A New Year’s Resolution That Has a Big Impact and is Easy to Keep: Save Water!

While many New Year’s resolutions include renewing that old gym membership or cleaning out the garage, a great way to start the new year off right is to focus on conserving water. With severe drought across the country, including New England, water is becoming ever more valuable and people are looking for ways to get the most out of every drop. One of the easiest steps we can take to help mitigate the impacts of drought is conserving water. Unlike most New Year’s resolutions, making a few simple changes to save water is an easy resolution to stick to and it makes a significant difference in the world. Let’s look at a few simple ways you and your community can conserve water.

Ditch Those Old Appliances

Image courtesy of www.localsanfranciscoplumber.com

The average person in the United States uses about 80-100 gallons of water each day. Of that amount, almost all of it comes from appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, and faucets. Toilets alone account for approximately 27% of the water consumed in your home and many older toilets use up to seven gallons of water per flush. Installing a high-efficiency toilet that uses less than 2 gallons per flush can save up to 18,000 gallons of water a year – about $120 off your water bill annually. And if you really want to go green, and are brave to boot – consider one of these alternative toilets!

Washing machines offer another opportunity to save water year-round. Washing machines, on average, account for around 20% of a household’s water use, and switching to a high-efficiency washing machine can cut that water consumption in half. If one in ten American households were to install high-efficiency appliances, we would save 74 billion gallons of water per year as a nation. That’s an annual savings of about $1.5 billion dollars on utility bills. These appliances may have a higher upfront cost, but when you save 30-75 percent of your water bill each month, these investments quickly pay for themselves.

Water Sense is a partnership program of the EPA and is the standard when it comes to high efficiency faucets and accessories. Image Courtesy of www3.epa.gov

For a more affordable option, updating fixtures such as showerheads and faucets around the house can significantly reduce the amount of water you use. Conventional showerheads use as much as 10 gallons of water per minute. Modern showerheads use just 2-3 gallons per minute, which saves water and minimizes the stress on your water heater. Also, installing faucet aerators can help regulate water pressure to create varying flow rates to use less water depending on the task at hand, saving thousands of gallons annually. Updating your appliances and faucets is the most cost effective solution when it comes to saving water. Combined with simple lifestyle changes, these innovative technologies enable us to save significant amounts of water.

Small Leaks, Big Problems

Although it may look insignificant, a lightly dripping faucet can waste over 20 gallons of water per day. Toilet leaks are another major problem that often go undetected. To check if a toilet might be leaking, place a “toilet dye” tablet in the toilet tank and closely monitor the toilet bowl. If, without flushing, the water in the bowl changes color within half an hour, the toilet has a leak that needs to be repaired. Another way to determine if there is a water leak in your home is to read your house water meter before and after an extended period when no water is being used, like when the family is away on vacation. If the meter does not stay the same, then you have a leak somewhere in your home.

Manage the Meat

Infographic courtesy of www.veganstart.org

Our favorite steak or burger may taste great, but it takes a lot of water to reach the dinner plate.  A pound of beef requires almost 2,500 gallons of water to produce. By avoiding beef for just one day a week, we can save thousands of gallons of water each year. In fact, we would save more water by not eating one pound of beef than we would by not showering for six months. We can save even more by cutting out other foods that require a lot of water to produce such as almonds (1,929 gal/lb.), chocolate (2,061 gal/lb.), pork (1630 gal/lb.), and butter (2,044 gal/lb.). When we do eat beef or other water intensive foods, we should choose pasture raised because grass is less likely to require irrigation compared to corn or soy used in the conventional method of raising livestock. Even cutting out that one extra cup of coffee each day can save hundreds of gallons of water. Being conscious of what we eat is not only good for our health, but also the environment.

To Wrap It Up

When it comes to daily water usage, even the smallest action to save water is significant to combat our country’s severe drought. Paying attention to how you and your family use water in your home will help you come up with the best ways in which your family can make simple changes that can have a big impact. For your New Year’s resolution, think of one thing each day that will save water – even small ideas can add up to big savings, for both our wallet and our planet.

