Every water distribution utility has a strategy for infrastructure asset management and repair — from simply reacting to breaks, to scheduling main replacements based on system-specific history, to prioritizing infrastructure repairs based on mathematical calculations of risks and consequences.
As if they don’t already face enough challenges, water treatment plants (WTPs) in the western U.S. have yet another potential problem lurking in their source water waiting to blossom when they least expect it. This specific problem comes in the form of two invasive species: quagga mussels and zebra mussels.
Not every city expects a dramatic growth spurt of 50,000 jobs, and only one metropolitan area will emerge victorious from the much-heralded Amazon HQ2 competition. Still, the prospects of water or wastewater system growth, or even escalating maintenance on aging infrastructure, raise important questions about your utility’s 10-year plan. Do you have one? If you do, how up-to-date is it? And if you don’t, isn’t it time to start thinking about developing one?
In the cash-strapped water sector, $5.5 billion doesn’t grow on trees. That is why, for drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities facing funding challenges due to regional growth, aging infrastructure, or other needs, the recent announcement of that amount of funding under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) is welcome news.
Since 1999, when business people at more than 150,000 companies worldwide wanted to keep better track of their customers — and be more responsive — they turned to Salesforce.com and its industry-leading customer relationship management (CRM) software. Now, companies looking for ideas on sustainability, in terms of water recycling, can turn to the new Salesforce Tower in San Francisco as a leading-edge environmental solution as well. It is estimated that the building’s water recycling system will save more than 7.5-million gallons of drinking water annually — enough to supply more than 16,000 San Francisco residents.
The Greater Lawrence Sanitary District (GLSD) in North Andover, MA, was one of 28 organizations nationwide to be honored for an innovative water or wastewater project in the most recent PISCES Recognition Program sponsored by the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). PISCES stands for Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success.
By now, just about everyone in the U.S. has heard about Flint, Michigan’s water woes. Despite the many issues raised by that incident, urban water systems are not the sole reason the 2017 Report Card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the U.S. drinking water infrastructure an overall “D” grade. Hidden within that disheartening rating are the harsh realities faced by rural water systems.
There is little doubt that America’s infrastructure is aging, and in some cases, operating well beyond its originally intended lifespan. With labor costs representing up to half of the cost of pipe replacement, the key to cost-effective water and wastewater utility strategies revolves as much around labor-saving installation efficiency as it does around the physical performance of a particular material. Here is a look at historic failure rates, causes, and factors to consider when replacing existing water distribution and sewer networks.
Inflow and infiltration (I&I) are ongoing concerns for many wastewater utilities. Even with diligent maintenance of infrastructure, there are limits to what can be controlled. One example of that is leakage in the lateral service lines connecting the sewer utility’s main to sewer customer buildings. Here is how one municipality took advantage of federal and local funding to encourage nearly 2,500 customers to upgrade deficient connections in their lateral service lines — to the tune of more than $4 million.
The trend of losing top-tier water-treatment employees to retirement has been receiving enough press recently that water treatment plant (WTP) and wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) managers are starting to plan ahead. Having to groom and certify mid-level employees to fill top-tier spots is difficult enough. Finding qualified and interested prospects to fill in entry-level positions is getting even harder.