A Call for Participation and Collaboration on World Water Day

A Call for Participation and Collaboration on World Water Day

At the crossroads of all social, economic and environmental activities, fresh water is our most fundamental asset. And right now, it is under pressure.  Industrial, agricultural, domestic water requirements and usages continue to increase in an effort to keep pace with an ever-growing global population that is causing demand to grow, decade by decade.   For World Water Day, focused this year on “water and sustainable development” our group – spanning 70 countries and 5 continents –  is raising awareness about the need for politicians and individuals alike to participate in decisions to secure water resources for the future.   For our part, members of the SUEZ Environnement group are adopting innovative solutions – to prove that it is possible to build a society capable of generating and regenerating resources essential to its future. Furthermore, we have set a priority to facilitate access, while working to protect the resource.   On a global scale, access to water and sanitation remains a crucial issue of immediate concern in many countries. According to data from the WHO, 780 million people around the world still lack access to safe drinking water, while 2.6 billion people do not have access to sanitation services.   Rising to the challenge, we are implementing solutions to secure the right to water while meeting challenges such as access to water, protecting resources and socially inclusive water pricing.  In fact, since 2000, SUEZ Environnement solutions in emerging countries have made it possible to connect 14.1 million people to drinking water services and 7.1 million people to sanitation services.   In India for instance, water consumption is expected to double...
4 reasons why water mains break

4 reasons why water mains break

Last week residents in the City of Bayonne, living in the shadow of the Lower Manhattan skyline, were without water for several hours and then under a precautionary boil water advisory for a nearly two days.  A huge water main – 30 inches in diameter – that carries water from reservoirs located outside of the city broke in neighboring Kearny, NJ. Enter a quick google search and during the same time period – during the cold days of January – other American cities altered their routines due to broken water pipes:  South Nashville, Tulsa and Richmond, to name a few. So why do water mains break and what can be done preventatively? A few reasons why pipes break: 1- Temperature, temperature, temperature: Slight changes in air or water temperature can dramatically increase stress on a pipe. Cold temperatures cause pipes to become brittle. As the ground freezes, pipes may succumb to external stress. Water temperature lags behind air temperature changes and therefore main breaks are common one-to-two days after a cold spell. 2- Proximity to construction work: If you lift the lid on busy cities, you’ll find an underground network of pipes and wires that is commensurate with the traffic above ground.  Despite appropriate precautions, contractors that are fixing one network can inadvertently nick another one – causing a water main break. 3- Age: The break rate for pipes increases over time. Did you know that many water pipes lain in the late 1800s to early 1900s still operate under our cities? 4- Material Particularly cast iron pipes that were put in the ground in the 1970s and earlier,...
United Water and Nassau County Begin Partnership to Improve Environmental Health of Waterways

United Water and Nassau County Begin Partnership to Improve Environmental Health of Waterways

On January 2, 2015 United Water began a 20-year partnership with Nassau County in the Long Island suburbs of New York City.  Together with the County, United Water will operate and manage three sewage treatment plants and collection system for 1.2 million people.  It is our responsibility to promote a sustainable community in Nassau County and return clean, treated water to surrounding bays and estuaries. United Water also welcomed over 130 county employees.  The employees heard from United Water CEO Bertrand Camus who stressed the importance of this pollution control contract and its promise to improve the quality of life for neighboring residents. County officials reminded the group that local environmental groups have called this project a “reason for hope” and Long Islanders are now looking forward to a day when health is restored to surrounding bays and estuaries and clamming and fishing make a dramatic comeback. Before beginning their duties, employees signed an environment, health and safety pledge to each other and to the communities they are responsible for serving.   Nadine Leslie, United Water Environmental Services President reinforced that while it will certainly take some time to make all the improvements we’re planning, in the end, we will create a state-of-the-art, resilient public service which Nassau County can rely upon. On “Day 1” we were pleased to announce that the project started out having already met an important milestone; already exceeding its guaranteed $10 million in first-year savings to the county by almost $2 million. According to an independent adviser to the county, the project will save Nassau County taxpayers a guaranteed minimum of $230 million during the terms...
United Water Begins Water & Sewer Operations in Borough of Middletown, PA

