Earth Day Cleanup Events Activate Thousands of Volunteers

Earth Day Cleanup Events Activate Thousands of Volunteers

Earth Day gives us an opportunity to focus on why we as a society need to rethink our relationship with resources.  We often talk about the importance of taking part in creating a world without waste – on adapting from a culture of take, make, dispose, into to an economy of reduce, recover, recycle. To put our actions to words, United Water and SUEZ Environnement sponsor events in the communities we serve and activate thousands of employee and community volunteers at spring “clean-ups” throughout the month of April.  Across the country, we fill trash bags and pickup trucks with the trash that is carelessly littered in our parks and threatening to pollute our watersheds.   We also support events to bring communities together to celebrate the environment as well as a national partnership with the Student Conservation Association. May 2 Delaware: The White Clay Creek Fest at the Carpenter Recreation Area celebrates the many ways to protect and enjoy the White Clay Creek State Park. Springfield & Holyoke, MA: Volunteers will support the Great American Earth Day Cleanup Richmond, VA: Volunteers will support the annual Cheswick Park Stream Clean-up.  The event starts at 10:30 at 1700 Forest Avenue in Henrico, VA.   April 25th – April 26th Freeport, NY: Operation SPLASH will host 100 volunteers on the first cleanup outing of the season.  Hop on a boat and help to clean up bays around Long Island. Indianapolis, IN: Thousands will gather for fun and a celebration of Earth Day at the Earth Day Indiana Fest in White River State Park.  East Providence, RI: Volunteers will gather for an Earth Day cleanup of the...
Customer Service Week and the Importance of Connecting with Customers

Customer Service Week and the Importance of Connecting with Customers

This week marks the beginning of the 30th annual National Customer Service Week, which this year focuses on the Customer Connection. “Connection” is an appropriate theme for us at United Water as our employees, especially those on the front lines of providing customer service, are tasked day-in and day-out with ensuring a reliable “connection” to the most essential of life’s services, water. Check out this short video to learn about how our dedicated customer service professionals work to make that “connection” with those we serve. United Water @ Work: Call Me Maybe from United Water on...
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...
United Water supports Sustainable Water Infrastructure Act

United Water supports Sustainable Water Infrastructure Act

In support of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Act—legislation that would stimulate private sector investment in water infrastructure by modifying the tax code—United Water participated in a press event on June 2 alongside bill sponsors Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), who each emphasized the need for this change. In the background, United Water construction crews worked to replace a broken underground valve leading to a 24-inch main that provides water to Cliffside Park residents. When the crew reached the valve, a ten-foot high jet of water shot out of the ground, creating mayhem as businessmen and members of the press frantically scrambled to avoid being sprayed by the geyser. Ironically, this reaffirmed the need for increased investment in the nation’s water infrastructure. “It seems like every week a pipe bursts somewhere in New Jersey, destroying property and disrupting lives,” Sen. Menendez said. “We’ve under-invested in our infrastructure, certainly we’ve underinvested in water systems, and now we’re paying the price.  These systems are old and badly degraded.  Many of them are waiting to fail, and they need to be fixed.” The bill, which sponsors will propose alongside a highway funding act, would remove caps on issuing private activity bonds (PAB) for water and wastewater projects. It comes at a time when the American Society of Civil Engineers has given America’s water infrastructure a D-rating, as some of it has been in place for almost a century. Passage of the bill would benefit local economies, both by providing jobs and by preventing unplanned infrastructure shutdowns that could disrupt commerce. “Our common sense solution not only invests in...
Earth Day: Time for (Environmental) Spring Cleaning

Earth Day: Time for (Environmental) Spring Cleaning

Out of sight, out of mind. It’s a misguided approach which has harmed our environment since at least the Industrial Revolution. It’s allowed manufacturers to bury chemical waste by the barrel load, for cities to use rivers as sewers, for the country to neglect underground water infrastructure, and for individuals to use everything beyond their car window as one enormous trash bag. Over the next five years, United Water will invest nearly $1 billion in water infrastructure and professionally manage many sustainable waste and environmental projects.  But building a sustainable environment and managing community water resources cannot be accomplished with one single initiative or solution. On this Earth Day, we honor those environmental leaders who galvanize communities around problems like water pollution and who lead community volunteer initiatives, which are vital to keeping waters clean. Harm to our environment and watershed is often overlooked in the winter when fewer folks venture outdoors. Out of sight, out of mind. But then the snow melts, and we are reminded of our collective folly. Paint cans, old tires, shopping carts and who-knows-what sprout from melting snowdrifts on reservoir shores and riverbanks. Fortunately, when spring has sprung, so, too, have environmental leaders and volunteers, looking to clean up the mess left by a long winter. On this Earth Day, United Water and its employees will participate and support spring cleanups of reservoirs, rivers and other waterways across the country. We will canvass communities where we live and work from the White River in Indianapolis, to the Pascack Valley, Barnegat Bay and Cranbury Brook in New Jersey, to Newport, Rhode Island, to the Hudson...
Employee volunteer group to contribute expertise to water and sanitation crisis in Haiti

Employee volunteer group to contribute expertise to water and sanitation crisis in Haiti

As we mark another World Water Day, the statistics remain astounding; globally, 768 million people do not have an adequate source of drinking water and 2.5 billion people do not have adequate sanitation. Among those are 4 million Haitians who lack access to clean water and 8 million who lack improved sanitation. Haiti is considered the poorest country in our hemisphere – in our own backyard. Our parent company, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, has been lending support to Haiti for nearly a decade through Aquassistance, an NGO that offers assistance to disadvantaged populations and is also positioned to respond to major natural disasters.  United Water employees joined members of the group and the Haitian National Water Authority (DINEPA) in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake in 2010 to help with the stabilization and improvement of the municipal water system. When our CEO, Bertrand Camus, visited Port-au-Prince in 2013, he committed to lending additional United Water expertise to position Haiti for a sustainable future. Subsequently, a North American branch of Aquassistance was launched to streamline technical missions to Haiti and other areas that face water and sanitation difficulties. In the months to follow, volunteers from United Water joined Aquassistance to lead a project in Milot, in northern Haiti, where the Sacré Coeur Hospital water supply had become contaminated with E-coli. The project to replace the existing treatment system, train local operators to run the water system and identify opportunities to expand the treated water distribution network, is done in partnership with Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, NJ. Our team found that the water treatment system supplying the hospital had been improperly installed and...