Celebrating the Holidays Through Giving

The Holiday season means many different things for people. Whether it’s getting everyone the perfect gift, spending time with family, or preparing favorite foods for friends, the holidays are a time of giving. Our family here at Tata & Howard takes holiday giving to heart. We understand how important philanthropy is to both our local and global community. For this special time of year, we are looking at some of the most charitable and full-hearted organizations we’ve had the honor to support.

DARE Family Services

T&H’s holiday DARE Giving Tree

Since 1964, DARE Family Services has been committed to improving the lives of children who have been abused or neglected. By providing a family-based setting, they give children the opportunity to recover and live healthy, happy lives. Every holiday season, DARE Family Services reaches out to communities for gift donations to help kids experience a memorable holiday – in many cases, for the first time in their lives. At Tata & Howard, our employee-owners take DARE’s mission to heart and bring gifts to put under our DARE Giving Tree for children in need. Fortunately, we are one of many organizations and individuals who support DARE and their determination to better the lives of disadvantaged and neglected children. They help thousands of kids every year and we thank them for their generosity.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

T&H’s Heidi White raised over $3,000 for DFCI this fall through their “Run Any Race” program.”

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, along with the Jimmy Fund, is home to groundbreaking cancer discoveries. They are one of the greatest examples of a philanthropic organization working for a worthy cause – curing cancer. There are seemingly endless ways Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund raise money and resources to give hope to families affected by cancer, especially during the holidays. Tata & Howard is a proud supporter of Dana-Farber and donated $5,300 towards cancer research this past November, and donated another $1,500 this week in lieu of sending printed holiday cards to clients and friends. Some of our employee-owners are doing their own part to help them out as well. Our Marketing Communications Manager Heidi White participated in their “Run Any Race” program and raised over $3,000 by running Ragnar’s Reach the Beach in New Hampshire this past September. Also, T&H Engineer Molly Coughlin is currently training for the 2017 Boston Marathon to raise money for Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. Her personal goal is to raise $15,850 and we are all cheering her on. Go Molly!

Water For Peoplepict_grid7

Over 1.8 billion people globally lack access to safe drinking water, and Water For People is looking to change that by committing to provide long-lasting water and sanitation infrastructure for communities in need. They operate in nine countries and have helped over four million people live better lives by providing access to clean water. To make this happen, Water For People works with communities, governments, and business owners to ensure reliable, safe water for future generations. In support of their passion for clean water, many employee-owners at Tata & Howard contribute to Water For People through automatic bi-weekly payroll deductions, which Tata & Howard matches dollar for dollar. In this way, we are able to do our part to realize Water For People’s mission of clean water for everyone, forever.

The Navajo Water Project

This man keeps his water in barrels by his outhouse. Water and sanitation always go hand in hand. About 40% of Navajo don’t have a sink or a toilet at home. Courtesy of navajowaterproject.org.

Speaking of clean water for everyone, the Navajo Water Project is an amazing organization that seeks to solve a little-known water problem. Of the nearly 200,000 Navajo population right here in America, 40% do not have running water – which has created a cycle of poverty that limits health, education, and economic security. As a subsidiary of DIGDEEP and primarily funded through private donors, the Navajo Water Project works with communities in Navajo Nation to install systems that bring running water and electricity into homes. The water is delivered via truck and safely stored in large cisterns, from which it is pumped into a sink and shower inside the home. The organization also installs solar energy systems to power the pumps and lights inside. With their determination and adequate funding, The Navajo Water Project expects to install home water systems in every Navajo home in need by 2018. Since we learned of the plight of the Navajo people in 2015, Tata & Howard has actively supported the Navajo Water Project. In 2017, which is our 25th anniversary year, we are organizing a national virtual 5K to raise money for this incredible organization. Participants will receive a beautiful medal and 100% of the cost of registration will go directly to the Navajo Water Project. Stay tuned for details of this exciting event!

