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Canaan, VT and Stewartstown, NH Shared Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements Whitepaper

wastewater treatment facility improvements whitepaperAbstract: The Towns of Canaan, Vermont and Stewartstown, New Hampshire operate a shared wastewater treatment facility, which required significant upgrades. The existing facilities were 40 years old and although a few upgrades were performed in the 90s, the facilities were not performing well, did not meet Life Safety codes, and required significant maintenance. The economical upgrade met all of the goals of the Client by providing for simple operation and maintenance requirements, meeting the Life Safety codes, eliminating confined spaces, lowering of electrical power costs, and meeting discharge parameters through production of high quality effluent.


Canaan, VT and Stewartstown, NH Shared Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements Whitepaper Request

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Pollution Prevention Week – Tips for a Greener Future

pollution-prevention-week-2017Pollution Prevention Week takes place each year during the third week in September. This special week celebrates the passing of the Pollution Prevention Act in 1990, and serves as an opportunity for businesses, individuals, governments, organizations, and groups to focus on pollution prevention (P2) by celebrating their sustainability achievements, expanding current practices, and implementing new initiatives. In addition, P2 Week serves to remind individuals and organizations of the myriad ways that pollution can be prevented.

T&H provides UST services.

While many organizations and initiatives focus on recycling and mitigation, the most efficient and beneficial way to protect the environment is to avoid pollution in the first place. Once the environment has been compromised, it is much more labor intensive, energy intensive, and costly to return conditions to their natural state. For example, ensuring that double-walled Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) are maintained and in good condition is critical to the protection of groundwater and soil. When a UST leaks and contaminates the surrounding area, soil remediation is required, which in some cases can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, any contaminated water will require a much more comprehensive treatment train, leading to expensive infrastructure projects and higher operational costs for water utilities. Preventing the leak in the first place requires simple maintenance and monitoring, such as regular testing of leak detection systems, maintaining accurate inventory records, and maintaining spill buckets, which comes at a small fraction of the cost of clean-up activities to both the wallet and the environment.

Pollution prevention is just as important on an individual level. While the actions of one person may seem insignificant, the collective action of millions of individuals is monumental. In celebration of P2 Week, we’ve assembled 20 simple tips that we can all implement to minimize our environmental footprint.

  1. Make sure your home is well-insulated and has energy efficient windows.

    chickens_lawn_ticks_natural
    While not practical for everyone, chickens provide grub control, aeration, and fertilization for lawns.
  2. Practice environmentally-friendly lawn care (Here are 10 tips to start!)
  3. Use water-based paints and be sure to rinse paint brushes in the sink, where the water will eventually make its way to a wastewater treatment plant, and not outdoors, where the paint will end up in the groundwater.
  4. Utilize LED lights instead of fluorescents, which may contain mercury. When disposing of fluorescent bulbs, be sure to take them to a certified collection center.
  5. Plant trees. They help to keep the air clean.
  6. Utilize recycled content plastic lumber for decks. Plastic lumber lasts far longer than wood lumber and requires no painting.

    leaking-faucet
    Fix leaks to conserve water.
  7. Fix leaks and install water saving faucets and fixtures. (Visit here for more water tips!)
  8. Compost kitchen scraps with worms. Bonus: you’ll get free, organic plant food.
  9. Always bring reusable bags to the grocery store. Worldwide, we throw away over one trillion plastic bags each year, many of which end up in our oceans.
  10. Buy products in the highest bulk possible to avoid excess packaging.
  11. Use non-toxic household cleaners and personal care products.
  12. Dispose all prescription drugs at a certified drop-off location. Do not flush! Prescriptions are wreaking havoc on our water supply.
  13. Use cloth napkins instead disposables, and washable rags instead of paper towels.
  14. Buy organically grown food. Pesticides contaminate our water and harm our environment.
  15. Use reusable glass containers for leftovers and lunches. Avoid plastic baggies and boxes.
  16. Lower household heat by a degree or two, and have the boiler serviced annually to increase efficiency.
  17. Be sure appliances are energy and water efficient, and only run the dishwasher and clothes washer with full loads.
  18. Carpool, walk, or bike to work, or use public transportation. If possible, work at home one day per week to save fuel and energy.
  19. Buy washable clothing that doesn’t require dry cleaning. Dry cleaners are a large contributor to environmental contamination.
  20. Use rechargeable batteries, and be sure to dispose regular alkaline batteries at a certified drop-off location. Batteries can wreak havoc on our soil.

Do you have any other easy tips to prevent pollution? If so, share them in the comments. As Vincent Van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” At Tata & Howard, each of us looks forward to creating a greener, healthier future by doing our individual, small part to decrease pollution. Happy Pollution Prevention Week!

