone loss.
  • Limitation: This study used a calcium-rich alkaline water, your tap water may not be calcium rich. However, the reduction of bone loss markers was also shown in the study below which used ordinary tap water treated by a water ionizer to make it alkaline water that was not calcium rich. (Wynn, Krieg, and et al)

The effect of daily consumption of 2 liters of electrolyzed water for 2 months on body composition and several physiological parameters in four obese subjects: a preliminary report.

  • Summary: Study examined four people who drank alkaline water made with a water ionizer for two months. The study examined two markers of bone loss: serum osteocalcin measures bone formation by osteoblasts. N-telopeptides and NTx measures bone resorption (loss) by osteoclasts.
  • Results: The study showed significant reductions in bone loss markers (N-telopeptides and NTx) for all four test subjects There was no significant effect on bone formation (serum osteocalcin)
  • Limitation: This was a small study, only 4 people were examined, no control group was used to compare the effect of consumption of alkaline water to plain water. (Abrabam, Flebas)

Blood Pressure:

“Intake of mineral water among persons with a low urinary excretion of magnesium or calcium may decrease the blood pressures”

  • Summary: A natural alkaline mineral water with a pH of 8.7 was evaluated to see if it reduced blood pressure in people with low magnesium and calcium levels.
  • Results: The results of this study suggest that water borne minerals can contribute to mineral nutrition requirements. Waterborne mineral supplementation may reduce blood pressure in people with calcium and/or magnesium deficiency.
  • Limitation: This study was performed on a small group (20 people) and was short term. Additional studies are needed to confirm the effect of alkaline water on blood pressure. (Rylander, R)

Laboratory Studies of alkaline water

Laboratory studies are performed in-vitro which means in a test tube, Petri dish or other container. The results of in-vitro studies are used by scientists to test theories. If an in-vitro study looks promising, then an in-vivo study, meaning in the body, is conducted to confirm the results.

July 24, 2014

Flushability of Wipes Spawns Class Action Lawsuit

Category: General, Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 9:53 AM

A New York doctor has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the makers of “flushable” wipes after experiencing what he claims were major plumbing and clogging issues in his home.

“The defendants should have known that their representations regarding flushable wipes were false and misleading,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit by Dr. Joseph Kurtz, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., cites Kimberly-Clark and Costco Wholesale corporations and seeks damages of at least $5 million. The suit filed on Feb. 21 in the Eastern District of New York represents 100 people and claims that consumers around the country have suffered through clogged pipes, flooding, jammed sewers and problems with septic tanks due to the use of flushable wipes.

The lawsuit is the latest complaint against the flushable wipes in recent years.

PHOTO: Cottonelle wipes

Kimberly-Clark Corporation
PHOTO: Cottonelle wipes

Over the past five to six years, New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection has spent over $18 million to have these wipes removed by hand from the sewer system, according to Deputy Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.

When the department looked at the sales of flushable wipes, Sapienza said that there was almost a direct correlation between an increase in product sales and an increase in clogs within its sewage treatment facilities.

“The word ‘flushable’ means it won’t clog your toilet or your house, but when it gets to a sewage treatment plant, the wipes wrap around the equipment, shuts it down, and then the treatment plant workers go and manually pull these wipes out,” Sapienza told ABC News on Monday.

The agency recommends that people not flush these wipes and instead throw them out in the garbage can.

The wipes market is a $6 billion-a-year industry with sales growing by 5 to 6 percent annually, according to court papers.

In response to this federal lawsuit, Bob Brand, a spokesperson for Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Cottonelle wipes said, “Kimberly-Clark has an extensive testing process to ensure that our flushable wipes products meet or exceed all industry guidelines and we stand behind our claims of flushability.”

A Costco official told ABC News that Costco does not comment on lawsuits.

While the cleansing cloth packages are labeled as “flushable” and “sewer-and-septic-safe,” the lawsuit states that there are no legal requirements that a product must meet in order to claim that it is “flushable” and only voluntary guidelines may be followed at the discretion of manufacturers.

Experts running public wastewater facilities have independently tested the wipes because there is no legal standard.

“We started doing testing ourselves because we couldn’t get any information from the manufacturers,” said Rob Villee, executive director of the Plainfield Area Regional Sewerage Authority in New Jersey.

Villee, who has been working on the testing of these wipes for four years, said that when the wipes were put in 2 liters of water, the Cottonelle wipes took 20 minutes to disperse while the Costco wipes, even after three hours, were not totally broken up and there was no noticeable loss of mass.

Unlike the Cottonelle brand that uses a water-soluble binder that breaks down when put in water, the Costco brand has a plastic backing sheet on the wipes, Villee said. “I flushed that sucker down 100 times and it still held together,” he said.

The Water Environment Federation and the American Public Works Association — both nonprofit groups that deal with wastewater issues — are expected to meet later this year with product manufacturers to jointly determine what the term “flushable” should mean, Villee said. The groups also expected to do more testing on the wipes, he said.

July 14, 2014

Best Practices For Septic System Repairs using CWSRF Funds

Category: Events, General, Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 9:19 AM

The Office of Water and Region 8 are pleased to announce the 8th in a series of monthly 1-hour webinars on best practices in the implementation of the National Water Program.  The next webinar is scheduled for Thursday, July 17th from 2 to 3 pm (Eastern Daylight Time). Representatives from EPA’s Region 3 Office will provide a presentation on using CWSRF funds for septic system repairs by partnering with state housing agencies.  Tune into the webinar next Thursday to hear how they did it.

A best practice is defined as a process, tool, or methodology usually developed by Regional or state water program staff that contains innovative and successful approaches that helps the program achieve its goals to protect human health and restore watershed and aquatic ecosystems.  A two page description of each best practice published in the FY 2013 End of Year Report can be found at the following link on OW’s Performance web site:

Each webinar will consist of a 30 minute or less presentation by the developer and/or sponsor of the best practice.  In addition to a brief description of the  practice, presentations may cover any of the following:

- What were the driving factors in developing the practice.

- How was it developed.  Who was involved.

- What outcomes or impact has the practice had in the presenter’s Region.

- What were the lessons learned in developing and implementing the practice.  What could have been done differently.

- Recommendations for others in adopting the practice for their Region.

- Who to contact for more information about the practice.

Sufficient time will be allowed during the remainder of the webinar for questions and answers and an open discussion on the best practice.

To access the webinar, please follow these instructions:

For audio, the call in number is :  1-866-299-3188;  conference code – 202-564-0572

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