The holiday season is the perfect time to give to others and to help the community, both locally and globally. Even the smallest gesture of generosity helps others in significant ways. And the best gift a person can receive is hope — and that is exactly what DARE Family Services, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Navajo Water Project, and Water for People are all about. We here at Tata & Howard encourage everyone to give to someone in need and celebrate generosity this holiday season. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

T&H Celebrates the Holidays!

T&H’s annual holiday celebration was held on Tuesday, December 20, and it was a big success with food, gifts, and some fun competition. We were excited to have several fellow employee-owners from our satellite offices join us for the holiday fun.

T&H employee-owners enjoying a catered Italian luncheon as they celebrate the holidays

Drawing numbers out of a hat, employee-owners crossed their fingers for our gift giveaway. There were several awesome gifts ranging from gift cards to Bose speakers. Congratulations to our grand prize winner, T&H Project Environmental Scientist James DeAngelis who won an Apple watch!

T&H Project Environmental Scientist James DeAngelis showing off his new Apple watch.

Employee-owners also participated in a friendly dessert competition. Project Manager Amanda Cavaliere won best homemade dessert with for her amazing custard trifle. For best store bought dessert category, IT Manager James Field stole the show with a delicious tiramisu. The best presentation category went to Engineer Keighty Tallman, who impressed everyone with her creative gingerbread teddy bears.
Like every year, this year’s holiday celebration was a great time with a lot of laughs. From our family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Canada’s Infrastructure – Investing in the Future

Maple leaf on water with other leaves.It is widely known that America’s infrastructure is in desperate need of repair, rehabilitation, and replacement, and that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave water and wastewater infrastructure a “D” grade in its 2013 report card. Contributing to the decline of our buried infrastructure is a combination of aging assets, increasing demand, and decreasing funding. However, America is not alone. Our neighbors to the north are also experiencing an infrastructure crisis and, like the United States, are working together to develop short-term and long-term strategies to ensure that its critical infrastructure continues to successfully function well into the future.

The 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card

Four organizations — the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), the Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA), the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) — came together to assess the health of Canada’s infrastructure. The resulting report, Informing the Future: The 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (2016 CIRC), provides information to policymakers and stakeholders regarding the state of Canada’s infrastructure and what is needed to maintain and improve it. Additional support for the project came from the Canadian Urban Transit Association, the Federal-Provincial/Territorial Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Committee, and the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. One of the overarching goals of the assessment is to ensure the sustainability of the high quality of life that infrastructure brings to the Canadian people. Infrastructure evaluated included water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure as well as roads and bridges, buildings, public transit, and recreational facilities.

A key finding in the 2016 CIRC is that over one-third of Canada’s municipal infrastructure is in fair, poor, or very poor condition, and at risk of rapid decline. To prevent this deterioration, investment in the maintenance and repair of failing infrastructure is critical in the short-term. The report also noted that despite the efforts of municipal governments, reinvestment rates in municipal infrastructure are falling behind — a trend which will cause an exponential increase in the overall cost for infrastructure repair and rehabilitation if left unchecked.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada skyline

Because resources are limited, strategic investment into those assets most in need of repair or replacement is paramount. However, a surprising number of Canadian municipalities, particularly smaller systems, lack any type of formal asset management plan. The 2016 CIRC survey results indicate that 62% of large municipalities, 56% of mid-sized municipalities, and only 35% of small municipalities reported having a formal asset management plan in place. And while all communities benefit from an asset management plan that prioritizes capital investment, small municipalities that admittedly have the least amount of resources would likely benefit the most. Additional findings of the report indicate that climate change is not consistently being factored into the decision-making processes of municipalities, and that most municipalities also do not utilize computer-based information to manage and maintain their assets.

The Federal Gas Tax Fund

As part of the New Building Canada Plan, the renewed federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) was announced in the Economic Action Plan 2013 as a long-term, stable source of funding for municipal infrastructure. Implemented as a means of addressing the infrastructure funding gap, the Gas Tax Fund will provide $10.4 billion to Canada’s municipalities between 2014 and 2018. Because Canada recognizes the criticality of an up-to-date asset management plan, the renewed GTF prioritizes long-term capital planning and asset management. For example, Ontario municipalities will receive $3.8 billion from the GTF between 2014 and 2018, more than any other province; the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) has made the receipt of those funds contingent upon adherence to a new policy. Ontario municipalities are required to develop and implement an asset management plan by December 31, 2016 in order to continue to receive federal GTF payments.

