June Newsline: Orlando's 5-year wastewater plan; IA sewer grant; Texas invests in wind and more

June 2010 Vol. 65 No. 6

The reason for this, according to Russel E. Smith, executive director of the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA), is that the turbines generate more electricity than the available transmission lines can handle. To keep from overloading the system, they have to turn some of the turbines off during intervals with high winds.
Texas currently has the capacity to generate 10,000 megawatts of energy from the wind, but there are not enough transmission lines available to carry that much electricity.

However, two years ago, the Public Utility Commission of Texas approved a plan to construct new transmission lines that will eventually transmit 18,456 megawatts of wind power from West Texas and the Panhandle region to metropolitan areas of the state. The estimated cost of the project is $4.93 billion and it is expected to take four to five years to complete.

EPA orders 79 municipalities to improve stormwater management
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced it has sent orders to 79 municipalities in south central Pennsylvania requiring improvements to their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) programs.

The orders require the cited municipalities to correct problems with their respective MS4 programs and come into compliance with their Clean Water Act permits. MS4s are publicly owned drainage systems, including storm drains, pipes and ditches, designed to collect and convey stormwater runoff in urbanized areas.

Urbanized areas contain large portions of impervious surfaces such as roads, rooftops and parking lots that channel stormwater directly into local streams, rivers and other water bodies. Improperly managed stormwater runoff from urbanized areas can damage streams, cause significant erosion and carry excessive nutrients, sediment, toxic metals, volatile organic compounds and other pollutants downstream.

Thames Water to invest heavily in aging infrastructure
Thames Water, Britain's biggest water and sewerage firm, recently awarded contracts for up to £1.2 billion (US $1.8 billion) of essential work to improve and maintain London and the Thames Valley’s ageing water pipes, sewers and other facilities over the next five years.