The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its “Interim Guidance for Managers and Workers Handling Untreated Sewage from Individuals with Ebola in the United States.” The release of this interim guidance was prompted by concerns over the fate and transport of Ebola in wastewater collection systems. Given limited data about Ebola in such settings, water and public health organizations had reached out to Federal agencies to discuss wastewater worker safety and the inactivation of Ebola by wastewater treatment processes.

This interim guidance is intended for workers who handle untreated sewage that comes from hospitals, medical facilities, and other facilities with confirmed individuals with Ebola. It provides recommendations on the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used and proper hygiene for the safe handling of untreated sewage that may contain Ebola virus. The CDC indicates the interim guidance can be used to reduce the workers’ risk of exposure to infectious agents including Ebola virus when working with untreated sewage.

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At least five people were hospitalized, including emergency responders, and 12 more people were treated when a vacuum truck carrying an organic peroxide exploded at a wastewater treatment plant on November 18.

Workers at the treatment plant as well as residents living between one to three miles away were told to shelter in place.

Both operators of the vacuum truck were inside the vehicle when the explosion occurred, and at least one of them was sent to the hospital. Three firefighters and and an ambulance worker were hospitalized after complaining of breathing trouble. A dozen hospital workers also were reportedly treated for respiratory issues.

A vacuum truck uses suction lines to collect solids liquids, sludge and other substances into a tank. These types of trucks are typically used for sewage or to empty septic tanks.

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By:  Zoeanne Tafolla, Team Mom for North Bay Ryders

We are happy to report that two of our three California teams made it back to New Orleans to compete in the International WEFTEC Operations Challenge 2014. It was a wonderful opportunity to bond with our brothers and sisters from around North and South America.

California had a team competing in both Division I (LA Wrecking Crew) and Division II (Vallejo North Bay Ryders). Both teams did well. In fact, LA Wrecking Crew was given the coveted position of “Brainiacs” by placing first place in the Process Event. This is quite an accomplishment with over 40 teams competing. Way to represent LA!

LA’s Wrecking Crew receiving the coveted Process Event, First Place Trophy, Division I. Photography by: Kieffer Photography

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Applications are being accepted for the 2015 class of the Water Leadership Institute. This intensive program allows participants to explore their own leadership styles and development while engaging their water peers and sector leaders. Using a blended learning approach, the Water Leadership Institute encourages connections via exercises and examination of the complex challenges facing the water and wastewater sectors. The application deadline is Jan. 31. Submit your application.

New – CWEA and WEF are finalizing plans to host The 2016 Utility Management Conference in San Diego

Registration is open for 2015. AWWA and WEF members save $175 when registered by January, 19, 2015.

Join AWWA and WEF in Austin, Texas for The Utility Management Conference™ 2015. Hear the latest in cutting-edge approaches and practices, techniques, and case studies in all aspects of utility management. The preliminary technical program will be available in September. Please visit the conference website for more information regarding registration, hotel and technical programs that will be offered in 2015.

For more information on the program and registration, please click here. For general conference questions, please contact AWWA.