Blog  /  July 2017  /  Q2 2017 Regional Roundup: Part 2

Blog Post Teaser

This blog series examines major trends and newsworthy events that occurred in the US water industry during the second quarter of 2017.  The second part of the series focuses on activity within the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and South regions of the US.  Check back tomorrow for part three of the series, which will cover the Midwest/Great Lakes and Central Plains regions, as well as grant and funding information related to the US water industry.

NEW ENGLAND

The New England region consists of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. 

  • In June 2017, ten states committed to the goals of the Paris Climate Accord following national exit from the agreement.  Among the states were Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  The intention of the group is to meet greenhouse-gas emission reduction targets by 2025.
  • Warming water and ocean acidification is on the rise and threatening aquatic life along New England’s coast. According to researchers ocean water has become 30 percent more acidic since the industrial revolution and continues to worsen, distressing Massachusetts’ multi-million dollar shellfish industry.  State representatives have proposed forming a task-force to combat the growing issue.
  • Also within the region, long-running data collection initiatives have indicated that ocean water temperatures are rising.  The rise has affected fish and crustacean populations off the coast of Rhode Island.  The changing temperature has also altered the migration patterns of certain species, causing some to stay longer, eat more, and out-compete other groups.
  • New York is allocating $2.5 billion dollars over five years to fund water infrastructure construction projects, address water emergencies, and investigate and mitigate drinking water contamination.   For years, New York has been struggling with aging infrastructure and underinvestment, which has led to a series of water crises throughout the state.  Lawmakers hope the investment will improve the condition of New York’s water systems while strengthening the state’s economy and creating jobs.

MID-ATLANTIC

The Mid-Atlantic region consists of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

  • Between the first and second quarters of 2017, Virginia and New Jersey experienced significant increases in the total number of available bids and projects.  These opportunities included requests for infrastructure upgrades, stormwater system improvements, wastewater treatment plant repairs, and the purchase of treatment chemicals.
  • Water quality issues continued to have a major impact on the Mid-Atlantic region’s water bodies during the second quarter of 2017.  Specifically, the region encountered such difficulties as pharmaceutical pollution in the Hudson River, chemical contamination in the Cape Fear River, and the discharge of coal mining pollutants into streams in West Virginia.
  • The Mid-Atlantic region represented the largest demand for natural environment-related projects in the US in the second quarter of 2017.   For example, New Jersey is planning to establish artificial reefs in the Delaware Bay and off the Manasquan Inlet that will provide vital habitats for a range of marine life, as well as enhance recreational fishing and diving opportunities in the area and boost the state’s tourism economy.
  • In May 2017, Maryland passed the Clean Water Commerce Act of 2017, which allows of up to $10 million per year of the Bay Restoration Funds to be utilized to reduce pollution in order to meet the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan by 2025.
  • In Pennsylvania, the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority released its Citywide Green First Plan, which outlines how the city plans to utilize green infrastructure to manage stormwater flow caused by heavy rainstorms.  The plan proposes employing rain gardens, water detention basins, and pervious pavement, among other solutions, to mitigate such issues as local street flooding and sewer backups.

SOUTH

The South region consists of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. 

  • Between the first and second quarters of 2017, Florida saw a substantial increase in the total number of available bids and projects as the need for infrastructure upgrades and related equipment, parts, and materials continued to be a pressing issue in the region.
  • Aging infrastructure across the South leads to such problems as endangered drinking water supplies in small towns across Louisiana, leaky water distribution pipes in Kentucky, and costly large-scale water meter replacement programs in Georgia.
  • During the second quarter of 2017, the South region represented the largest demand for stormwater projects in the US.  Nearly two-thirds of these projects were located in Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky.
  • In Florida, heavy rains have resulted in high water levels in the Everglades, which has prompted additional pumping to remove excess water in an effort to save wildlife and surrounding communities.  The pumping is transporting water north into Lake Okeechobee, opposite of its natural course, thereby increasing the risk of fertilizers and other runoff entering the lake and causing the growth of toxic algae.