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Not Just for Manufacturing — Lean Techniques for Water and Wastewater Utilities

operational-excellence-lean-manufacturingThe term “Lean” has become widely used in the manufacturing sector since the late 1980s when it was first used by James P. Womack, Ph.D. of MIT’s International Motor Vehicle Program to describe Toyota’s highly successful manufacturing process and business model. While its core premise of eliminating waste is quite simple, identification of waste and implementation of best practices takes effort. Waste can be defined as any process or activity without value — such as overproduction, defects, and waiting — and accounts for up to 60% of a typical manufacturing company’s production activities.

But Lean isn’t just for manufacturing companies. In fact, most companies can benefit greatly from incorporating Lean techniques into their standard operating procedures. At its core, Lean enables a business to run more efficiently by improving quality and reducing costs, whether that company is a car manufacturer, a hospital, a retail operation — or even a water or wastewater utility.

Key Principles

5-principles-of-lean-manufacturingThe Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), long considered the premier resource for lean theory and training, identifies the five key Lean principles as value, value stream, flow, pull, and perfection. Value is always defined through the customer, and addresses such issues as price point, delivery timelines, requirements, and expectations. Value to a water or wastewater utility may include price, quality of water or effluent, reliability of service, and meeting regulatory requirements.

Once value has been established, each and every step and process taken to meet that value is mapped as the value stream. These steps include not only manufacturing processes, but also contributing areas and departments including administrative, human resources, and customer service. By mapping every step in the process, identification of areas lacking value can be identified and addressed. Value streaming results in not only less waste, but also improved operational understanding.

Flow refers to process efficiency and is the next step after waste was been eliminated from the value stream. Often, creating true flow requires cross-functionality across departments, something that can be a challenge for companies to implement. However, this step also boasts some of the highest efficiency gains. For water and wastewater utilities, increasing flow may include moving towards transparent communication between operators and management and standardization and documentation of processes and effective practice guidelines. Ensuring that the remaining steps in the process occur smoothly and without interruption is key to the lean process.

Reducing waste in the value stream and improving flow enables a manufacturing company to shorten the manufacturing process and implement “just in time” delivery, or pull. In service operations such as water and wastewater systems, pull focuses on the people and refers to the way in which work is distributed and managed. In a traditional push system, all projects and tasks are distributed as a giant to-do list, which can lead to disorganization, diluted priorities, and employees feeling overwhelmed. In a pull system, workers are allowed to pull in tasks as they are ready, leading to a more focused approach to projects, better prioritization of key initiatives, and increased communication between workers at all levels. Organizations that utilize a pull system for work realize a significant reduction in wasted time resulting in far more efficient time utilization.

The final step may actually be the most important: perfection. Perfection refers to continuous improvement by incorporating Lean thinking into the very fabric of the corporate culture. Perfection acknowledges that true Lean requires constant effort and is never static.

Lean Implementation

Because the main goal of Lean is to create more value with fewer resources, a Lean company strives to create an organization that provides perfect value with zero waste. In addition to changing from silo to matrix management, implementing Lean follows four basic tenets, known as the four Ps of Lean thinking: purpose, process, people, and performance.

4-ps-of-lean-manufacturingPurpose

Companies must first determine their essential purpose. For some companies, profit may be the driving motivation, while others may exist for philanthropic purposes. Water and wastewater utilities provide an essential service to customers. Besides the general purpose of the organization, a company must also determine its philosophical drivers. These can include core values, mission, and vision.

Process

Once purpose has been determined, a company must determine the process by which it reaches its customer and produces the product, whatever that product may be. Simply put, process refers to the way in which a business operates in relation to its customer and its internal operations. Most of the key principles of Lean thinking can be applied during the process step. Unfortunately, it is also the step at which many businesses become stuck if they lose focus or lack cooperation from employees or management.

People

People refers not only to those for whom the product or service is created, but also the people within the organization who create the product or service. In other words, people are customers and employees, as well as some consultants and suppliers. Developing employees, growing leaders, improving management, and showing respect at all levels are important facets of this critical step.

Performance

Performance is the final step of the Lean approach and is in line with the perfection principle. A company must assess any improvement in its ability to deliver its product or service, and identify any additional gaps. Lean implementation typically goes through many trials and iterations before truly successful performance is achieved. Again, it is critical to remember that Lean is a continuous process that requires vigilance and ongoing effort from an organization.

