Finding information about local water is simple. As required by the Safe Drinking Water Act, water utilities must provide customers with an annual water quality report, also called a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). A CCR identifies the quality of local drinking water and if any contaminants are detected and if so, which ones. Also available in the report is information on a community’s local source for drinking water. The city of Marlborough, MA, home to Tata & Howard’s headquarters, uses an average of 4 million gallons of water a day. Currently, 100 percent of the water is supplied by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA).
Additionally, information on local source water is available through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “How’s My Waterway?”
“As engineers in the water space, water is at the heart of everything we do,” said Tata & Howard Co-President, Karen Gracey, P.E. “Knowing the source of our water and keeping it clean is critical and we hope Drinking Water Week will serve as an opportunity for everyone to learn more about this vital piece of our daily lives.”
More information about local water sources is available on DrinkTap.org.
About Drinking Water Week
For more than 40 years, AWWA and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week, a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together in recognizing the vital role water plays in daily lives. Additional information about Drinking Water Week, including free materials for download and celebration ideas, is available on the Drinking Water Week webpage.
Founded in 1992, Tata & Howard, Inc. is a 100% employee-owned water, wastewater, stormwater, and environmental services consulting engineering firm dedicated to consistently delivering innovative, cost-effective solutions in the water environment. Tata & Howard has gained a solid reputation as an industry leader in the Northeast by bringing knowledge, integrity, and dedicated service to all-sized markets, both public and private. The firm has offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Arizona. For more information, visit www.tataandhoward.com
Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 51,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.
A New Connecticut Law to Affect the State’s Water Industry
Effective October 1, 2018, Connecticut’s Department of Public Health (DPH) is requiring all small community water systems to complete Fiscal and Asset Management PlansbyJanuary 1, 2021 and update them annually. This new law effects small water companies that regularly serve communities of at least 25 but not more than 1,000 year-round residents.
The Fiscal and Asset Management Plan must include:
A list of all the system’s capital assets;
The asset’s (a) useful life, based on their current condition, (b) maintenance and service history, and (c) manufacturer’s recommendation;
The small community water system’s plan for reconditioning, refurbishing, or replacing the assets; and
Information on (a) whether the small community water system has any unaccounted-for water loss (i.e., water supplied to its distribution system that never reached consumers), (b) the amount and cause of such unaccounted-for water loss, and (c) measures the system is taking to reduce it.
Under the new law, each small community water system must also complete an initial assessment review of its hydropneumatic pressure tanks by May 2, 2019 on a form developed by the DPH.
Failure to complete or update their fiscal and asset management plans on or before January 1, 2021 maybe subject to civil penalties by DPH.
Tata & Howard has extensive experience with all facets of asset management planning and programming. Our services focus on condition assessment and analyses of critical capital assets, as well as operational evaluations, water audits to reduce unaccounted-for water, and long-term capital planning. Initial hydropneumatic pressure tank inspections can be also be performed in time to comply with the DPH deadline of May 2, 2019.
In addition, Tata & Howard can help secure financingthrough grants, such as those available through the USDA Rural Development Water and Environmental Program.
Tata & Howard has assisted numerous Water Companies with their Asset Management Planning. Please contact us for more information.
Water For People presents the Kenneth J. Miller Award
MARLBOROUGH, MA – Donald J. Tata was posthumously awarded the Kenneth J. Miller Founders Award presented by Water For People (WFP), a non-profit organization promoting the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services throughout the world. The ceremony took place on June 12, 2018 at the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Annual Conference and Expo (ACE18) held at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Karen M. Gracey, P.E., and Jenna W. Rzasa, P.E., Co-Presidents with Tata & Howard, accepted the award on Donald Tata’s behalf. “Don dedicated his career to improving the environment and he was particularly moved by Water For People’s efforts in bringing clean water to those in need,” Karen said. “He would be humbled by this nomination especially by an organization that meant so much to him.”
This year, Water For People expanded the Miller Award to include Workplace GivingChampions for which Don was recognized as a leader in the support of raising awareness to those in need of access to clean water.
Don Tata, who sadly passed away in 2017, was passionate about the environment and compassionate about the plight of those living in poverty without access to clean drinking water. He immediately supported the cause of Water For People when he was introduced to the organization through AWWA. Through Don’s fundraising efforts, Water For People has received over $66,000 since 2005.
Don not only supported the Water For People organization individually, he also shared his passionate support with the employees of the firm he co-founded, Tata & Howard, Inc. Employees continue to support WFP through a payroll deduction program, which Don initiated. At the end of each year, the company matches the employee’s donations.