Investing in Canada

Fortunately, Canadians recognize the importance of infrastructure to their way of life and are committed to investing in infrastructure and bridging the infrastructure gap both now and in the future. Budget 2016 saw the newly elected Canadian government, focused on strengthening the middle class, show its firm commitment to Canada’s future growth by making an immediate investment of $11.9 billion into green and social infrastructure as well as public transit. The Fall Economic Statement, released on November 1, 2016, further strengthens that commitment by promising an additional $81.2 billion investment into Canadian infrastructure over 11 years, as follows:

  • Toronto Transit Commission public transit bus in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Toronto Transit Commission public transit bus in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Public Transit: Faster Commutes and Innovative Communities—$25.3 Billion
    Public transit infrastructure investments will have a greater focus on new, transformative construction and expansion projects that build the transit systems of the 21st century.

  • Green infrastructure: Clean Air, Clean Water—$21.9 Billion
    The federal government will work with its provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous partners to evaluate, select, and fund the green infrastructure projects that will deliver the best outcomes for Canadians.
  • Social Infrastructure: Better Neighborhoods for Our Kids—$21.9 Billion
    Investments in social infrastructure will focus on affordable housing and homelessness prevention, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure.
  • Getting Canadian Products to Global Markets—$10.1 Billion
    The government will make strategic investments in trade and transportation projects that build stronger, more efficient transportation corridors to international markets and help Canadian businesses to compete, grow, and create more jobs for Canada’s middle class.
  • Rural and Northern Communities—$2 Billion
    Through Investing in Canada, the government will provide up to $2 billion to support small, rural, and northern communities with a wide range of infrastructure needs.
Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

Considering existing infrastructure programs, new investments made in Budget 2016, and the additional investments detailed in the Fall Economic Statement, the Canadian government has committed to investing over $180 billion into its critical infrastructure over the next decade.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank

The Canadian government has also announced that it is launching the new Canada Infrastructure Bank to provide low-cost financing and small capital contributions for necessary infrastructure projects. $35 billion has been earmarked for large infrastructure projects that directly contribute to economic growth, $15 billion of which will be sourced from the previously announced funding for green and social infrastructure, public transit, trade and transportation, and rural and northern communities. The remaining $20 billion will be available to the Bank for investments that result in the Bank holding assets in the form of equity or debt, and will therefore have no fiscal impact on the government.

In Conclusion

Much of Canada’s infrastructure, like our own here in America, is reaching the end of its useful life and is in desperate need of repair or replacement. The Canadian people and government recognize that infrastructure plays a critical role in maintaining the high quality of life to which Canadians are accustomed. Through increased asset management, targeted investment, a committed government, and a long-term, sustainable plan, Canada is well positioning itself for future growth and prosperity.


T&H Participates in Ugly Christmas Sweater Day 2016

Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is celebrated on the third Friday of December each year, and Tata & Howard employee-owners (EOs) love to participate! This year, EOs not only wore their ugliest (or in some cases, cutest) holiday sweaters, they also made pretzels and decorated sugar cookies. At Tata & Howard, we work together to bring our clients the most efficient, innovative engineering solutions. Having some downtime together strengthens our collaborative, team atmosphere – and makes our jobs not only rewarding, but fun!

Our corporate office had some fun with their ugly sweaters
Mike Quint went with T&H’s corporate colors for his gingerbread person
EOs enjoyed an afternoon break of cookie decorating and pretzel baking
Collin Stuart from our Portland, Maine office
Collin Stuart from our Portland, Maine office

Game Night at Tata & Howard

Tata & Howard is a 100% Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company, and we firmly believe that teams who play together work better together. Teamwork is also one of our core values. Therefore, we participate in frequent team building events, sponsored by our ESOP Committee.