Lean Thinking in Water and Wastewater Operations

wastewater-operatorBecause it is often referred to as lean manufacturing, there is a misconception that Lean is strictly for manufacturing organizations. In fact, Lean is not a set of tactics or a simple method of cost reduction; rather, Lean is a completely different way of thinking and operating on an organization-wide basis.

For water and wastewater, Tata & Howard’s proprietary Business Practice Evaluation (BPE) is a highly effective methodology that can assist utilities in becoming lean organizations. By definition, a BPE is a “process that assesses the health of a utility’s business practices with the goal of minimizing the total cost of managing, operating, and maintaining utility assets while delivering exceptional service to customers” — the core definition of lean thinking. A BPE accomplishes this by assessing all business practices, identifying opportunities for improvement, and implementing a framework for a structured approach to managing, operating, and maintaining a utility in the same manner as a profitable business, where focus is placed on management of resources, employee engagement, operational efficiency, and customer service. The finished product provides a utility with a clear understanding of baseline history and areas of opportunity for improvement.  In addition, the utility receives a matrix of recommendations for each business practice they want to improve, along with the risk and consequence of inaction. Organizations that have conducted a BPE significantly improve the operational efficiency of their utility. A BPE is arguably one of the most important steps in a water or wastewater utility’s journey toward becoming a truly Lean organization.

In Conclusion

All types of businesses across all industries and service offerings are turning toward Lean thinking to remain competitive and profitable in today’s consistently changing corporate climate. Successful Lean organizations recognize that lean is not a one-time cost reduction program or a quick fix, but rather a completely different way of thinking and operating that constantly evolves. While true Lean transformation takes long-term vigilance and attention, the benefits of increased operational efficiency, exceptional customer satisfaction, and better profitability are well worth the effort.

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Engineering Technician – Waterbury, CT

We are looking for a motivated Engineering Technician to join our Waterbury office. The primary purpose of this position is to support this busy office in a variety of areas including but not limited to assisting in field surveys, general office work, drafting of plans, construction inspection, soil testing, assisting with dam inspections, GIS, client correspondence, and report writing.  The selected candidate will work directly with project managers.  The successful candidate will have a strong interest in water resources, and must be a self-starter and willing to help our team with a variety of assignments, both in the office and in the field.  Experience with MS Office is required, and experience with GIS and Auto CAD is preferred, although training will be provided if other experience meets our requirements.

Requirements:

  • Associates Degree in Engineering Technology or equivalent.
  • Strong verbal communication and a willingness to learn.
  • Candidate must be able to work well independently and in teams and manage multiple assignments simultaneously.

If interested, please send resume and cover letter to mmaynard@tataandhoward.com. Please note that Tata & Howard does not sponsor applicants for work visas.

Project Manager, Water Engineering – Marlborough, MA

We are looking for a qualified and highly motivated Project Manager with 10-12 years’ experience in water distribution engineering to join our Marlborough office. The selected candidate will work directly with our clients and a team of design engineers in a variety of civil engineering projects including but not limited to pipelines, pump stations, and water treatment. The successful candidate will have a proven record of meeting project deadlines and budgets.  Other responsibilities include mentoring and training junior engineers, coordinating/participating in the preparation of plans and specifications, technical report writing, and documenting project activities, findings, and recommendations, with limited supervision. This position will also have business development responsibilities including lead identification, prospect meetings, and participation in proposals as appropriate.  The candidate must be a self-starter with a solid understanding of the consulting engineering industry. Familiarity with Deltek Vision project management system a plus.

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering.
  • 10-12 years of experience in the consulting engineering industry involving the design of municipal water systems.
  • Registered Professional Civil Engineer in the State of Massachusetts or the ability to obtain through reciprocity.
  • Previous experience working on and managing projects for municipal water clients.
  • Proven history of developing and managing projects from design through construction.
  • Candidate must have strong technical skills.
  • Strong written and verbal communication, organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • Candidate must be able to work well independently and in teams and manage multiple projects simultaneously.

To be considered, please send resume with cover letter to mmaynard@tataandhoward.com.

Please note that Tata & Howard does not sponsor applicants for work visas.

Tata & Howard Sponsors Virtual 5K to Raise Funds for Navajo Water Project

Some T&H team members chose to run the race together on August 16, 2017

This summer, Tata & Howard organized and sponsored a virtual 5K to raise funds for the Navajo Water Project. Runners were able to complete the race in their own time and space between July 1 and August 31, 2017, after which they received a custom-designed medal featuring a Navajo dragonfly, the symbol of water to the Navajo people. Over $1,000 was raised, all of which benefitted the Navajo Water Project in an effort to bring safe, clean drinking water to the thousands of residents of Navajo Nation who do not have running water or a toilet in their homes.

