Wastewater COVID-19 testing: Google affiliate to pay Bloomington utilities for samples

For the next year, city of Bloomington utilities (CBU) will be getting $150 per sample of wastewater that it sends to Verily Life Science for COVID-19 testing.

Bloomington’s utilities service board (USB) approved the arrangement at its regular meeting on Monday.

Under the agreement, CBU will be sending three samples a week to the California-based company through Aug. 1, 2023, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

Responding to board questions, CBU’s James Hall, who is assistant director of environmental programs, said that CBU would have access to all of the data collected, but would not have control over its publication by Verily.

Verily is a company held by Alphabet, which is the company under which Google was reorganized in 2015. Verily describes itself as a “company bringing the promise of precision health to everyone, every day.” Continue reading “Wastewater COVID-19 testing: Google affiliate to pay Bloomington utilities for samples”

Miller-Showers Park: Bloomington utilities and parks formalizing arrangements on who pays for what

The cost of maintaining the lagoon retention walls at Miller-Showers Park will be split between city of Bloomington utilities (CBU) and the city’s parks and recreation department.

The utilities service board (USB) approved its side of the arrangement at its regular meeting on Monday night. The same memorandum of understanding is supposed to be presented to the board of park commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday next week (Feb. 22).

The park is wedged between College Avenue and Walnut Street just south of the SR-46 bypass.

The inventory of wildlife at the park observed by The B Square in the last week at the park includes: mallards; redhead ducks; muskrats; and a possibly a Cooper’s hawk. (The bird has also been identified on social media as a red-tailed hawk.)

The park includes a series of stepped lagoons that are a part of the northside stormwater management infrastructure. Stormwater from more than 170 acres of the city drains into the Miller-Showers facility, and eventually farther downstream.

The detention ponds in the park slow the flow so that sediment can settle out of the water, improving water quality downstream. CBU is responsible for the city’s stormwater management. That’s why CBU is partly responsible for the cost of maintaining the infrastructure of Miller-Showers Park. Continue reading “Miller-Showers Park: Bloomington utilities and parks formalizing arrangements on who pays for what”

Bloomington utilities board welcomes familiar face, gets quick update on rate case

At its regular meeting on Monday, Bloomington’s seven-member utilities service board (USB) welcomed Kirk White, who was appointed by mayor John Hamilton to fill Jason Banach’s seat.

The board also got a brief update on the city’s proposal to increase Bloomington’s water rates, which is currently under the standard review process by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).

City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) director Vic Kelson told the board about the IURC rate case review: “We’re still in the midst of discovery, and we’ve been getting a lot of questions and data requests to handle.”

Kelson added, “So we’ve been hard at work on those for the last couple of weeks. And so far, it seems to be going pretty well.” Continue reading “Bloomington utilities board welcomes familiar face, gets quick update on rate case”