Employees also participate in friendly competitions throughout the year to increase awareness and raise funds in continued support for Water for People. Don was also responsible scheduling time at company meetings to have representatives from Water For People update employees with information on the countries and people directly affected by their contributions.
His family, friends and colleagues were all profoundly impacted by his death in 2017, and even then, during that most difficult time, his family asked people to donate to Water for People in his memory in lieu of flowers. His friends and associates did and donated over $4,500.
Don is greatly missed by all who knew him, and Tata & Howard is committed to continuing his legacy and support of Water for People.
About the Kenneth J. Miller Founders’ Award The Kenneth J. Miller Founders’ Award was established in 2001 by the Board of Directors of Water For People to honor outstanding volunteer service to this international humanitarian effort. Water For People was conceived in response to the water, sanitation and health needs of millions of families living in the developing world.
The award was named to honor Ken Miller, who was one of Water For People’s founders, and supporter throughout his career. Each year, Water For People’s volunteer committees nominate one person for the award for the year. The winner is recognized and presented with a plaque at the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Annual Conference and Expo (ACE) during the Miller Award luncheon.
About Water For People From its beginnings, Water For People was envisioned to be a volunteer effort of the North American water and wastewater communities. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) leaders who organized Water For People believed that water professionals throughout North America would recognize the urgent need to support such a cause by contributing their financial assistance, organizational skills, and professional expertise. Local groups of water and sanitation professionals launched hundreds of active programs in support of Water For People. As the organization grew and began to accomplish its vision of service, it became evident that extraordinary volunteer efforts were being made at the local level and that this dedicated work needed to be publicly acknowledged and honored.
The search for a model individual to exemplify the value of volunteer service and to underscore the importance of this award led immediately to Kenneth J. Miller, one of the founders of Water For People and its first president.
About the American Water Works Association The American Water Works Association (AWWA) is an international nonprofit scientific and educational society dedicated to the improvement of drinking water quality and supply. Founded in 1881, AWWA is the largest and oldest organization of water supply professionals in the world. Its more than 50,000 individual members represent the full spectrum of the drinking water community: treatment plant operators and managers, scientists, environmentalists, manufacturers, academicians, regulators and others who hold a genuine interest in water supply and public health. Membership includes more than 4,000 utilities that supply water to roughly 180 million people in North America.
A New Chair at the Connecticut Section of the AWWA
Stephen K. Rupar, P.E. a Vice President with Tata & Howard, formally passed the gavel of Chair to his successor at the 47th Annual Joint Meeting of the Connecticut Section of the American Water Works Association (CTAWWA) and the Connecticut Water Works Association (CWWA).
Jennifer K. Muir, P.E., President of JK Muir, accepted the position as Chair of the CT Section of the AWWA, during a ceremony held on May 23, 2018 at the Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club located in Brewster, Massachusetts.
Approximately 80 guests working in water utility management, board and committee members from both organizations, and other industry professionals attended the three-day conference.
Every year, CTAWWA members and volunteers strive to improve public health and welfare by advancing the technology, science and governmental policies relative to the public drinking water industry’s role in the stewardship of water resources. In partnership with the CWWA, the Annual Joint Conference features technical sessions, legislative updates, national speakers, as well as enjoyable opportunities to network with colleagues and friends.
During Steve’s 8-year tenure as a Board member of the CTAWWA, he served two separate terms as Chair—in 2015-16 and most recently in 2017-18. “Working collectively, the Board solved some very difficult challenges facing the organization,” Steve said. “We corrected our budget deficits by improving the management of our finances. We also dealt with a common issue facing many of our members, retirement. We successfully replaced several long-serving volunteers and staff members, including two executive managers, two treasurers, and one secretary, all while maintaining and improving service to our members. In addition, with the help of many volunteers and board members, we worked long hours to advance the educational programming to keep our members informed on cutting-edge technology.”
A member of the AWWA since 1994, Steve will continue working with the Water Resources Committee and the Education and Program Committee at the CT Section of the AWWA. He will also be active on the Board in his new role as ‘Past Chair’. “Over the years, I have come to appreciate the incredible value this organization provides. I look forward to strengthening the technical and educational programming at the Annual Conference, guiding young professionals towards fulfilling careers in the water environment, and improving the quality of services to our members.”
The 2019 Annual Joint Meeting and Conference is currently planned for May 22-24 at a location to be named soon.
