This guidance memo from CASA was released today containing recommendations for use in dialogue between wastewater treatment agencies and local hospitals and public health officials regarding the management of wastewater by patients infected with the Ebola virus. The recommendations are intended to offer an alternative layer of protection for workers who may come into contact with wastewater prior to its treatment.

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released interim guidance on handling Ebola contaminated wastewater. This guidance addresses basic hygiene practices and personal protective equipment use and disposal actions. The guidance and other relevant information will be discussed in today’s Bloomberg BNA webcast, Wastewater Worker Safety: Addressing Concerns on Ebola in Wastewater. WEF members save $45. Register now.

Photo of Walter E. Garrison. The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County are a regional agency consisting of 24 independent special districts serving over 5.5 million people in 78 cities and unincorporated territory within Los Angeles County. The Sanitation Districts protect public health and the environment through innovative and cost-effective wastewater and solid waste management and, in doing so, convert waste into resources such as reclaimed water, energy and recycled materials. For more information on the Sanitation Districts, please visit

UPDATE: Walter’s obituary in the Daily Bulletin is now online. You can follow the link here.

Walter Edward Garrison, fondly known by all as “Walt,” former Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, passed away on November 6, 2014, at the age of 92. Mr. Garrison was born in Newark, New Jersey, and, at the age of 16, began studying engineering at Cooper Union College. During his studies, the United States entered World War II, and Mr. Garrison volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ultimately promoting to Captain. After the war ended, he returned to complete his engineering degree, graduating in 1948. He was then hired by the Sanitation Districts, a regional agency that currently provides wastewater and solid waste management services to over 5.5 million people residing within 78 cities and unincorporated areas within Los Angeles County. The Sanitation Districts’ governing body is comprised of the mayors of the cities within the agency’s service area and the Chair of the County Board of Supervisors.

During Mr. Garrison’s career, he made many contributions to the agency that will be of great value long into the future. He was instrumental in the implementation of the Sanitation Districts’ water reclamation program in the early 1960s with the construction of the first wastewater treatment facility specifically designed to treat water to a high quality for groundwater recharge. That facility, the Whittier Narrows Water Reclamation Plant, became a historic civil engineering landmark as designated by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Today, the Sanitation Districts operate 11 wastewater treatment plants and produce over 100,000 acre-feet of recycled water for landscape and agricultural irrigation, groundwater recharge and industrial uses at over 750 reuse sites. [Read more]

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.

[Read more]

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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