A group of runners from central MA gathered together to run the Navajo Water Project 5K on August 26, 2017

Some Tata & Howard runners decided to participate in the 5K together after work on August 16, while the Wormtown Milers — a central Massachusetts running team headed up by Marketing Communications Manager Heidi White —took to the streets of Worcester, MA to run the 5K together on August 26. Both live events were a lot of fun. In addition, virtual runners from as far away as Arizona participated in this philanthropic event.

Navajo Water Project Background:

Just like African women and children who leave their homes each day to fetch unimproved water that is miles away, thousands of Navajo also make a daily journey in search of water. For the few fortunate who own cars, they may drive to find water, although the gas expense is almost unbearable for many. For those without vehicles, they must walk miles to find water, sometimes getting the water from livestock troughs that are rife with bacteria and contaminants, other times getting water from unregulated wells and stock ponds.

 

Not only do the Navajo have to travel for miles to find water, but the water they do find is often contaminated. As a result of the heavy mining that took place in the area during the nuclear arms race following World War II, much of the water found in Navajo Nation is heavily contaminated with uranium or other radioactive particles.

Chris Halter, director of Saint Bonaventure Indian Mission, has done work in some of the poorest parts of Africa and Latin America. Working in Navajo Nation for the past eight years, he notes, “It’s a third world country in the middle of the wealthiest country in the world.”

Many Navajo can’t get enough clean water, creating a cycle of poverty that limits health, happiness, educational opportunity, and economic security. Of the 174,000 residents of Navajo Nation, 40% do not have running water. The goal of the Navajo Water Project is to bring safe, clean drinking water to every household in Navajo Nation.

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World Water Week 2017 – Water and Waste: Reduce and Reuse

world-water-weekWorld Water Week is an annual event organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) that focuses on global water issues, and this year’s theme is “Water and Waste: Reduce and Reuse.” The main event takes place in Stockholm, Sweden where experts, innovators, stakeholders, and young professionals from various sectors around the globe will come together to share ideas, foster relationships, and develop innovative solutions to the world’s most urgent water-related problems. In 2016, over 3,300 individuals and over 330 organizations from 130 countries around the world participated in World Water Week, and the expectation is that 2017 will see at least those numbers. Through this year’s theme, World Water Week is focusing on two targets addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including improving water quality and reducing waste by 2030 in order to help achieve sustainable development in a rapidly changing world.

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is most commonly defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This means that we cannot meet our current needs at the expense or depletion of our natural resources. Degradation of water quality not only has a negative environmental effect, but also limits the water supply available for human usage. Therefore, we must develop and implement innovative solutions to improving water quality if we are to plan for a sustainable future. Fortunately, there exist easily implementable methodologies for improving water quality throughout the water environment.

Utilize mores sustainable water treatment technologies that limit environmental impact

Chemical additives have a significant impact on the health of the environment and its inhabitants. Implementing alternative treatment methodologies such as ozonation, ultraviolet radiation, and biological media helps to minimize the impact that water treatment has on our natural world, and protect our water supply for the future.

 

Minimize, and eventually eliminate, using drinking quality water for non-potable purposes

Producing drinking quality water utilizes a significant amount of energy, resources, and treatment chemicals, all of which have a negative impact on the environment. Minimizing the use of potable drinking water for other functions, including agricultural, industrial, and non-potable residential, helps to ease the burden placed on resources, the environment, and budgets.

Reduce lost water in municipal distribution systems

Communities lose millions of gallons of water each year to leaks in the distribution system. While replacing compromised pipes seems like an easy solution, the problem is actually much more complicated. Municipalities do not have sufficient funds to implement large-scale replacement projects; therefore, many compromised pipes remain in use, contributing to distribution system water loss. This loss results in reduced supply, which in turn forces some systems to seek alternate sources at a cost to both the environment and their budgets.

Conducting water audits and pipe condition assessments should be the first step towards efficient, cost-effective pipe replacement programs. Water audits help to identify the causes of water loss while developing strategies to reduce this loss, while pipe condition assessments provide insight into the quality and reliability of water distribution systems. Drinking water infrastructure in the United States, particularly in the northeast, is typically many decades-old, and deteriorating distribution systems can be a significant source of water loss through leakage. Effective water loss control programs reduce the need for facility upgrades and expansions, and in many instances, can reduce the need to find additional sources. In addition, a water loss control program can help protect public health by reducing the number of entry points for disease‐causing pathogens.