For more information about the Connecticut Section of the American Water Works Association visit: www.ctawwa.org
About the American Water Works Association
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) is an international nonprofit scientific and educational society dedicated to the improvement of drinking water quality and supply. Founded in 1881, AWWA is the largest and oldest organization of water supply professionals in the world. Its more than 50,000 individual members represent the full spectrum of the drinking water community: treatment plant operators and managers, scientists, environmentalists, manufacturers, academicians, regulators and others who hold a genuine interest in water supply and public health. Membership includes more than 4,000 utilities that supply water to roughly 180 million people in North America.
The Connecticut Section – AWWA is comprised of those members who live and/or do business within the state of Connecticut. The CT Section membership is about 700 strong and represents more than 60 utilities that supply water to approximately 2.5 million Connecticut residents.
Don’t Forget to Fix Leaks During Drinking Water Week!
As Drinking Water Week continues, T&H joins the American Water Works Association and water professionals across North America in encouraging homeowners to check and fix leaks inside and outside the home.
Consumers are encouraged to quickly and efficiently fix leaks in and around their homes to prevent water waste. To test for leaks inside, customers should shut off everything connected to water and inspect the home’s flow indicator on the water meter. If the indicator continues to move, even with everything off, there’s a leak somewhere in the home.
To check for a leaky toilet, customers can place a few drops of food coloring in the holding tank and wait five minutes without flushing. There’s a leak if coloring appears in the bowl. Also, customers should check all faucets and under the sinks for dripping. To check for leaks outside, customers should inspect the lawn for wet spots or pools of water around spray heads. Brown or muddy spots would also indicate there is a leak in the irrigation system.
“We are each personally responsible to conserve water in and around our home,” said AWWA Chief Executive Officer David LaFrance. “Checking for and fixing leaks is an easy way to do our part in preventing water waste.”
More information on household leaks can be found on DrinkTap.org.
About Drinking Water Week
For more than 35 years, AWWA and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week, a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to recognize the vital role water plays in daily lives.
As Drinking Water Week continues, Tata & Howard joins the American Water Works Association and water professionals across North America in encouraging households to identify and replace lead-based water pipes and plumbing. Lead presents health concerns for people of all ages, particularly pregnant women, infants, and young children. In children, low exposure levels have been linked to learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and other issues.
Water leaving treatment plants and traveling through water mains is almost always lead-free. However, lead is sometimes present in pipes connecting older homes to the water system or in fixtures and home plumbing. A licensed plumber can help to identify lead service lines and other materials such as lead fittings and solder. Households can find out more about their water quality by having it tested by a certified laboratory. Information on other sources of lead contamination in homes is available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Water utilities can adjust water chemistry to minimize the possibility of lead dissolving into tap water, but communities and households also play an important role in keeping drinking water safe,” said AWWA Chief Executive Officer David LaFrance. “Together, let’s get the lead out.”
For more than 35 years, AWWA and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week, a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to recognize the vital role water plays in daily lives. Additional information about Drinking Water Week, including free materials for download and celebration ideas, is available on the Drinking Water Week webpage.
Getting to Know and Love Tap Water During Drinking Water Week!
Tata & Howard, the American Water Works Association (AWWA), and water professionals across North America are kicking off Drinking Water Week today with the theme “Your Water – To Know It Is To Love It”.
T&H, AWWA, and the water community will celebrate Drinking Water Week by recognizing the vital role water plays in daily lives. Focus will be placed on ways in which water consumers can take personal responsibility in caring for their tap water and water infrastructure at home and in the community. To commemorate the week, water utilities, government entities, environmental advocates, schools, and other stakeholders will celebrate drinking water through public presentations, staff events, and community festivals, and provide information on how water consumers can understand and appreciate their water.
“This year’s Drinking Water Week will motivate water consumers to be actively aware of how they personally connect with water,” said AWWA Chief Executive Officer David LaFrance. “We should all know how to find and fix leaks, care for our home’s pipes, and support our utility’s investment in water infrastructure.”
About Drinking Water Week
For more than 35 years, AWWA and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week, a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together in recognizing the vital role water plays in daily lives. Additional information about Drinking Water Week, including free materials for download and celebration ideas, is available on the Drinking Water Week webpage.
Water utilities today are faced with a unique set of difficulties. Population growth has resulted in unprecedented demand while climate change has caused supply to dwindle. Increased regulations have forced utilities to invest more and more capital into treatment while budgets have shrunk. In addition, our nation’s aging infrastructure has forced water utilities to heavily invest in repair and replacement of the distribution system. Therefore, it has become critical that utilities utilize the most cost-effective and efficient methodologies in order to maintain and improve their water systems.
