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Middlesex Water Company Launches $160 Million Infrastructure Effort

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

Middlesex Water Company has announced a major infrastructure campaign to enhance safety, reliability and resiliency throughout its water system in New Jersey.

The campaign, Water For Tomorrow®, involves numerous projects designed to upgrade and replace infrastructure and enhance the integrity of system assets to better serve the current and future generations of water users. Middlesex plans to invest $160 million through 2018 in connection with this plan.  The Middlesex system in New Jersey provides retail, commercial and industrial water services to 61,000 homes and businesses in Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, South Amboy, South Plainfield and Woodbridge.

This long-planned capital program follows the recent release of an Infrastructure Report Card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which rated the state of our country’s water infrastructure a D+ and urged a wakeup call attending to the condition of America’s drinking water.

“Working to ensure sustained quality service across generations is a major part of our responsibility as a steward of a precious natural resource that is critical to economic stability, as well as to life itself. This responsibility requires that we make smart, proactive capital investments,” said Dennis W. Doll, Middlesex Water Chairman, President and CEO.  “The projects encompassed in the Water For Tomorrow campaign are all based on rigorous asset management evaluations. They are a natural extension of the diligence we have applied over many years to make prudent investments to bolster our water delivery network, enhance system pressures and storage, provide critical back up supplies, reduce lost water, and enhance the safety of our water treatment process,” added Doll.

Additional information and updates about the Water For Tomorrow program can be found on www.middlesexwater.com.

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NAWC Executive Director Calls Out In The Public Interest for its Private Water Falsehoods

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

In a piece for The Huffington Post, NAWC Executive Director Michael Deane called out In the Public Interest’s Executive Director Donald Cohen for spreading falsehoods about private water.

“Once again, instead of engaging in a constructive conversation about America’s water infrastructure challenges, we find ourselves having to correct rampant misinformation being spread by those opposed to America’s private sector solutions.

In the Public Interest’s Executive Director Donald Cohen recently made some very distorted claims about the Pittsburgh water utility and the city’s consulting arrangement with Veolia, a water services company. Here’s the full story.

In 2012, Veolia and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) entered a peer arrangement under which a small group of Veolia employees worked alongside more than 200 PWSA employees to improve the day-to-day operations of the authority and to share industry best practices. According to the contract agreement between PWSA and Veolia, signed in July 2012, PWSA was “ultimately responsible for the operation and maintenance of its facilities.” Veolia was working in a consulting role.”

Read the full piece here.

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Golden State Water’s William C. Gedney Selected To Serve On Board Of Directors For Metropolitan Water District Of Southern California

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

William C. Gedney, Golden State Water Company’s Vice President of Environmental Quality, has been appointed to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s (Metropolitan) Board of Directors, representing the 46 water providers and nearly 2 million customers served by the Central Basin Municipal Water District (Central Basin).

Metropolitan’s 38-member Board of Directors represents the District’s 26 member agencies and is responsible for establishing and administering Metropolitan’s policies and upholding the articles in the MWD Act.

“I’d like to congratulate Bill for his selection to these prestigious boards, and thank him for serving on behalf of Golden State Water and all member agencies,” said Denise Kruger, Senior Vice President of Regulated Utilities for Golden State Water. “Bill is uniquely qualified for this opportunity, which was made possible because of Assemblymember Cristina Garcia and her leadership with Assembly Bill 1794.”

Gedney’s tenure with Golden State Water has spanned 20 years and included leadership posts as Vice President of Asset Management (2007-15) and Vice President of Water Quality (2004-07). He began his career with Golden State Water in August 1997, when he was hired as the water quality engineer for the utility’s Central District.

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American Water Breaks Ground on New Corporate Headquarters

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

On February 27, 2017, American Water Works Company, Inc., held a groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s new headquarters at One Water Street on The Camden Waterfront. Scheduled for completion in late 2018, the five-story, 220,000 square foot facility will house more than 600 employees, consolidating four different locations in southern New Jersey.

American Water President and CEO Susan Story was joined by U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross; Camden Mayor Dana Redd; Bob Martin, commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Timothy Lizura, president and COO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; William Hankowsky, president and CEO of Liberty Property Trust and more than 150 guests to celebrate the start of construction, which is expected to last about 18 months.

“American Water and our employees are excited about our new home on the Camden waterfront,” said Susan Story, president and CEO of American Water. “We know this will be a place where we can become an even stronger presence in this great city; where we can attract and develop talent for today and the future; and where we can develop solutions to challenges for clean, safe, reliable and affordable water and water services for people across the country.”

