It’s No Joke: April 1 is National Walking Day

national walking daySince 2007, the American Heart Association has been celebrating National Walking Day on the first Wednesday in April. This year, it falls on April Fool’s Day, and while some pranksters will be affixing rubber bands to the kitchen faucet spray nozzle or staging fake spilled coffee in the break room, many individuals and corporations will be getting their smiles in a different way: walking.

Tata & Howard team members will be participating in National Walking Day for a myriad of reasons. A sedentary lifestyle has been shown to be as detrimental to one’s health as smoking, so finding ways to sneak in bouts of movement or exercise during the day has become a goal for many corporations. Corporate wellness programs very often include walking due to its ease of implementation and host of benefits. Walking is gentle, free, easy, and enjoyable, and people of all ages and abilities are able to participate. Walking just 30 minutes a day strengthens the heart, lowers the risk of diseases such as osteporosis, asthma, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers, and it helps people lose or maintain weight. Another lesser-known benefit is that it boosts mood, and has been proven to be as effective in treating mild to moderate depression as anti-depressants.

Benefits of walkingAt Tata & Howard, corporate wellness is a priority. In addition to issuing corporate walking challenges like the Massachusetts to California virtual walk, employees are supported and encouraged to also make small daily changes to improve health. Rather than emailing or calling, Tata & Howard team members usually walk to their co-workers and managers with questions. Standing desks are sprinkled throughout the office, and many employees can be seen checking their company-subsidized FitBit walker trackers throughout the day. In addition, Tata & Howard has participated in the Special Olympics spring, summer, and fall lunchtime 5Ks as well as the 20-mile Walk for Hunger in Boston, Massachusetts.

This year, on Sunday, May 3, 2015, Tata & Howard will once again be participating in the Walk for Hunger. The event, which starts and ends on Boston Common, includes a scenic route that winds through Boston, Brookline, Newton, Watertown, and Cambridge, past Boston College and Harvard University, and includes entertainment, food stations, and rest areas along the way. Started in 1969, it is the country’s oldest continual pledge walk and the largest one-day fundraiser focused on alleviating hunger. All monies raised go to Project Bread, an organization that provides healthy, nutritious food to those in need in the Commonwealth.

Participants in the 2014 Walk for Hunger
Participants in the 2014 Walk for Hunger

For National Walking Day, Tata & Howard is kicking off a month-long countdown to the Walk for Hunger. All offices will be lacing up their sneakers and taking some time from their day for a walk. Due to this past winter’s record-breaking snowfall in New England, many of us will be doing laps in our office buildings or marching about the parking lot, but we will all have one thing in common: we will be walking — for National Walking Day and to support the hungry. And that’s something we can all smile about.

For more information on National Walking Day, please visit
For more information on the Walk for Hunger, please visit

Worcester DPW’s Michael F. Ferguson Receives Thomas S. Green Award

michael_f_fergusonFive City of Worcester, Massachusetts municipal employees were honored with Thomas S. Green Public Service Awards on March 25 at Assumption College, including Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks Principal Civil Engineer Michael F. Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson is the primary contact for the city’s complex water distribution system and has helped oversee the city’s Water Abatement Appeal Committee, which addresses customer concerns. Congratulations, Michael!

For more information:

Spring — and Stormwater Runoff — Has Sprung

Why Stormwater Runoff is a Serious Concern for Everyone

snow flowersWinter if finally over, and spring is in the air. The snow has melted, flowers are blooming, and warmer, sunny days are upon us. But while we are all enjoying the balmier days, we also have to worry about a serious environmental concern: stormwater runoff.

