Utilities are obsessed with taking contaminants out of water, but what about contaminants that are emitted into the atmosphere? While it's not their job to remove such pollutants, water utilities can help achieve cleaner air by not being part of the problem. It's an effort that may not be top of mind, but perhaps it should get more consideration; after all, water utilities are stewards of the environment — a badge of honor — and care for the environment most certainly includes the air we breathe.
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has brought focus to this topic with the Great Lakes Water Utility Energy Challenge, which recently concluded its inaugural competition — the first in what will be an annual event. Chad Weikel, Grant Education and Workforce Manager for AWWA, joined Water Talk to discuss how the Challenge came about, the parameters for the contest, the participating utilities, and the winners. He also covers the technology improvements that were made to reduce emissions, as well as the benefits gained.