Blog  /  July 2018  /  Q2 2018 Regional Roundup: Part 2/3

Blog Post Teaser

This blog series examines major trends and newsworthy events that occurred in the US water industry during the second quarter of 2018.  The second part of the series focuses on activity within the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and South regions of the US.  Also check out part three of the series, which covers the Midwest/Great Lakes and Central Plains regions, as well as grant and funding information related to the US water industry. 

NORTHEAST

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

  • In the second quarter of 2018, the Northeast region accounted for the greatest proportion, 26 percent, of the country’s demand for installation and maintenance projects.   Within the region, New York and Massachusetts represented more than half of the Northeast’s demand for this type of work, which included numerous requests to install, maintain, clean, replace, or repair water mains, wastewater treatment systems and pumping stations, boiler and chiller systems, retaining walls, catch basins, and various drainage structures.
  • In April 2018, Canadian researchers measured record-breaking temperatures in the deep water flowing into the Gulf of Maine, prompting concerns about the effects on marine life, including herring and endangered right whales.  The deep current entering the gulf typically consists of colder water originating off the coasts of Labrador and Greenland; however, researchers observed temperatures exceeding 57 degrees at depths of 150 to 450 feet, which is almost 11 degrees above normal for this time of year and the highest recorded in 15 years.  One hypothesis is that global warming-driven changes to the strength and location of ocean currents could be the cause of the higher temperatures in the gulf.
  • In May 2018, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced improved stormwater management requirements aimed at keeping New Hampshire’s waters clean, as well as a range of training and tools to aid municipalities with implementation.  Specifically, the new permit will update stormwater management efforts throughout the state’s urbanized areas to better protect lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and wetlands from harmful pollutants such as toxic metals, bacteria, viruses, and excessive amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen.  In addition, the permit allows individual municipalities to customize their efforts to accommodate local conditions.
  • In late May 2018, seven municipalities in New York formed the Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Council, a group focused on the long-term protection of the Hudson River as an important drinking water source.  The main objective of the council involves redirecting investment away from water treatment and storage, and towards safeguarding the health and security of the Hudson River.  The council represents more than 100,000 people who rely on the Hudson River as a source of drinking water, and comprises the towns of Esopus, Lloyd, and Hyde Park; the city and town of Poughkeepsie; and the village and town of Rhinebeck.
  • In June 2018, a new water quality monitoring project was launched on the Connecticut River by federal, state, and local officials.  The $230,000 project, which aims to improve environmental conditions in Long Island Sound, involves collecting water samples and data about nutrient levels – particularly nitrogen – from multiple locations along the river to determine the amount of nutrients that come from the Massachusetts portion of the watershed.  Data from the project is expected to be used by the US EPA when issuing new permits to wastewater treatment plants.

MID-ATLANTIC

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

  • The largest demand for water quality, treatment, and remediation projects in the nation during the second quarter of 2018 occurred in the Mid-Atlantic region.   The majority of these projects were located in Maryland and Pennsylvania and included requests for the implementation of erosion and sediment control plans and the upgrade of grit removal, disinfection, aeration, filtration, and membrane systems at water and wastewater treatment facilities.
  • In April 2018, the William Penn Foundation awarded $42 million in funding to the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, a multi-state collaboration established to conserve and restore the rivers and streams that provide drinking water to approximately 15 million people in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.  The funding will help dozens of grassroots groups tackle the causes of runoff, pollution, aquifer depletion, and deforestation.  For example, a group of six organizations in the Brandywine-Christina watershed received $2.8 million of this funding to target land preservation and management practices (e.g., helping farmers reduce nutrient runoff from their land) that could improve the water quality of the Delaware River. 
  • In May 2018, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority received state approval to add orthophosphate to the drinking water supply to reduce lead contamination from lead pipes and fittings.  The chemical forms a protective coating inside lead pipes that prevents lead from leaching into the water.  The authority plans to start adding orthophosphate to its water supply by August 2018 at which time it will stop using soda ash and lime to reduce lead contamination.
  • Additionally, in May 2018, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina’s Pigeon River Fund awarded $217,000 in grant funding to environmental groups in Haywood, Buncombe, and Madison counties to support projects designed to improve water quality, wildlife habitat, and water-based recreational activities.  For example, the North Carolina Arboretum Society will use $20,000 to convert a sediment catch basin into a stormwater wetland complex by increasing the pond’s storage capacity, improving filtering and management of stormwater, and increasing habitat for various aquatic species.
  • During the second quarter of 2018, the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) initiated a pilot project designed to pump treated wastewater into the Potomac Aquifer in Suffolk, Virginia.  The project’s main goals are to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and fortify the coast against rising sea levels by recharging the aquifer.  If successful, the project can reduce up to 90 percent of the phosphorus and nitrogen that flows into the bay from HRSD’s sewage treatment plants.

SOUTH

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

  • During the second quarter of 2018, Florida yielded the largest proportion, 54 percent, of the South’s demand for fluid and materials handling projects.  Within the state, these requests were primarily focused on sewage hauling activities, dredging and pipe cleaning services, and the removal and disposal of sediment, debris, sludge, and other materials.
  • In early April 2018, the US Army Corps of Engineers completed the construction of a 97-million-gallon drinking water reservoir that will provide the City of Savannah with an additional resource of fresh water, which may be needed when the Savannah River experiences drought conditions at extremely high tides in hot weather.  The $43.5 million reservoir is designed to deliver up to 62.5 gallons of drinking water per day and can provide the city with at least two days-worth of drinking water to cover the 12-hour-long periods during high tides.
  • Also, in mid-April 2018, Louisiana’s Office of Community Development announced plans to use a $40 million federal grant to fund 10 pilot projects designed to improve coastal resiliency in the six coastal parishes hit hardest by Hurricane Isaac in 2012 –Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. John the Baptiste, St. Tammany, and Terrebonne.  The projects, which are expected to be completed by 2022, include types aimed at improving stormwater management techniques in frequently flooded areas.
  • In May 2018, Tennessee American Water began work on a $3.2 million water main project that involves the installation of a 30-inch pipe in the Tennessee River that, upon completion, will supply water to 20,000 customers on the north side of Chattanooga, Red Bank, and Signal Mountain.  The project, which is expected to take approximately two to three months to complete, is designed to increase the reliability and resiliency of the utility’s water distribution system.
  • During the second quarter of 2018, Upstate Forever, a land conservation organization based in Greenville, South Carolina, was in the process of using a $40,000 federal grant to develop a plan to identify sources of water pollution and areas deemed critical for protection or restoration within the 220,000-acre Tyger River Watershed Basin.  The watershed contains 383 streams and 7 water plant intakes in total and produces drinking water for approximately 120,000 residents. The main objective of the plan is to create a permanent monitoring system to identify places where pollutants can be reduced.

 

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