Stormwater starts as precipitation – snow, sleet, and rain. When this precipitation lands on natural ground cover such as forests, grass, or gardens, it soaks into the ground and is filtered by layers of dirt and rock. This clean, filtered water finds its way to our groundwater and drinking water supply. The problem manifests when stormwater does not land on forests or gardens but instead washes off parking lots, roads, driveways, rooftops, and other hard surfaces, also known as impervious cover. Stormwater that picks up pollution, such as chemicals, oil, road salt, bacteria, sediment, sewage, and trash, then washes these pollutants into ditches and storm drains — and in turn into streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes — is referred to as stormwater runoff. And this spring we should expect an inordinate amount of stormwater runoff resulting from this past winter’s record snowfall.

Fishing_clean_waterThe United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has instituted stormwater regulations under its Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act aims to protect our nation’s water so that it is clean, drinkable, fishable, swimmable, and healthy. Three specific contaminants of concern are bacteria, phosphorus, and nitrogen, and they must be kept out of the water. Unfortunately, many of our nation’s rivers, streams, and lakes are already widely contaminated by these three pollutants.

According to the Massachusetts River Alliance, stormwater runoff is recognized by the EPA as the #1 source of water pollution in Massachusetts and the primary reason why more than half of its waterbodies are considered impaired. In Maine, stormwater runoff is one of the largest contributors to pollution in Casco Bay and other waterways, and only in July of 2022 received protections under Maine’s updated MS4 permit. In the Casco Bay watershed, it applies to twelve municipalities and regulates stormwater pollution in the most densely populated areas: Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, South Portland, Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth, Freeport, Windham, Westbrook, and Gorham.

In Connecticut, stormwater is also a serious problem, where 70 percent of Connecticut’s fresh water bodies are unfit for swimming for part of the year, compared to a nationwide average of 55 percent — and it’s mostly due to stormwater pollution in Long Island Sound. Increases in extreme weather are also contributing to Connecticut’s ongoing stormwater problems.

Natural vs. Impervious Cover
Natural vs. Impervious Cover
Algae Bloom Eutrophication
Algae Bloom Eutrophication

And New England isn’t the only area of the country with problems. In Ohio and Michigan, Lake Erie continues to be heavily contaminated after several decades. Lake Erie gained notoriety after the Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969, and the Lake is credited as being the inspiration for both the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1974 as well as the creation of Earth Day. And while Lake Erie’s contamination was largely cleaned up in the 1990’s, it encountered even more serious problems in the new millennium. Algal blooms reappeared in the lake, and with this eutrophication came oxygen deprived dead zones, foul smells, and water too toxic to drink. Then in 2011, Lake Erie’s algal blooms hit a new record by growing to 5,000 square kilometers — or three times the previous record. Lake Erie’s algae blooms are now an annual threat to the health and drinking water of more than 11 million people, where each summer, communities and businesses around Lake Erie actively plan for toxic algae blooms.

eutrophicationClearly, stormwater runoff directly causes a myriad of environmental issues. So how can we handle this serious problem? The fact is that there is no simple or quick solution. Addressing stormwater runoff will require a multi-faceted best practice approach that will involve every facet of the nation’s population. Reducing soil erosion, cleaning up pet waste, maintaining healthy septic systems, replacing deicers, improving agricultural practices, implementing cleaner automotive operations, instituting low impact design methodology, and increasing stormwater funding are just a few of the ways that we can begin to solve the problem. In the end, there is no natural resource more precious than water, and we must do everything in our power to protect it.

World Water Day 2015 — Sustainable Development and Its Criticality to Domestic Water Supplies

Public Water Supply“When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.” – Ben Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac 1733

World Water Day is March 22, 2015, and the theme is Sustainable Development. But what exactly IS sustainable development? It was first defined by the Brundtland Commission in 1983:

  1. Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

More recently, University of Maryland School of Public Policy professor and former Chief Economist for the World Bank Herman E. Daly proposed the following three rules for sustainability:

  1. Renewable resources such as fish, soil, and groundwater must be used no faster than the rate at which they regenerate.
  2. Nonrenewable resources such as minerals and fossil fuels must be used no faster than renewable substitutes for them can be put into place.
  3. Pollution and wastes must be emitted no faster than natural systems can absorb them, recycle them, or render them harmless.

