Putting climate resilience front and center in water utility planning

Putting climate resilience front and center in water utility planning

As a company operating across the world, we encounter global challenges but solutions are always local. And no challenge, global or local, is greater today than climate change. Climate change has numerous implications many of which manifest in the water cycle; in water supply and water quality. To operate our own business sustainably and to enable a resourceful future for those that we serve we must anticipate the challenges brought about by a changing climate. We do this in part by collaborating with key stakeholders such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as we are doing in this particular case. United Water and SUEZ Environnement experts are piloting EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool at the Haworth Treatment facility in Northern New Jersey which provides water service to nearly 1 million people in the region. The tool which is being implemented throughout the country in more than 20 utilities, establishes likely future scenarios for any given area, based upon scientific data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  According to IPCC’s last report, “In many regions, changing precipitation or melting snow and ice are altering hydrological systems, affecting water resources in terms of quantity and quality.” The process defined in collaboration with EPA will identify ways, for example, to better protect critical pump stations from precipitation events or means by which conservation measures can aid supply management. With responsibility for securing a resourceful future for 6.7 million people in communities across the United States, we will transfer the knowledge and findings from this project in New Jersey across our network and add to our expertise in delivering...
Fix a leak week reminds us of the nexus between infrastructure and securing a resourceful future

Fix a leak week reminds us of the nexus between infrastructure and securing a resourceful future

The rate of treated water that is wasted around the U.S. and the world provides for a shocking statistic: up to half of treated water supplied to urban areas around the world is lost during distribution.   And, closer to home, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reminds us that U.S. households leak 1 trillion gallons nationwide every year.  That’s enough water to supply 11 million homes.   Consider this: every day, approximately 6 billion gallons of water are lost to avoidable leaks––enough water to supply the entire state of drought-stricken California.   During #FixaLeak week, utilities and individuals across the country are encouraging their customers and decision-makers makers alike to think globally and act locally.   As individuals we can all take action to fix that dripping faucet or replace our appliances and showerheads with WaterSense products.   As communities, we need to raise our expectations for infrastructure maintenance and replacement. So frequently, water leaks are out-of-sight and out-of-mind until they spring to life and disrupt order in the form of a costly and wasteful water main break.   So chime in on Twitter at #FixaLeak and add your voice to raise awareness!   As we face a future with increasingly scarce resources, we have to consider the state of our public infrastructure and that which supplies our homes. Our infrastructure is the key to using the resources that we depend upon but it can also be a culprit for unnecessary...
United Water Awarded for Protecting Waters Around Narragansett Bay

United Water Awarded for Protecting Waters Around Narragansett Bay

Protecting the environment is our most important job, and so, we’re pleased to announce that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has singled out our wastewater treatment plants in Newport and Providence, Rhode Island, for their exceptional work in protecting the environmentally sensitive waters in and around Narragansett Bay.   Millions of annual visitors to the region enjoy this scenic waterway and expect nothing less than for it to be safe and clean.  Sailing, boating, fishing, kayaking, cruising, swimming and seal watching are a few of the recreational opportunities it offers.   This year, as stewards of this estuary, United Water East Providence received two awards: the 2014 Regional EPA Industrial Pretreatment Program Award and the 2014 Regional EPA Wastewater Treatment Plant Operation and Maintenance Award. United Water Newport won the 2014 Regional EPA Industrial Pretreatment Program Award.   We’re proud of the work we have accomplished with our partners in New England, and by the United Water employees who lead those partnerships.   The East Providence and the Newport plants were both nominated by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) “to acknowledge all the outstanding work” performed by the plants over the years, as well as for “exceptional work in inspecting, permitting and sampling its industrial users that discharge industrial waste into the City’s collection system.”   In East Providence, United Water reconfigured the plant to include, among other things, technology that improves water quality in the Providence River and Narragansett Bay by using naturally occurring microorganisms, rather than chemicals, to remove nitrogen and other nutrients during treatment. In Newport, United Water diligently maintains Newport’s Industrial Pretreatment...