A key issue in distribution systems is tuberculation, or build-up, on distribution pipe walls. These deposits, most frequently caused by corrosion and microbial activity, affect both the quality and quantity of the water supply. Excessive tuberculation greatly reduces distribution system efficiency and has a negative impact on water quality. In fact, AWWA has noted that distribution system deficiencies are responsible for over 25 percent of waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States each year.
Fortunately, implementation of a planned, systematic Unidirectional Flushing (UDF) Program helps to reduce these issues. UDF is utilized to maintain a distribution system and provides the added benefit of learning critical information about the system. This information allows utilities to efficiently plan and make the most imperative improvements to the system. And while the primary goal of UDF is to clean water mains, there are also several peripheral benefits. A routinely implemented UDF Program helps to regularly exercise hydrants and valves, prolonging the life of the valves and helping to locate any closed or broken valves. Flushing also helps to pinpoint the cause of water quality or pressure issues in a specific area of the system while determining discrepancies between the hydraulic model and the distribution system. Flushing frequently enables system issues to be discovered before they become critical and require emergency service, giving utilities sufficient time to address and budget them.
Because demand is highest in summer and would make flushing impractical, and low temperatures in winter would cause unsafe conditions from flushed water freezing on roadways and sidewalks, flushing is typically performed in the spring and fall. Currently, Tata & Howard is assisting the communities of Haverhill and Manchester By The Sea, MA and Norwalk First Taxing District in Norwalk, CT with their annual UDF Programs. Both AWWA and MassDEP recommend that UDF be performed on an annual basis, at a minimum. If a distribution system is too large to perform UDF annually, flushing should instead be scheduled in rotation so that all parts of the distribution system are exercised on a regular basis.
A regularly scheduled UDF Program is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of maintaining the health and safety of a water distribution system. For comprehensive information on UDF Programs including case studies, please download our UDF whitepaper instantly here.
With the beginning of each new year come all sorts of resolutions – to eat better, spend less, organize the house, and clean the garage. But the most commonly made resolution by far is to exercise to get into better shape. And while we agree with this resolution 100%, it may not be for the reasons you think. You see, we think you DO need to exercise – your fire hydrants!
Exercising hydrants comes in the form of unidirectional flushing (UDF) which, just as the name implies, flushes water in one direction from the cleanest possible source, such as a well, outward to dirty mains, finally exiting a hydrant. This unique process is utilized to maintain a distribution system as well as learn critical information about the system, allowing utilities to make future improvements based on the information acquired. The primary goal of UDF is to clean water mains, removing as much sediment, debris, and loose tuberculation as possible. Performing unidirectional flushing on an annual basis helps to avoid tuberculation and sedimentation buildup. Water mains that are not flushed on a regular, scheduled basis run the risk of building up tuberculation to the point that the buildup cannot be removed by flushing, and this can have a significantly negative impact on water quality, fire flows, and distribution system efficiency.
While the primary objective of unidirectional flushing is to clean mains, there are also many secondary goals and benefits. Exercising hydrants and valves prolongs the life of the valves while also locating closed or broken valves. In addition, flushing helps to narrow down a search area when trying to determine the cause of water quality or pressure issues in a specific area of the system. In a best case scenario, the flushing will actually alleviate the water quality issues by flushing out any debris or buildup that is causing the problem. Also, there are often discrepancies between the hydraulic model and the distribution system that can be discovered and addressed during flushing. Lastly, flushing helps to determine or disprove suspected system issues. Frequently, these issues are not of an emergency nature and can either be readily corrected during the flushing process or can be scheduled for repair at a convenient time, BEFORE they require critical attention.
According to The American Water Works Association (AWWA), “distribution system deficiencies continue to be responsible for more then 25 percent of waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States each year, a statistic that underscores the need for water suppliers to effectively control water quality within the distribution system. Flushing is one of the most powerful tools available to a water utility for maintaining this control.” For this reason, AWWA has published a set of guidelines to follow when implementing a unidirectional flushing program. They recommend a minimum velocity of 3.0 feet per second, and also recommend that system pressure in the surrounding area maintain 20 psi, similar to the concept of adequate fire flow availability.
There is a great deal of information that can be gathered during flushing, and the better the quality of data recorded, the easier it is to compare data, making it easier to determine if changes are occurring or if a problem has developed in the distribution system. Each step of the process is important, and a successful flushing program is a continuous process. The data should be compared on a yearly basis, at a minimum. Gaining five pounds over the course of one year seems insignificant; however, gaining five pounds per year over a course of five years will find a person with his weight up 25 pounds — and that IS significant. The same holds true for distribution systems. If the data is not reviewed annually, small problems have the potential to become large problems, and simple system improvements run the risk of being overlooked.