United Water Begins Water & Sewer Operations in Borough of Middletown, PA

On December 31, 2014, United Water joined the Borough of Middletown, PA community and commenced operations of the water and sewer system. On “Day 1,″  Nadine Leslie, President of United Water Environmental Services welcomed six employees to the United Water Family who had previously worked for the Middletown Borough Authority.  Leslie challenged the employees to “set an example” for environmental compliance and safety for the company which, she emphasized, has deeply rooted values and high standards in these areas. Employees then appropriately underwent health and safety training before ceremoniously accepting their new personal protective equipment (PPE). Shortly thereafter, employees began their hard-hat-clad routine of delivering safe drinking water to Borough residents, and returning cleaned and treated wastewater to surrounding water bodies.                 This team of employees is now part of a larger family with regional, national and global resources.  They’re also part of a landmark deal to make the Borough debt free and set this small college town onto a path of revitalization and prosperity. As part of the concession agreement, a joint venture of KKR and United Water made an initial $43 million payment to the Middletown Borough Authority to retire outstanding debt including an unfunded pension liability for Borough employees.  According to a Borough Official, this will be the first time the Borough is debt free in over 50 years. United Water and KKR have also committed to financing another $83 million in infrastructure improvements throughout the life of the 50-year contract. Indeed 6 underground infrastructure projects are already underway, including ones that will support transportation access to the Penn...
United Water and KKR to Bring Water and Sewer Investments to Borough of Middletown, PA

United Water and KKR to Bring Water and Sewer Investments to Borough of Middletown, PA

We are pleased to announce that we will expand our services in Pennsylvania and become part of the growing Middletown Community. We recently announced a partnership with the Borough Authority of Middletown, PA for management and operations of the borough’s water and wastewater system, together with KKR, a leading global investment firm. We already operate five water treatment facilities and over 20 wells serving a population of more than 166,000 people in portions of eight Pennsylvania counties. Our Pennsylvania headquarters are conveniently located in the capital city of Harrisburg. A United Water team dedicated exclusively to Middletown will operate the system for a 50-year term. This partnership marks a growing trend in the U.S. for delivering infrastructure renewal projects for essential public services by drawing upon the strengths and balancing the needs of multiple sectors; both public and private. This joint venture is similar to one that United Water began with the Municipal Utilities Authority in Bayonne, NJ in 2012. The partnership in Bayonne has already delivered valuable infrastructure investments and customer service improvements. Other towns that have created similar partnerships in the recent past include: Rialto, CA and Allentown, PA. Some key features of the Middletown SOLUTION agreement include: • An initial payment to the Middletown Borough Authority of $43 million, which will be used to eliminate the Authority’s existing debt, pension liability and improve its finances. • $83 million worth of infrastructure improvements over the life of the contract. • The Middletown Borough Authority will maintain ownership of the water and wastewater system and will provide oversight of the partnership and its adherence to high quality standards...
Smarter Water Meter Data Helps to Detect More than 800 Leaks in Bayonne, NJ

Smarter Water Meter Data Helps to Detect More than 800 Leaks in Bayonne, NJ

Water is relatively inexpensive in the context of your overall household budget. On average, the cost of water is less than a penny a gallon. That makes it all too easy to waste. Right now, in your basement or in your backyard, there’s that one spigot that won’t completely shut off. And you’re paying more for water service than you have to as a result. If that sounds familiar, you don’t live in Bayonne, NJ where United Water, has installed over 10,500 new and smarter meters for 90 percent of the city’s residents and businesses. The data from the new meters enables our dedicated customer service team to show and tell homeowners and the Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority (BMUA) how much water they’re using each day. With real-time data from the new advanced meters, United Water can detect water leaks and quickly inform the customer of the need to take action to prevent a bill spike or worse – property damage that may result from a broken pipe. Meter readers no longer have to walk from door to door resulting in an increased sense of security for homeowners – and we, as a company, no longer have to inconvenience homeowners who would otherwise have to wait at home for a meter-reading appointment. Indeed Bayonne residents have already benefited from the increased information about their water consumption and underground piping that the new meters provide. “We receive regular compliments from customers about the professionalism and follow-through of our employees,” said Chris Riat, United Water senior director of contract operations. “In one instance our customer service supervisor had contacted a resident...