Poor sewage, massive storm creates massive sinkhole

At least 115 people are dead after a massive storm in Central America, including at least one after a large sinkhole opened up in Guatemala City.

Normally, the team here at Infrastructure News doesn't cover stories outside of Canada, but one look at the image on the right shows why this was worth highlighting.

The sinkhole was large enough to swallow a three-story building and a house that fell into the hole.

Prentice, municipalities to discuss wastewater regulations

Responding to the fears of alarmed municipalities, Environment Minister Jim Prentice says he's 'ready to talk' about new wastewater regulations.

The proposed changes will mean more than 1,000 wastewater treatment systems - or one in four systems - across the country will need to be reconstructed or replaced. The FCM says cost analysis shows the price of meeting the standards in four cities alone Vancouver, Victoria, Halifax and St. John's will exceed billions of dollars.

For their part, FCM President Basil Stewart says 'We are pleased Minister Prentice has heard that message and is ready to talk about a new way forward.'

Harper: Stimulus did the job - but don't expect more...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned municipalities Friday that federal stimulus money from Canada's Economic Action Plan will run dry by next March.

'People can't live on adrenaline, and economies can't live on stimulus,' Harper told a crowd of hundreds gathered in Toronto for the 73rd annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference.

... but in the meantime - big city Mayors hold out hope.

Infrastructure and Communities Minister John Baird has privately committed to talks with municipalities about new partnerships to follow the successful economic stimulus program, say mayors who met with him.

Simple way to fix broken budgets - get rid of corroded pipes

A study appearing in the US publication 'Budget and Tax News' had some interesting numbers:

'Pipe represents the single largest component of a water utility’s assets and significantly affects operations and maintenance costs.

And corrosion is the largest part of the problem, being the main cause of more than 700 water main breaks every day throughout North America (see Moreover, a 2002 congressional study found corrosion costs U.S. drinking water and sewer systems $50.7 billion annually.'

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Veso Sobot, P.Eng.
(905) 795-6113