USA: Nestle Michigan Problems, Mississippi Targets, Maryland Investment, Dirty Top Guns, Portlandia Splashes, McCain on Mexican Sewage, Kelly on Climate, Fracking Texans and More

WARRENTON VA, United States

Portland to Pay up to $500 Million USD for Clean Water

The City Council of Portland, Oregon, chose (August 2nd) the “most expensive option” for a new treatment plant needed to meet state and federal rules (The Oregonian). Homeowners are expected to pay an average of $10.38 more per month over the next 16 years for the filtration treatment plant approved unanimously by the council. The total cost is forecast at $350 million to $500 million. Construction will take at least a decade.

Mississippi Polluters Set Targets

The 12 states that send the majority of water to the Mississippi River have set aggressive goals to reduce nitrate and phosphorus pollution in the Gulf of Mexico reports Science Daily. To achieve those goals, large point sources of phosphorus, such as wastewater treatment plants, “will need to invest in new infrastructure”. But research suggests there could be a role for farmers, as well.

Michigan Concerned about Nestle

Michigan environmental regulators have told bottled water giant Nestle to re-evaluate how its proposal to withdraw 210 million gallons of water annually from the state would impact local wetlands, streams and natural springs. Local radio station WKAR reports that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has requested more information from Nestle Waters North America about groundwater replenishment around the company's White Pine Springs well northwest of city of Evart.

Frack That!

A West Texas land and oil baron’s plans to pump 5.4 million gallons of water a day from under desert mountains and pipe it 60 miles to the Permian Basin oilfield (for hydraulic fracturing) have run into opposition. Dan Allen Hughes Jr. plans to tap an aquifer under his 140,000-acre Apache Ranch. But West Texas farmers, ranchers, residents and environmentalists worry he will steal water from their cattle, dry up their crops and deplete the spring that feeds the famous pool at Balmorhea State Park (Houston Chronicle). Get this…Hughes is a former chairman of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission. "That's a lot of water," said Bill Addington, a rancher and conservationist from neighboring Sierra Blanca told the newspaper. "Believe me, there's many people who have plans to sue if this goes forward. We will sue."

McCain Condemns Mexican Sewage Spill as “Unacceptable”

An international sewage pipeline has spilled untreated wastewater in Southern Arizona resulting in a State of Emergency being declared by the State’s Governor Doug Ducey. The pipe carries 10 to 14 million gallons of untreated wastewater from Nogales, Mexico, to a treatment center in Rio Rico, Arizona then released into the Santa Cruz river. Officials have reported excessive levels of E. coli from the spill. "…The severe breach to the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI) sewage pipeline along the U.S.-Mexico border is just the latest in a long history of unacceptable breakages to this deteriorating pipeline," Arizona Senator John McCain said in a statement reported by AZ Central. The International Boundary and Water Commission says it has not verified that there's a leak and that the wastewater plant that the pipe leads to is receiving normal flows.

$303 Million USD for Maryland Projects

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that it has approved and helped fund a $303 million USD plan by the state of Maryland for 36 clean water projects, such as a series of major improvements to control storm water and help wastewater infrastructure in Baltimore (WMDT).

Dirty Top Guns, Says Russia

Russian state news outlet RT News reports that communities in the US state of Colorado, whose drinking water supply was contaminated by chemicals used at the local Peterson Air Force Base, are frustrated by the military’s refusal to reimburse their cleanup costs. RT says that firefighting foam containing perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) has seeped into the Widefield Aquifer over decades, making well water in southern El Paso County unsafe to drink, according to a recent US Air Force (USAF) study.

Trump Chief of Staff “Gets” Climate Change?

US President Donald Trump’s newly appointed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has a history of defending funding to confront natural disasters that he believed eroded stability and fueled migration in Latin America and the Caribbean (E&E News). Kelly is a former head of US Southern Command (Southcom). "I know that anyone who has been Southcom commander is going to have deep knowledge of the risks associated with climate, weather and water disruptions just because it's such an essential component of the totality of the southern region," Sherri Goodman, the undersecretary of Defense for environmental security under President Clinton and now senior adviser for international security at the Center for Climate and Security, told E&E while John Conger, former assistant secretary of Defense for energy, installations and environment under President Obama, said that while Kelly led Southcom, it was "a major player in the release of the climate adaptation road map".

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