The full press release is available on the American Water website.

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Aqua America Hires New Director, Asset Management and Field Services

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

Kauffman_JustinAqua America has announced Justin D. Kauffman as its director, asset management and field services.

In his new position, Kauffman will lead the implementation of Aqua’s well and water distribution asset management plan and develop asset management plans for the company’s surface water plants, wastewater plants and wastewater collection systems. He will also lead the Field Service and National Dispatch team, responsible for dispatching preventative and customer response work orders in Aqua’s eight states.

“Aqua continually strives to innovate and streamline our operational systems to run our business efficiently every day,” said Aqua America Deputy Chief Operating Officer Colleen Arnold. “We look forward to having Justin join our team, where he will work to optimize our operations and improve our processes to best serve our customers.”

Kauffman brings more than 15 years of experience implementing asset management programs and business process enhancement strategies to his role. 
 Prior to joining Aqua, Kauffman spent eight years as a regional technology leader and asset management specialist at CH2M, an engineering consulting, design, construction and operations company. There he developed asset management plans for water utility clients and implemented enterprise-wide work management systems.

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American Water Announces Leadership Changes

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

On February 16, 2017, American Water announced the following changes to its leadership:

  • Robert MacLean was named senior vice president of its Eastern Division and president of New Jersey American Water
  • Richard Svindland was named president of California American Water and Hawaii American Water
  • Carmen Tierno was named president of New York American Water
  • Jeffrey McIntyre was named senior vice president of its Mid-Atlantic Division and president of Pennsylvania American Water
  • Brian Bruce was named president of West Virginia American Water
  • William Varley was named senior vice president of American Water’s Midwest Division
  • Kathy Pape was named American Water’s senior vice president of Regulatory Policy and Business Development

Additional details are available in the American Water online press room.

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Diverse collaborative seeks to accelerate lead service line replacement

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

LSROn January 10, the Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative announced a joint effort to accelerate full removal of the lead pipes providing drinking water to millions of American homes.

Composed of 23 national public health, water utility, environmental, labor, consumer, housing, and state and local governmental organizations, the Collaborative released an online toolkit to help communities voluntarily develop and implement lead service line removal programs. Nationwide, old lead service lines connect an estimated 6.1 million or more homes and businesses to community drinking water mains.

Removing lead service lines provides an opportunity to significantly reduce the risk of exposure to lead in drinking water. Lead impairs children’s normal brain development, contributes to learning and behavioral problems, and lower IQs.

The Collaborative’s toolkit includes a roadmap for getting started, suggested practices to identify and remove lead service lines in a safe, equitable, and cost-effective manner, policies that federal and state leaders could adopt to support local efforts, and links to additional resources that may be helpful when developing local programs. The toolkit is intended to be a living resource, and the Collaborative is seeking communities to pilot and provide feedback on the materials.

While federal efforts and regulations related to lead service line removal are ongoing, the Collaborative is focused on mechanisms to support local action.

The Collaborative:
• Promotes a collaborative, community-based approach, built on contributions from residents, health officers, utilities, environmental and other community leaders, local elected officials, consumers, plumbers, the housing community, and others to help provide the strong foundation needed for successful action.
• Recognizes that fully replacing all lead service lines will take many years to accomplish. For that reason, it is critical for communities to start now.
• Identifies policies that federal and state leaders could adopt to help communities succeed. It does not endorse, or advocate for any of these policies. Its members may do so individually.

Is a joint effort of its members, not a corporation or non-profit organization. In addition to the National Association of Water Companies, current Collaborative members include:
• American Public Health Association
• American Water Works Association
• Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies
• Association of State Drinking Water Administrators
• Blue Green Alliance
• Children’s Environmental Health Network
• Clean Water Action
• Environmental Defense Fund
• Justice and Sustainability Associates
• Learning Disabilities Association of America
• National Center for Healthy Housing
• National Association of County and City Health Officials
• National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates
• National Conference of State Legislatures
• National Environmental Health Association
• National Rural Water Association
• Natural Resources Defense Council
• RESOLVE
• Rural Community Assistance Partnership
• Trust for America’s Health
• United Parents Against Lead
• Water Research Foundation

For more information, go to www.lslr-collaborative.org.

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Pennsylvania American Water Kicks Off Stream Of Learning Scholarship Program

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

Pennsylvania American Water has announced that applications are being accepted for its 2017 Stream of Learning Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to high school seniors who are planning to pursue careers in the water and wastewater industry. The program is designed to support outstanding students living in Pennsylvania American Water’s service territories who are charting a course of study in specific fields, ranging from engineering to environmental science.

