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...
Safety First: Call in before digging in

Safety First: Call in before digging in

  It’s beginning to look a lot like springtime! And that means it’s time to work outdoors and tackle many “do it yourself” DIY projects around the house and neighborhood. Are you planning a home improvement job? Planting a tree? Installing a fence or deck? Hiring a contractor? Wait! Here’s what you need to know first! Water main breaks and other service disruptions are frequently caused by contractors who made haste to do a job and neglected to call 8-1-1 to locate underground cable, fiber optic, gas, electric, water or sewer lines before digging.  Don’t be THAT person! 811 is a smart and easy way to avoid water main break, an electrical outage or sometimes worse; a gas accident. You can dial 8-1-1 from anywhere in the country a few days prior to breaking ground, and your call will be routed to your local “One-Call”  Center. An operator will walk you through the process and then send a locator to mark the approximate location of your underground lines, pipes and cables. It is as easy as it sounds and it can keep you and your neighbors safe! We do our part by calling 811 in order to prevent damage to underground utility infrastructure and to ensure public safety and environmental protection when we work. We’re making many upgrades to our infrastructure throughout the country.  We are well on our way to investing $1 billion in infrastructure over the next 5 years and we are becoming a frequent caller.  We are committed to “Doing it Right,” working safely and preventing risks. For more information on your local One Call Center, or...
An Interview with Author James Salzman on the History of Drinking Water: Part II

An Interview with Author James Salzman on the History of Drinking Water: Part II

  The United Water Blog sat down with Professor Jim Salzman from Duke University to speak about his new book, Drinking Water: A History.  We’re both water wonks who have an interest in bringing important information about the most essential public service – water – to a general audience.  And that is exactly what his new book does.  We asked him for his thoughts on popular water issues and debates; from bottled water, to infrastructure investments. This is the second of two installments of our interview with Salzman.   UW Blog:  In your book that details the history of drinking water, you imply that there are historical incidences of people thinking that their water was safe and clean when it really wasn’t. And now there may be a perception that drinking water is less safe than it actually is.  Was there a historical incident that marked this change in perception? Salzman: The question of  drinking water safety is  very interesting. To a certain extent it’s always been considered clean and drinkable.  Our notion of what is safe has changed. Every society throughout history has had to have some reliable sources of drinking water. They had no choice. Even before the understanding of the germ theory of disease entered our collective conscience, each society, 100 years or 500 years ago believed their water was “safe enough.” Sure, people got sick from time to time, but that was the nature of things. Just a hundred years ago, dying from waterborne typhoid or cholera was commonplace in the United States. Waterborne diseases remained commonplace until municipal drinking water systems were built and...
An Interview with Author James Salzman on the History of Drinking Water: Part I

An Interview with Author James Salzman on the History of Drinking Water: Part I

The United Water Blog sat down with Professor Jim Salzman from Duke University to speak about his new book, Drinking Water: A History. We’re both water wonks who have an interest in bringing important information about the most essential public service – water – to a general audience. And that is exactly what his new book does. We asked him for his thoughts on popular water issues and debates; from bottled water, to infrastructure investments. We will publish our interview with Salzman in two installments.   UW Blog: It sounds like the impetus for writing your book was driven by a question: if our water is the cleanest in the world, why is bottled water so prevalent? That’s an interesting question. Can you summarize your findings?   Salzman: To a certain extent I think the fashion changed, consumption preferences changed. Bottled water was long seen as a chic or luxury product. It is less so now, it is more considered as any other beverage choice.For example, my students now want to be seen as environmentally conscious, so there is some kind of peer pressure to drink tap water from a refillable bottle, for example. Student culture has changed. Many environmental groups – in New York and San Francisco for starters – have used public relations campaigns to raise awareness of the environmental impact of bottled water. To their credit – they raised the level of consumer consciousness and have pressed the bottled water industry to be more responsible in their packaging. That’s said bottled water is going head to head right now in market share with sodas and soft...

Safeguarding our water: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Earlier this month, the water supply for over 300,000 people in Charleston, West Virginia was significantly impacted by a spill at an upstream chemical facility. Residents were without running water for days as the local water company worked to ensure the safety of the water that had been compromised by an event and actions beyond their control.    The local water company was able to prevent most residents from drinking contaminated water. A water providers’ primary responsibility is to treat and provide safe and reliable water; and to shield customers from drinking unsafe water – in the event of a contamination. And United Water, similarly, has multiple layers of procedures and safeguards in place at our facilities to prevent that from happening.   But when West Virginia residents were without water for a prolonged time – as the local water company worked to ensure its safety – we were all reminded of the importance of safe, clean and reliable water.   United Water-from its national experience and from the benefit of Suez Environnement’s global experience – offered expert testimony to U.S. Congress on ways to prevent future chemical spills and protect source waters.   United Water supports three key preventative policy measures to safeguard our waterways;   1. Prevent spills and protect water by requiring more robust inspections and controls at bulk chemical storage and manufacturing facilities, particularly those located close to waters that serve drinking water sources;   2. Provide water systems with specific data and information about chemicals that are stored in areas where they might pose the greatest and most immediate risk to drinking water supplies;   3....