Municipal Water Leader
  • News

    Sustainable Resource Management in San Antonio

    At the spot where water from the San Antonio Water System’s (SAWS) Dos Rios Water Recycling Center cascades 50 feet down into the river, a visitor from a group of international guests gently wept. When asked if everything was alright, he nodded. “I’m ok,” the visitor said. “It’s just that in my country, we don't even have water like this to drink. And here you can just send it into the river.” The group had come because they heard that Dos Rios, SAWS’s largest water recycling center, is the place to learn about sustainable resource management in wastewater. As Texans are prone to brag, the Dos Rios staff will boast…

  • News

    Getting to Yes on Flood Protection A Case Study in Army Corps 408 Permitting

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Nebraska’s Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (P-MRNRD) share a common goal of preventing loss of life and property through effective floodplain management. However, while trying to achieve this critical goal, both organizations found themselves struggling to effectively work through a permission process required to perform federally mandated enhancements to existing levees on the Missouri River to ensure public safety during a flooding event. In 2006, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), operating under the Flood Map Modernization Presidential Initiative, began to remap the Missouri River floodplains and update the base flood elevations to ensure sufficient freeboard for 100-year flood protection. During the process,…

  • Water Law

    Expedited Permitting to Save the Louisiana Coast A Case Study

    Louisiana’s vast coastal wetlands are unique in our nation and have been a great resource for the state’s residents and its diverse coastal wildlife. In recent times, however, it has become apparent that they are prized for something more important—safety. Coastal wetlands reduce the negative effects of storm surges that hit where people live, like New Orleans. Scientists estimate that a storm surge loses 1 foot of height for every mile of wetlands it crosses. We saw the effect of lost wetlands when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 with a much higher storm surge than would have occurred if Louisiana had not seen a substantial decline of its…

  • Photo of Maui, Hawaii coastline
    Water Law

    An Indirect Regulation of Groundwater A Look at Hawai'i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui

    On February 1, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a highly anticipated decision in Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui, No. 15-17447 (9th Cir. Feb. 1, 2018). The court held that the County of Maui (County) is required to obtain a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit to dispose of recycled water via discharge into groundwater that is hydrologically connected to the ocean. The case has broad implications for water supply and wastewater treatment agencies across the West because it would require certain types discharges to groundwater to be regulated under the CWA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)—thereby importing all the CWA’s surface water–related…

  • Photo of the Big Dam Bridge in North Little Rock, Arkansas
    News

    Innovative Financing Is Key to Improving, Upgrading, and Investing in Our Water Infrastructure

    Access to safe, clean water is critical to the livelihood of every American. It’s important that we continue to prioritize infrastructure improvements in order to provide citizens with reliable and safe drinking water and effective wastewater and stormwater treatment. As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, I participated in the two hearings held this year on the needs and challenges of our nation’s water infrastructure. As we work to craft and pass a new Water Resources Development Act, we are examining the state of our water infrastructure nationwide. As you’re likely well aware, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our nation’s drinking water infrastructure a…

  • News

    Facilitating Flood Control in Kansas City The Turkey Creek Project

    Twenty years in the making, Kansas City’s Turkey Creek Flood Control Project is marking the beginning of its last phase this year. The project addresses a flood -prone area adjacent to Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Kansas River that runs through the southwestern side of the city and Wyondotte County near Interstate 35 and Southwest Boulevard. Every 3–5 years, the businesses and homes in the creek’s corridor flood—in 1998, a flood overtopped Interstate 35 and caused millions of dollars in damage. Having identified the flooding issues in the corridor, Kansas City, Missouri, and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers…

  • News

    McCook Reservoir Reaping the Benefits of a Long-Term Investment

    In early January, a winter rain brought an inch of precipitation to Chicago’s already-snow-covered yards and streets. The otherwise unremarkable rain marked an important stage in the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD) Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP): For the first time, stormwater entered MWRD’s McCook Reservoir on Chicago’s southwestern side. McCook Reservoir is more than 45 years in the making as a critical component of the TARP, MWRD’s long-term combined sewer overflow control plan. Phase 1 of the plan involved constructing 109 miles of deep tunnels and more than 400 drop shafts to capture combined sewer overflow near the Des Plaines and Chicago Rivers before it gets…

  • Photo of New Jersey Skyline
    State Perspective

    Reviving Water Infrastructure in New Jersey

    While energy and transportation assets are well known for being indispensable to our economy, our security, and our overall quality of life, the significance of a safe, reliable, and efficient water delivery system is habitually unheeded. But while many of us get frustrated at the damage a potholed roadway can do to our car or worry about the stability of historic bridges, we would be equally troubled if we could see into our subterranean world. There are about 60,000 miles of pipe buried within New Jersey, which if laid end to end, would be long enough to extend to and from California 10 times. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates…

  • Innovator

    Reducing the Cost of Water Operations With SCADA

    Large water and wastewater utilities have been using supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, systems for years. However, due to the cost and complexity of traditional systems, realizing the benefits of SCADA has been out of reach for many rural and small-town agencies. The good news is that newer, proven technologies are making SCADA less costly, simpler, and more reliable, and therefore, easier to justify. Two such technologies are cloud-hosted SCADA and cellular telemetry communications to remote sites. With SCADA systems, plant operators and managers can, from a computer screen or mobile device, view the status of local and remote pumps, valves, flows, levels, pH, building intrusion systems, chlorinators,…

  • Business Leader,  Interview

    Luka Erceg of Drylet

    The process to treat and recycle biosolids can be time consuming and expensive for water treatment plants, but a new product called Aqua Assist is changing that. Added to wastewater treatment systems, Aqua Assist, developed by Drylet, uses a specially engineered microbe-delivery platform to break down and reduce biosolids, resulting in cost and equipment savings for treatment facilities. Luka Erceg is the president and chief executive officer of Drylet. After spending more than 20 years in the chemical, utility, and energy industries, Mr. Erceg joined Drylet and helped market Aqua Assist to municipal treatment plants nationwide. Mr. Erceg recently sat down with Municipal Water Leader’s lead writer, John Crotty, to…