The night started with some Wii games

On Thursday, December 15, team members participate in a game night that also featured fellow ESOP Harpoon Brewery’s beer. The Marlborough, Massachusetts corporate office enjoyed several rounds of Wii bowling and tennis, the iPhone game Heads Up!, and some assorted board games. The surprise of the night was Vice President Steve Landry soundly winning at Wii bowling! Everyone agreed that he must have played this before…

Steve Landry’s first attempt landed him a strike

The Waterbury, Connecticut office played the western card game, Bang! Engineer Max Gilliam started as Sherriff but had to leave early and transferred duties to Engineer Will Grant. Will took a barrage of bullets early and limped through the rest of the game on life support.  The conclusion came when Deputy and CAD Technician Steve Catuccio mistakenly took Will out, handing the game to Outlaws Tom Hoctor, Engineer, and Steve Rupar, Vice President.  Resident Observer Jack Keefe participated as a Deputy, and Project Manager Dave Lombardo rounded the game out as a Renegade.

The Waterbury, CT office played the western card game, Bang!

The temps were down in the single digits, but the Portland, ME office stayed nice and warm as they settled in for a few rounds of Wii racing.


The Portland, Maine office settled in for some Wii racing
The Portland, Maine office enjoyed some Wii racing

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and are looking forward to future ESOP game nights!

Clean Air Day 2016 – Helping America to Breathe Easier Since 1963

clean-air-dayClean Air Day is an opportunity to acknowledge how important air quality is to our health. Since 1963, December 17 has been a day to celebrate one of the first environmental laws in the United States – The Clean Air Act. Through collaboration, the EPA works with both state and local governments to ensure clean air for everyone. Among the biggest threats facing this campaign are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Common in thousands of household products, VOCs are invisible to the naked eye and can have serious effects on human health.

VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals commonly found in household and industrial products such as paints, varnishes, cleaning products, cosmetics, fuels, and even dry cleaned clothes. The effects of VOCs on human health can include irritation of the nose, eyes, or throat, and some VOCs have been linked to causing organ damage and cancer. Knowing the dangers of VOCs can help you plan to reduce exposure. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors than outdoors. Indoor levels can be up to 1,000 times outdoor levels during, and for several hours after, certain activities such as paint stripping or using aerosol sprays.

dry-cleaners-percThe EPA provides many steps on how to avoid VOCs both indoors and outdoors. Simple and effective steps such as proper ventilation and reduced use of pesticides can greatly improve the quality of air inside your home or building. For potentially hazardous products such as varnishes or fuel, it is important to read all warning labels and practice safe storage and handling. The EPA also advises to keep minimum exposure to chemicals such as benzene and perchloroethylene, or “perc,” a chemical commonly used for dry cleaning. Currently, there is no federally enforceable standard set for VOCs in non-industrial settings such as a home or small business. To learn more about VOCs, including current guidelines or recommendations set by various organizations, visit Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Indoor Air Quality Scientific Findings Resource Bank.

Clean air, along with drinkable water, is one of the most precious resources on the planet. It is easy to find evidence of how air quality is impacting the health of millions of people around the globe. Unfortunately, you don’t have to live in the shadow of a smoke-spewing factory or next to a major freeway to be affected by polluted air. Even the interiors of businesses and residences can be subject to poor – and potentially dangerous – air quality due to VOCs. In some cases, VOCs have been detected in buildings from operations that occurred years before the site was repurposed. These sites often require mitigation to reduce concentrations of VOCs. Properties of closed gas stations and dry cleaners are among the most common examples of required VOC mitigation due to the volatile chemicals used for operations. The good news is that once the contaminated property — or brownfield — has been mitigated, it can often be used for any type of commercial or residential purpose, effectively turning it from a brownfield into a greenfield. In this way, mitigation has a real and tangible benefit to not only the property owner but also to the municipality in which the property is located and to the environment.

VOC-mitigationTo preserve and improve the health of all humans and other life on Earth, we must defend the planet’s air quality. The Clean Air Act has provided the basis for an effective means of limiting dangerous air pollutants for the last half century. This Act and its enforcement by the EPA has undoubtedly saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and continues to set new standards for air quality management. Many western European nations have enacted similar legislation, which is a big step in the right direction for clean air!