The company will award scholarships of $1,000 each to 10 students who are selected through the program’s application process. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

•    Students must currently live in Pennsylvania American Water service area. (Students can attend college outside of the company’s service territory.)
•    Students must plan to attend a two- or four-year college or technical school, and must plan to study environmental science, engineering, biology or chemistry.
•    Students must be high school seniors. (Current college students are not eligible.)

“In the eight years since we launched the program, we have seen how our Stream of Learning Scholarships have attracted many bright, dedicated students into our industry,” said President Kathy L. Pape of Pennsylvania American Water. “We believe in supporting talented young people who have so much to offer and who share our commitment to environmental stewardship and protecting public health.”

Winners will be selected by a panel of judges and will receive their awards in May. Family members of Pennsylvania American Water employees are not eligible.

This month, the company is sending scholarship brochures and applications to high school guidance counselors throughout its service territory. Applications can also be downloaded from the company’s website at www.pennsylvaniaamwater.com and must be postmarked by March 24, 2017.

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Protecting Our Water Sources Brings a Wealth of Benefits

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

Protecting our water sources brings a wealth of benefits
By Andrea Erickson, Managing Director, Water Security, The Nature Conservancy

The journey of our water from source to tap is long, and not one we think much about. For most of us, our water starts high in the mountains, hundreds of miles away. From there, water flows across natural and working lands until a portion is channeled to water pipes that move water to our faucets, to farms and to various types of businesses. Most often we think of those pipes as being our main water infrastructure, but upstream lands play a key role in capturing, storing and moving our water. By conserving these lands, we can better protect our water and generate additional benefits for people and nature.

Today, approximately 40 percent of the land in urban source watersheds of the world’s largest cities show high to moderate levels of degradation. This degradation impacts the present and future quality and reliability of water flows. But by investing in nature, we can reduce these impacts.

A new report released by The Nature Conservancy, Beyond the Source: The environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection, shows that forest protection, reforestation and the use of cover crops can help four out of five of the 4,000 cities analyzed reduce sediment and nutrient pollution in waterways by a meaningful amount. For one in six cities analyzed in the report, the cost of implementing source water protection activities could be recouped through savings in annual water treatment costs alone. For half of the cities analyzed, these activities could be implemented for about US$2 per person annually.

These nature-based solutions also provide a number of co-benefits, including improving the health and well-being of people, preserving biodiversity, capturing and storing carbon and building more climate-resilient communities. When cities “stack” the value of these co-benefits on top of the savings realized in water treatment costs, they can derive even greater value.

Maximizing the benefits of conservation activities will require collective action. Water funds, which enable downstream water users to jointly invest in upstream land conservation and restoration, are a successful mechanism for securing improved water quality and, in some cases, more reliable flows.

For example, in Nairobi, Kenya, high sediment levels in the Tana River from agricultural run-off and development in the mountains catalyzed the development of Africa’s first water fund. Partners in the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund jointly invest in providing upstream farmers with the training, resources and equipment they need to help keep the river healthy, conserve water and reap the benefits of higher crop yields and more stable farms. The fund also has downstream projected benefits including improved water yields and reduced sediment in the river. An analysis of the water fund structure showed that even by conservative estimates the selected watershed interventions could deliver a two-to-one return on investment on average over a 30-year timeframe. During a recent trip to Kenya, the message from water fund investors and participants was clear: it’s in their best interest to make this work. Taking care of the land will ensure the longevity of the agricultural community and create a more sustainable water future throughout the watershed.

As cities and populations grow, and climate change adds undue pressure on vulnerable freshwater systems, maintaining healthy lands around our water sources will be increasingly vital to the future of our water security. By investing in nature, we also invest in our future.

Download the report at nature.org/beyondthesource or visit www.protectingwater.org to explore the data using an interactive map.

 

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Clarification: NAWC and ALEC

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

It has come to our attention that there is some misinformation posted online that incorrectly claims the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) is a current member of American Legislative Exchange Council, or as it is better known, ALEC.

NAWC was, in fact, a member of ALEC in 2012 – and only in 2012 – because during that year, the organization was pushing for model private-public partnership (PPP) legislation, an idea we still strongly support. However, NAWC ultimately decided to not renew its membership in 2013, and we have not been a part of the organization since then.

If you have the any further questions about this topic, please direct your inquiries to Marybeth Leongini at Marybeth@nawc.com.

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