So while you are making your 2016 resolutions, be sure to include exercise…of your hydrants — your distribution system, customers, and operators will surely thank you. Happy New Year!
A common problem facing municipal water systems today is the need to maintain safe water supplies in the midst of increasing demand, limited supply, crumbling infrastructure, decreasing budgets, dwindling governmental funding, and more stringent regulations. Never before have municipal suppliers been faced with such a daunting task, and utilities are scrambling to find ways to make ends meet. And while there are technologies today that are more efficient than the decades-old systems still in use at many facilities, most utilities simply do not have the resources to upgrade in light of limited local, state, and federal funding and budgetary constraints.
Fortunately, there are many steps that municipal water systems can take to increase efficiency without having to upgrade entire facilities and piping systems. Implementing a few comparatively inexpensive initiatives can save utilities significant, much-needed funds that can be used for future upgrades required for regulatory compliance.
Business Practice Evaluations
Very often, operational procedures of municipal water systems are overshadowed by the need to provide safe, clean drinking water to the public, and understandably so — the dedication that water utilities show to their customers is commendable. However, the fact remains that operational procedures typically have the potential for drastic improvement, resulting in reduced operational expenses and smoother utility management.
One way to address operational inefficiencies is with a Business Practice Evaluation (BPE), which assesses the health of a utility’s work practices by implementing a framework for a structured approach to managing, operating, and maintaining in a more business-like manner. In other words, approaching a municipal water supply as a for-profit business rather than as a public supplier results in better operational and managerial procedures, and an improved bottom line.
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.
This assessment provides a birds-eye view of the utility along with objective recommendations to improve system performance. As no two utilities are alike, the structured approach is fully customized and includes all functions of the utility — from administration and technical to operations and maintenance. The result is an organized, systematic plan and timeline to optimize the overall utility by implementing specific steps including developing rating criteria to determine level of performance of work practices; conducting kick-off, consensus, and findings workshops; reviewing utility documents and documentation of work practices; conducting interviews with employees; and observing field operations of current work practices.
Organizations that have conducted a BPE significantly improve the operational efficiency of their utility, and the evaluation typically pays for itself in well under a year.
Non-Revenue Water and Water Audits
Besides improving operational efficiency, utilities of today need to find ways to reduce non-revenue water. Non-revenue water is water that has been pumped but is lost before it ever reaches the customer, either through real — or physical — losses such as leaks, or through apparent losses such as theft or meter inaccuracy. Globally, water utilities lose 34% of their supply to non-revenue water, and in the United States, that number is about 20%, with 75% of that loss being easily recoverable. Because non-revenue water is both detrimental to the financial health of a utility as well as our nation’s limited water resources, the AWWA recommends that utilities conduct annual water audits using M36: Water Audits and Loss Control methodology to accurately account for real and apparent losses.
Tata & Howard Vice President Steve Rupar, P.E., served as co-chair of the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA) Non-Revenue Water Goal Team, which completed the first water audit of the RWA system based on the AWWA M36 third edition methodology in 2010. Recently, Mr. Rupar was part of the AWWA Water Loss Control Committee and in charge of writing two new chapters on apparent loss control for the 4th edition update to AWWA M36.
A water audit can help water systems identify the causes and true costs of water loss, and develop strategies to reduce water loss and recapture lost revenue. In the northeast, drinking water infrastructure is typically several decades old, sometimes over a century, and deteriorating distribution systems can be a significant source of water loss through leakage. In addition, policies and procedures that lead to inaccurate accounting of water use along with customer metering inaccuracies also contribute to NRW. Of the estimated $200 billion that the United States will need to spend over the next 20 years to upgrade water distribution systems, almost half of that is needed for water loss control.
Water audits are often the most cost-effective and efficient solution to increasing demand. And like BPEs, the cost of a water audit is typically recovered in under a year. Effective water loss control programs significantly reduce the need for costly facility upgrades, and the recovered water can be sold to consumers, generating desperately needed revenue while meeting water demands. Another benefit of a water loss control program is the reduction of entry points for disease-causing pathogens, resulting in increased public health.
Municipal water systems of today face a number of significant challenges including water quantity and quality concerns, aging infrastructure, population growth, increased regulatory requirements, climate change, and depleted resources. In order for water systems to remain profitable, and therefore functional, they must implement efficiencies that will increase revenue and decrease water loss, all with the least capital expenditure possible. Both BPEs and water audits are inexpensive ways to improve efficiency and to realize a return on investment in less than one year, saving limited funds for future upgrades and expansions.
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