Paul Howard Receives 2016 State Leadership Award from NEWWA

pbh-state-leadership-award-12-2016On December 15, 2016, the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA) presented Tata & Howard Senior Vice President and Co-Founder Paul B. Howard, P.E., with the NEWWA State Leadership Award for the State of Massachusetts. The award recognizes outstanding leadership and contributions to the advancement of excellence in the water works profession. A past president of the Massachusetts Water Works Association (MWWA), Paul has over 38 years of engineering experience, all of which have been exclusively in the water environment. Throughout his career, Paul has been actively involved in state and regional water associations and has been a champion for the advancement of the water industry. All of us at T&H wish to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Paul on this well-deserved award!


A DPW Director’s Guide to Improving Utilities with Limited Capital

dpw-directorWater systems today face a set of problems that are unique to this generation. While our nation’s buried infrastructure is crumbling beneath our feet as it reaches the end of its useful life, supplies are dwindling, budgets are shrinking, and federal and state funding is drying up. At the same time, regulatory requirements continue to increase as emerging contaminants are identified. Water systems often find themselves in the quandary of whether to upgrade treatment systems to comply with these new regulations or update assets that are long overdue for replacement or rehabilitation.

Savvy DPW directors recognize the need for thinking outside the box when it comes to water system management. Gone are the days of simply allocating annual budgets to the required maintenance of assets. Instead, careful planning, thoughtful operations, and superior efficiency are the new requirements for successful utility management, and can all be accomplished with limited capital investment.

Planning for the Future with Capital Efficiency Plans™

Asset management planning is critical to the health and maintenance of water utilities. Part of a successful asset management plan is the development of a planned, systematic approach that provides for the rehabilitation and replacement of assets over time, while also maintaining an acceptable level of service for existing assets. But how are utilities able to determine which assets should be prioritized? The answer is through a multi-faceted approach to asset management.

Our Capital Efficiency Plan™ (CEP) methodology is unique in that it combines the concepts of asset management, hydraulic modeling, and system criticality into a single comprehensive report that is entirely customized to the individual utility distribution system. The final report provides utilities with a database and Geographic Information System (GIS) representation for each pipe segment within their underground piping system, prioritizes water distribution system piping improvements, and provides estimated costs for water main replacement and rehabilitation. Because the CEP takes a highly structured, three-pronged approach, utilities can decisively prioritize those assets most in need of repair or replacement, and are able to justify the costs of those critical projects when preparing annual budgets.

Increasing Operational Efficiency with Business Practice Evaluations

water-operations-evaluationIn addition to addressing capital efficiency, water utilities of today must also address operational efficiency. Because water systems are required to do so much with so little, efficiency in all aspects of water system management is critical. Tata & Howard appreciates the unique set of challenges faced by water systems today, and we have experts on staff who understand the inner workings of a water utility – and how to improve them.

Our Business Practice Evaluation (BPE) was designed by James J. “Jim” Courchaine, Vice President and National Director of Business Practices, who has over 45 years of experience in every facet of water and wastewater management, operations, and maintenance. He is a certified Water Treatment and Distribution System Operator, Grade 4c (MA) and RAM-W (Risk Assessment Methodology for Water). He also taught courses at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell for ten years on water system operations. Jim does not approach utility operations from the perspective of an engineer; rather, he has deep experience in utility operations and management as an actual operator.

Our BPEs assess the health of a utility’s work practices by implementing a framework for a structured approach to managing, operating, and maintaining in a well-defined manner. The overall goal of the assessment process is more efficient and effective work practices, and the assessment includes documentation of current business practices, identification of opportunities for improvement, conducting interviews including a diagonal slice of the organization, and observation of work practices in the field. The BPE encourages utilities to operate as a for-profit business rather than as a public supplier, which results in more efficient, cost effective operational and managerial procedures — and an improved bottom line. Water systems that have conducted a BPE have found significant improvement in the operational efficiency of their utility.

