Water Environment & Technology (WE&T) is the premier magazine for the water quality field. WE&T provides information on what professionals demand: cutting-edge technologies, innovative solutions, operations and maintenance, regulatory and legislative impacts, and professional development.
The promised and the practical
Traditional approaches to
solving water quality problems are becoming increasingly unaffordable for
municipalities. Integrated water resources planning offers communities an
affordable path to meet water quality requirements and restore affected
An integrated planning
approach ideally would encompass point-source municipal stormwater and
wastewater treatment, collection system management, and nonpoint sources. An
integrated plan should result in cost savings, achievable capital renewal
plans, targeted operations investments, balanced and equitable rate and fee
structures, collaboration among stakeholders and regulatory entities, improved
receiving water quality, and sustainable utility systems.
Gold star standards
The operation of public
drinking water and wastewater systems depends on the competence of highly
trained water and wastewater operators. Without the knowledge and experience of
these individuals, water quality and availability are at risk. Despite the
critical nature of their work, operators often are viewed as tradesmen rather
than professionals. This perception could have negative consequences as
operators continue to advance and retire while qualified younger workers opt out
of a profession that does not bring the prestige it deserves.
More beer, less yuck factor
Craft beers made with
effluent help spread the water reuse message
Utilities and municipalities battle to overcome the yuck factor
associated with using wastewater effluent for both nonpotable and potable water
supplies. Now they have added a new weapon to their arsenal: craft beer.
Coming in the next issue:
Putting water in its place
Even though disaster seems to
strike at the worst possible moment, the truth is water has neither wickedness nor
a heart. Perhaps the most apt descriptor for water is persistence. It never
It unsympathetically seeps,
trickles, gushes, and surges; and it is the responsibility of the water
professional to control it. Water sector professionals must remain diligent to
manage high flows from storms, keep up with ongoing rehabilitation needs, and
design new systems to maintain pace with growing communities.
Sometimes, that control means
reaching upstream to get at the root of a problem. The City of Baltimore
stretched just a few physical feet by creating a sewer lateral inspection and renewal
program. The overall results, however, have been attention for high-priority
areas, pinpointing neighborhoods with compromised laterals and progress in
reducing lateral chokes and basement backups. Customers also like the city’s proactive
In other cases, the right
choice is defying convention. Near St. Louis, Mo., a utility found that keeping
things above ground kept costs lower. Instead of building a traditional relief
tunnel to contain sanitary sewer overflows, the utility held excess flow in
giant tanks at two sites until it could be released to the existing sewer. This
choice has worked well and saved more than $80 million.
And once in a while, there is
nothing to do but plan, prepare, and hope for the best. The area near Austin,
Texas, is subject to frequent flash floods. The Austin Water Utility (AWU) has
implemented flood preparedness measures at its two large water resource
recovery facilities, including operational modifications, structural improvements,
and facility expansions.
In October 2013, these
improvements underwent the ultimate test when the area received a double wallop
of heavy rainfall. As the floodwaters rose, the real-world test of the
planning, procedures, and preparedness, began. Even though the storms wreaked
havoc on one of the facilities for 3 days, the experience provided valuable
lessons that the utility continues to apply.