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...
Pennsylvania’s commitment to infrastructure investment benefits environment, economy

Pennsylvania’s commitment to infrastructure investment benefits environment, economy

  Pennsylvania’s state leadership got it right. When Governor Corbett announced the availability of $41.7 million in loans for water infrastructure earlier this year, he was quoted as follows: “The investments that we make today in our environment and economy will improve the quality of life for Pennsylvanians in all corners of the Commonwealth.” In addition to the State’s leadership, Pennsylvania has several water companies that are also able to finance water investments. United Water will do our part, in partnership with the state and communities where we do business, to invest nearly $46 million over the next 5 years in the areas we serve – for reliability purposes. Our customers in several communities including Bloomsburg, Mechanicsburg, Dallas, Hummelstown and the suburbs of Harrisburg will benefit from these reliability investments. Our improvement initiatives are especially timely as changing weather patterns make infrastructure ever more vulnerable to the whims of nature. It should come as no surprise that states which prioritize public investments and seek public-private solutions are able to attract more money than those that don’t. Pennsylvania has not been complacent with the state of its infrastructure for quite some time. A line of Pennsylvania Governors have lead on this issue. In fact, since 1996 Pennsylvania has utilized an infrastructure replacement financing program, a rate mechanism, that has effectively directed private companies like United Water to proactively make major investments to the oldest underground water pipes that are most vulnerable and most likely to cause water main breaks, degradation in water quality and service disruptions. Several states – most recently New Jersey – followed Pennsylvania by enacting a similar program...

Partnering to meet sustainable development goals in California

We manage water professionally – it is what we do. Many companies and cities have a component of water management in their sustainable development commitments and targets. And we frequently use our expertise to help others design and meet sustainable development goals. United Water has contributed to arid Los Angeles County’s ability to save nearly 100 billion gallons of water over the past 10 years. Through a partnership with the West Basin Municipal Water District that has been extended, we have managed and will continue to manage the largest water recycling facility in the world.  Check out this video to learn about this very cool water recycling facility and to learn about all of the beneficiaries of this project: from sea lions to oil refineries to Californians.     West Basin from United Water on...

Innovating for Water’s Future Roundtable – Opportunities and Solutions for Innovation

The U.S. Water Alliance (USWA) and the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) recently convened a roundtable of industry leaders to discuss ways to promote the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies within the water industry. “Innovating for Water’s Future” was an all day event consisting of three sessions, including an in-depth discussion on opportunities and solutions to innovation. During this session water and wastewater equipment manufacturers, municipalities and public works officials discussed and shared their point-of-view on the biggest opportunities for innovation. According to the findings of a recent survey conducted by WWEMA, the top five opportunities for manufacturers to innovate are: Employ full-cost pricing of water Using “value based” versus “or equal” procurement procedures Address permitting requirements Establish a federal guarantee program for technology replacement Prioritize low cost of ownership in the selection of technologies During the session Federal regulators also offered their perspective on opportunities and solutions for encouraging new technologies. According to the regulators, innovation and new technologies is a priority, not only because of the potential implications for public health and the environment, but also because the development of such new technologies is good for U.S. exports and helps to maintain the nation’s trade surplus. The federal regulators offered some examples of innovation the federal government has developed and/or recognized through awards programs, including a smart phone application with a sensor that provides real-time water quality data; the SWIM, a storm water data calculator; and a pipe leak-detection product currently in use as a pilot program by the Department of Defense. One way the federal government supports innovation is through the...

Innovating for Water’s Future Roundtable – Challenges and Barriers to Innovation

The U.S. Water Alliance (USWA) and the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) recently convened a roundtable of industry leaders to discuss ways to promote the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies within the water industry. “Innovating for Water’s Future” was an all day event consisting of three sessions and began with an in-depth discussion on challenges and barriers to innovation. During this session water and wastewater equipment manufacturers, municipalities and public works officials discussed and shared their point-of-view on the biggest barriers to innovation. According to the findings of a recent survey conducted by WWEMA, the top five barriers to innovation for manufacturers are: The risk-averse nature of the industry The low cost of water Procurement methods that give preference to low cost vs. lowest cost of ownership; Complicated state permitting requirements Buy American restrictions This discussion also focused on the barriers to innovation from the standpoint of municipalities, who are dealing with steep increases in water expenditures. Between 2001 and 2010, local governments spent $864 billion on public water (including both capital expenditures and operations/maintenance). Municipalities continue to face challenges such as such as inflation; population growth and expansion; uncertainty about the economy; and the possibility of a cap being placed on tax-exempt bond financing. Most of these challenges are out of the control of cities and counties, which make it difficult for municipalities to meet their water demands, never mind innovate. The biggest challenge from public work directors’ perspective was the challenge of upgrading facilities without disrupting the community and their own operations. Dismantling, construction and installation of new technologies without interruption of...
Industry Leaders Convene to Discuss Water Innovation

Industry Leaders Convene to Discuss Water Innovation

The U.S. Water Alliance (USWA) and the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) recently convened a roundtable of industry leaders to discuss ways to promote the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies within the water industry. More than 60 policy makers, regulators, manufacturers and industry stakeholders, including Brent Fewell, Senior Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety at United Water and Chair of the U.S. Water Alliance’s Business Advisory Council, attended the roundtable. The roundtable discussion, “Innovating for Water’s Future”, was an all day event consisting of three sessions: Framing the Needs and Challenges to Innovation: The discussion focused on barriers to innovation from the point of view of water and wastewater equipment manufacturers, municipalities and public works officials. Participants of this sessions included Deb Lavelle, Chair, WWEMA; Rich Anderson, Senior Advisor, U.S. Conference of Mayors and Robert Steidel, Director of Public Utilities, City of Richmond (Virginia). Leveraging Existing and Exploring New Opportunities in innovation: The discussion focused on opportunities and solutions from the perspective of manufacturers, state and federal regulators. Participants included Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Water, U.S. EPA; Suzanne van Drunick and Sally Gutierrez, Office of Research and Development, U.S. EPA; Alex Dunn, Executive Director and General Counsel, Association of Clean Water Administrators and Jim Taft, Executive Director, Association of State Drinking Water Administrators. Facilitated Discussion: The final session focused on additional perspectives from all the participants of the roundtable and was facilitated by Brent Fewell, Senior Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety, United Water....