Improving the Environment — and the Bottom Line — with Water Audits

water-meters-water-auditsBesides improving operational and capital efficiency, water systems of today must reduce non-revenue water. Non-revenue water is treated drinking water that has been pumped but is lost before it ever reaches the customer, either through real losses such as leaks, or through apparent losses such as theft or metering issues. In the United States, water utilities lose about 20% of their supply to non-revenue water. Non-revenue water not only affects the financial health of water systems, but also contributes to our nation’s decreasing water supply. In fact, the amount of water “lost” over the course of a year is enough to supply the entire State of California for that same year. Therefore, the AWWA recommends that every water system conduct an annual water audit using M36: Water Audits and Loss Control methodology to accurately account for real and apparent losses.

A water audit helps water systems identify the causes of water loss, as well as the true costs of this loss. An effective water audit will help a water system reduce water loss, thus recapturing lost revenue. Water loss typically comes as a result of aging, and deteriorating infrastructure, particularly in the northeast, as well as policies and procedures that lead to inaccurate accounting of water use. Water audits are the most cost-effective and efficient solution to increasing demand, and, like BPEs, water audits usually pay for themselves in less than a year.

In Conclusion

Today’s DPW Directors are faced with the burden of increasing regulations along with decreasing supply, budgets, and funding. For water systems to continue to effectively function, they must remain profitable, which means they must implement efficiencies on all fronts. CEPs, BPEs, and water audits are all low-cost methodologies that improve efficiency with an extremely short return on investment. In addition, water systems that proactively plan for the future will more easily weather the threats of climate change and population growth. Capital and operational efficiency combined with identifying and addressing sources of non-revenue water will position water system to continue to provide safe, clean drinking water for future generations.

Tata & Howard Announces Leadership Changes


Karen L. Gracey, P.E., and Jenna W. Rzasa, P.E., have been named co-presidents of Tata & Howard
Karen L. Gracey, P.E., and Jenna W. Rzasa, P.E., have been named co-presidents of Tata & Howard

Tata & Howard, Inc. has named Karen L. Gracey, P.E., and Jenna W. Rzasa, P.E., current vice presidents, as co-presidents of the firm.  Current president Donald J. Tata, P.E., was appointed Chief Executive Officer and will be working in a reduced capacity while he focuses on his battle with cancer, with which he was diagnosed this fall. Gracey and Rzasa will be working closely with the firm’s senior leadership team to successfully run Tata & Howard in Tata’s absence. The appointments are effective immediately.

“Tata & Howard’s succession plan has been firmly in place since the company became a 100% ESOP in 2014,” stated Mr. Tata. “Karen and Jenna have taken on increasing responsibility in both operational and client-facing aspects of the company over the past few years, and I have absolute confidence in their combined ability to continue to successfully implement our strategic plan while adhering to our core values and furthering our shared mission of providing unsurpassed solutions in the water environment.”

As part of the company’s comprehensive leadership and transition planning, Gracey and Rzasa, who have been with the firm since 1998 and 1997 respectively, have been slated to assume leadership of the company for several years. They were named to the board of directors in 2013 and have headed up the firm’s business development and financial operations since that time. The company noted that while Tata’s illness has expedited their appointments to co-president, Gracey and Rzasa are well positioned to seamlessly assume their new roles.

“Tata & Howard’s strategic plan is centered on sustainable growth through innovation, efficiency, teamwork, and uncompromising integrity, and we — including not just Jenna and myself, but the whole Tata & Howard team — have already assumed full ownership of the company’s vision and values,” added Ms. Gracey. “The firm will be in excellent hands while Don focuses on returning to full health.”

Senior Vice President and firm co-founder Paul B. Howard, P.E., remains actively involved in managing all technical aspects of the firm, and Vice Presidents Patrick S. O’Neale, P.E., and Steven J. Landry, P.E., will continue to provide strategic and operational support to Gracey and Rzasa.

Tata was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2016, and made the announcement to employee-owners in early September. Tata & Howard stated that while it is still too soon to know the timing of his return on a full-time basis, Tata is aggressively fighting the disease with the help of the world-renowned Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.