While sustainable development always includes the global effort to provide clean water and sanitation to the world’s population, it also requires developed nations to implement efficient technologies and to protect existing resources by addressing threats and incorporating conservation strategies into daily life. Consider these facts:

  • Less than 1 percent of the world’s fresh water is usable in a renewable fashion
  • The average person requires 1.3 gallons of water per day just to survive, while the amount of water needed for all daily tasks – like drinking, cooking, bathing, and sanitation – is 13 gallons
  • The average American uses 65 to 78 gallons of water per day for drinking, cooking, bathing, and watering their yard; the average Dutch uses only 27 gallons per day for the same tasks
  • The average Gambian uses only 1.17 gallons of water per day

sprinklerAmerica is one of the world’s largest consumers of water, and to do our part towards sustainable development, we must begin by modifying our domestic water usage.

Efficiency – the Most Effective Method of Conservation

By implementing indoor residential conversation techniques, we could meet the water needs of over five million people by the year 2020, and by incorporating efficient irrigation techniques, we could save enough water to meet the needs of an additional 3.6 million people. In addition, if we were to also invest in our nation’s water infrastructure and supply to incorporate efficient technologies to reduce water loss, we would be able to meet all of our domestic water needs — agricultural, industrial, and residential. This would result in easing the stress on our natural resources as well as saving enough water to guard against another concern: climate change.

Climate Change in the United States – An Imminent Threat

Rocky MountainClimate change increases the risk of extreme weather, such as droughts and floods, and alters the timing and location of precipitation. For example, climate change has the potential to alter snowfall and snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, and Pacific Northwest. Any alteration in snowfall or snowmelt will cause changes in timing and volume of runoff, resulting in flooding in the winter and drought in the summer. In addition, coastal aquifers and water supplies in areas such as Cape Cod, Long Island, the coastal Carolinas, and central coastal California are extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change. Other products of climate change — such as higher water temperature in lakes and streams, melting permafrost, and reduced water clarity — have the potential to critically threaten fish and water-dwelling animals as well harm wetlands and other water habitats. Climate change has the potential to drastically alter our nation’s weather patterns and geological landscape, and any delays in addressing climate change and in planning effective strategies for the impending changes could severely threaten our nation’s water supplies. Clearly, addressing climate change now is one of the key components to sustainable development.

sunset over water smallWhile the global focus of sustainable development needs to be on providing access to clean water and sanitation for everyone, we also need to look within our own borders and change the way we think about water and our natural resources. Unless we institute positive change and focus on conservation by implementing efficient technologies and practices, we will likely find ourselves facing dire consequences. As Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, stated so eloquently, “The best way to solve emerging threats to the world’s fresh water is by rethinking how we use and manage our scarce resources. We must look at ways to increase our efficiency of use, instead of just building more dams and reservoirs. Improving the efficiency of our water systems, taking real steps to tackle global warming, and opening the policy debate over water to new voices can help turn the tide.”

We couldn’t have said it better.


Kenneth M. Fischer, CPA, CGMA, CEPA joins the T&H team as Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer

KenFischerSmallKenneth M. Fischer brings over 35 years of financial experience with a strong general management background to the T&H team. His previous positions as CEO/President, COO, and CFO of several mid-cap companies provided him with a successful track record as point person in numerous strategic and complex financial transactions. He has significant experience in manufacturing, engineering, distribution, healthcare, and financial services industries.

His current affiliations include Director of the Schepens Eye Research Institute (affiliate of Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA), Trustee of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (affiliate of Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA), and Trustee and Chair of Finance Committee, Executive Service Corps New England (ESCNE), Boston, MA.

Ken holds an MS in Taxation from Bentley, an MBA from Babson, and a BA in Economics from Providence College, as well as advanced certifications from Harvard Business School, Yale School of Management, and Boston University. He works out of our Marlborough office and can be reached at 508-303-9400 x123 or