Incorporate stormwater best management practices into the built environment

Rain gardens help manage stormwater with minimal impact to the environment

Stormwater management traditionally meant infrastructure such as catch basins. Modern day stormwater management takes a much more holistic approach and maximizes the use of both the natural and engineered landscape. Some examples include onsite catchment and use, reduction of impervious surfaces, stormwater engineering such as bumpouts and tree boxes, and stormwater landscaping such as rain gardens and grassed swales.

Minimize stormwater pollution

Stormwater pollution occurs when precipitation picks up debris, trash, fertilizers, animal waste, pesticides, and improperly discarded chemicals as it moves over the ground. Reducing fertilizer and pesticide usage, cleaning up after pets, and ensuring that trash and chemicals are disposed of properly help to reduce the amount of contamination entering our waterways.

Reuse wastewater

After adequate treatment of wastewater to remove all pollutants and pathogens, it should be reused as much as possible. Treated byproducts can be used for fertilizer and methane fuel, and highly treated water can be reused for aquifer recharging, and even for drinking water.

And of course – educate!

Promote conservation, efficiency, and innovation in water use by incentivizing water conservation, implementing public outreach and education, and encouraging the adoption of methodologies and the usage of products that utilize the latest in water-efficient technologies.

In Conclusion

Achieving sustainable development is only achievable if we focus on the protection of our natural resources at every level. From improving treatment plant efficiency to installing WaterSense fixtures in our homes, creating a truly water wise future requires involvement from governments to individuals on a global level. Since 1991, World Water Week has served as a forum for legislators, scientists, experts, and interested parties to form partnerships and alliances, and to collaboratively find solutions to today’s most urgent water-related issues.

Water/Wastewater Project Engineer – Waterbury, CT

Job Description:

We are looking for a qualified and highly motivated Civil/Environmental Engineer with 4-7 years experience in water and/or wastewater engineering to address the needs of a growing firm. The selected candidate will support a variety of civil engineering design projects including but not limited to pipelines, pump stations, and water treatment. The successful candidate will take the lead in project execution, project cost estimates and schedules, project work plans, keeping projects on schedule and within budget, and coordinating/participating in the preparation of plans and specifications, technical reports documenting project activities, findings, and recommendations, with limited supervision. The candidate must be a self-starter with a solid understanding of the consulting engineering industry. Familiarity with Deltek Vision project management system a plus.

Requirements:

  • Minimum of 4 years of experience in the consulting engineering industry involving the design of municipal water and/or wastewater systems.
  • Registered Professional Civil Engineer in the State of Connecticut or the ability to obtain within one year.
  • Candidate must have strong technical skills and history of successful projects.
  • Strong written and verbal communication, organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • Candidate must be able to work well independently and in teams and manage multiple projects simultaneously.

Please note that Tata & Howard does not sponsor applicants for work visas.

To apply, please send resume and cover letter to mmaynard@tataandhoward.com.

Water/Wastewater Engineer – Waterbury, CT

Tata & Howard has an opportunity for entry level Civil and/or Environmental Engineers with a strong interest in municipal water and/or wastewater design. Ideal candidates should have some experience with design and development of water and/or wastewater engineering solutions, AutoCAD, and Microsoft Office applications. Experience in hydraulic modeling, asset management, and dam safety work a plus. Responsibilities include project design, site investigations and surveys, analysis of data, interaction with clients, and developing engineering reports, models, and calculations related to the design of water/wastewater and stormwater collection/distribution systems. Additional responsibilities include developing familiarity with government, client, and industry local codes, regulations, and standards; health and safety requirements; and environmental concerns. Successful candidates will be adept at applying engineering principles to develop effective solutions. Minimum qualifications include Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering or related field. Successful candidates must possess strong technical and business writing skills.

Please note that Tata & Howard does not sponsor applicants for work visas.

Please send resume and cover letter by email to mmaynard@tataandhoward.com.

Wastewater Manager – Waterbury, CT

Tata & Howard is seeking to fill positions for a Wastewater Manager with 10+ years experience in wastewater system consulting services. The primary charge of this position is to develop wastewater business in New England and aggressively promote Tata & Howard as a preferred engineering services provider to the public, municipal, and private utility sector in the region.  Minimum qualifications include Bachelor of Science Degree within the Civil and Environmental Engineering or related field.  Must be a Registered Professional Engineer.  Candidate must have a proven successful technical background in the design and development of wastewater engineering applications. Potential opportunity to lead the firm’s wastewater efforts.  Must show evidence of success in managing projects from proposal through inception and into final stage of completion (previous project management experience).  Candidates must have strong technical and business writing skills preferably evidenced by examples.

Please note that Tata & Howard does not sponsor applicants for work visas.

Please send resume and cover letter by email to mmaynard@tataandhoward.com.