How can we help kill a fire?

How can we help kill a fire?

As you may have heard, there is a moderate drought occurring in North Jersey. And as a result, we asked our local customers to voluntarily conserve water. But this drought is also a safety issue; firefighters need to have enough water and water pressure to fight a potential fire. Water is the best weapon to kill a fire. What steps do we take to prepare for a fire? We met with our New Jersey field operations, to learn more on the subject. United Water serves a population of 800,000 people in New Jersey and maintains 16,000 fire hydrants throughout the state. How do we prepare for a catastrophic event like a fire? Health and safety issues are our top priority. In case of a catastrophic event (storm, fire, accidents, etc.), it’s our duty to provide a constant supply of water to support officials on the ground. United Water follows the National Incident Command System (ICS), a protocol on how to handle and respond to an emergency. We also have a “Red Book”, which is our Bible for emergencies and contains all of our procedures, protocols, equipment and contact info. This way if an incident commander calls in from the field, asking for pumps or tankers, we can give them whatever they need quickly. To always be prepared, one of our most important tasks is fire hydrant maintenance: we repair and replace them when needed. Every year, our inspectors go out and test every single one of our 16,000 fire hydrants. We also run drills internally and externally: our Safety and Security Department presents a catastrophic scenario and we have to develop a plan to fix it. What do we...
Survey: What do you want to know about your tap water?

Survey: What do you want to know about your tap water?

In honor of National Drinking Water Week, and to continually improve the service we provide to water customers, we are promoting a special activity for consumers to get to know their H₂O.  Through a partnership with the Water Research Foundation and researchers from King’s College of London and the collaboration of water consumers from across the country, we will conduct important water consumer research through an online survey.   The survey will investigate what Americans want to know about their tap water and how they want to receive that information. We invite our customers, stakeholders, employees and readers to participate by taking a 25-min survey where you will be given the opportunity to enter into a prize draw of $100.   You can access the survey by clicking here: http://goo.gl/UcPzfU   Thank you, in advance, for your participation and for taking the time to get to know your H2O!  ...
How does a large water utility prepare for inclement weather?

How does a large water utility prepare for inclement weather?

The United Water Blog sat down with Tom Neilan, senior director of operations for United Water New Jersey to find out.  United Water Blog:  A new winter storm that is expected to bring significant snow and severe cold is coming to the region. You provide water service for 800,000 customers in Northern New Jersey. What do you do to prepare for something like this? Tom Neilan: Well, our priority is to keep the water flowing, despite any conditions that may arise. Since the storm came onto the radar, we have been carefully monitoring the weather and taking necessary action to protect the integrity of our facilities and water supplies. Moreover, our emergency crews are aware that despite the weather, they must be available 24 hours a day to respond to any situation that may occur. United Water Blog: You said you have been taking actions to prepare – can you give us some examples of what that might look like at one of your major treatment facilities and throughout your network? Tom Neilan: We have been testing backup generators. In the event of an electricity loss, we have invested significantly in backup sources to keep the water flowing. Water storage facilities – such as reservoirs – are kept full.  And we have an extra supply of water treatment chemicals on hand. In the event of prolonged road or rail closures, water quality will not falter. As I mentioned before, our dedicated emergency personnel will be vigilant and available around the clock. United Water Blog: It sounds like you have good preparedness measures in place. But I know that mother...
On the 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act

On the 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act

4 things we know to be true about the next 40 years in water management … Safe drinking water is available from nearly every tap in America. Yet there are many areas across the world where this basic need is still viewed as a luxury. And when you consider that nearly 1 billion people globally lack access to water, you can understand why our environment and public health system here in America is a proud accomplishment. We know that many take safe drinking water for granted today. But did you know that when the Safe Drinking Water Act was signed into law 40 years ago, 40 percent of our nation’s drinking water systems failed to meet even basic health standards? Thanks to the Safe Drinking Water Act and the work and innovations of employees like ours at United Water who make the water safe and the source water clean; customers can trust their taps and businesses can reliably operate. As we look to the next 40 years, we know that we will face different challenges and opportunities as water managers.   We know that significant infrastructure maintenance, repair and replacement needs exist in our service areas and in cities across the country. Municipal leaders are facing these challenges with increasingly limited budgets. We know that major companies will locate where water will be clean and plentiful. Those same businesses will require innovation to develop sustainable operations and will place a premium on responsible management of this resource. We know that to continue to provide safe, reliable drinking water we have to understand water issues as part of a circular economy; that...
SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Supports Declaration on Carbon Pricing, Participates in UN Climate Summit

SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Supports Declaration on Carbon Pricing, Participates in UN Climate Summit

This week Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT participated in the UN Climate Summit and New York City’s Climate Week reaffirming our commitment to take action in favor of mitigation and adaptation to climate change and announcing support for carbon pricing and a “climate-responsible” economic model. In signing the World Bank Declaration on “Putting a Price on Carbon” Chaussade  joined 73 countries, and over 1,000 companies, which have agreed to work together to share their experience, their expertise, and their insights, in order to redirect investment towards low-carbon technologies, and encourage the use of renewable energy. The United Water Blog is pleased to offer these excerpts from Mr. Chaussade’s remarks: “It is necessary to tackle climate change in order to avoid disastrous implications for the natural environment, which could jeopardize our current lifestyles. This call for action is addressed to all of us: citizens, non-governmental organizations and, of course, companies. Companies are rising to this huge challenge by implementing solutions. These solutions aim at mitigating the effects of climate imbalances by driving down greenhouse gases emissions, but they are also intended to adapt to climate change impacts. The technological revolution is underway: I see it every day within the water and waste industries. We are making every effort in terms of research and innovation: to strengthen our circular economy model, which is based on energy and material recovery from waste, and to come up with new technologies that will ensure the availability of water resources, in abundance and health. These solutions are designed for the city of tomorrow: a smart city, a sustainable city, a resilient city, a low...
Taking the plunge:  the largest public-private partnership for sewage in the U.S.

Taking the plunge: the largest public-private partnership for sewage in the U.S.

With a nationwide infrastructure investment gap of more than $500 billion for drinking water and wastewater treatment over the next twenty years, and a landscape of essential infrastructure systems across the U.S. that have fallen into disrepair, there has long been speculation on how the private sector can fill the gap or find an even greater niche in what has traditionally been a publicly dominated sector. Last week, Nassau County, NY and United Water brought an end to that speculation and made history by announcing the largest public-private partnership for sewage to-date in the U.S.  The County on Long Island awarded a 20-year contract with a value of over $1.2 billion to United Water to professionally operate, manage and maintain the county’s sewage treatment plants, pumping stations and sewers. The system handles the sewage from 1.2 million people and treats it for disposal into environmentally sensitive estuaries. A coalition of citizen activists, environmental leaders and elected officials decided that an overhaul of the Nassau County sewer system was needed after Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island and the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant failed to treat hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage before dumping it into the Western Bays on Nassau County’s South Shore.  They identified the need for a professional operator with global expertise – such United Water – and worked with County Executive Ed Mangano to bring the solution to bear. By providing industry-leading technology and management expertise to solve a major environmental challenge in one of New York’s most prominent suburban areas, we will: Improve performance on environmental standards; clean discharges to meet New York State...