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November 3, 2009
     
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Water Utility Industry Supports Sustainability, Water Conservation through Management Innovations

National Association of Water Companies Announces 2009 Management Innovation Awards

The National Association of Water Companies’ (NAWC) 2009 Management Innovation Awards were presented by Donald L. Correll, president and chief executive officer of American Water and immediate past president of the NAWC Board of Directors, at the 5th National Drinking Water Symposium on Oct. 13. These annual awards recognize new and innovative programs that promote better water service, wider recognition of the industry and improved utility management.

First prize went to United Water for its eBilling PUSH project; second prize was awarded to a subsidiary of American Water, Arizona American Water, for significantly reducing water consumption at its Northwest Valley Regional Water Reclamation Facility; and Suburban Water Systems, a subsidiary of SouthWest Water Company, was recognized with a third prize for its Suburban Residential Price Signal Index.

“United Water, American Water and Suburban Water Systems exemplify the high level of commitment our industry has to our customers and to the communities in which we do business,” said Michael Deane, executive director of NAWC. “NAWC members have pioneered numerous environmental sustainability practices and always strive to practice what they preach when it comes to water conservation. The winning management innovation programs of these three companies represent the best of the best in those areas.”

Dennis L. Ciemniecki (middle), president of Regulated Business of United Water, receives the NAWC 2009 Management Innovation Award, presented by Donald L. Correll (right), president and chief executive officer of American Water and immediate past president of the NAWC Board of Directors, and Michael Deane, executive director of NAWC.

Donald L. Correll (right), president and chief executive officer of American Water and immediate past president of the NAWC Board of Directors, receives the NAWC 2009 Management Innovation Award  from Michael Deane, executive director of NAWC.

Robert Kelly, vice president of regulatory affairs for Suburban Water Systems (middle), receives the NAWC 2009 Management Innovation Award, presented by Donald L. Correll (right), president and chief executive officer of American Water and immediate past president of the NAWC Board of Directors, and Michael Deane, executive director of NAWC.

 

 

 

 

 

 


United Water eBilling PUSH Project

United Water sends almost 5 million bills for water and/or sewage services annually. Traditionally, paper bills were sent to customers, creating more than 119.5 tons of paper, using more than 1.9 million gallons of water and emitting approximately 605,000 pounds of greenhouse gases. This represented a significant opportunity to enhance United Water’s sustainability efforts while increasing efficiency and reducing costs associated with paper billing. However, United Water’s research showed that companies introducing traditional eBilling services — which essentially let customers know via e-mail that their bill is ready for viewing — see very low adoption rates of only 5 percent in 3 years. Therefore, the company identified an eBilling PUSH solution to reduce United Water’s dependency on paper billing.

A critical differentiator in the PUSH technology is that the entire eBill is delivered directly into the consumer’s inbox as an encrypted offline attachment, meaning 1) no username and password to remember; and 2) no need to access the internet to view the bill. Because this eBilling solution is integrated with United Water’s electronic payment vendor, it is able to offer a one-click payment option directly from within the eBill itself, enabling the consumer to make a payment without ever having to register or visit a Web site. With its many benefits, United Water looks to its eBilling PUSH solution to achieve high adoption rates and help the company meet its overall objective of reducing the environmental impact of its operations.

American Water Makes Reclamation Facility ‘Greener’

When the operators at American Water’s Arizona operations at the Northwest Valley Regional Water Reclamation Facility realized their odor scrubber operations, which eliminate smells from sewage systems, accounted for 95 percent of monthly potable water consumption at the facility, they decided to apply their collective brainpower to identifying a way to practice what the company preaches in terms of water conservation.

At the time, the scrubbers were utilizing a combined 25–30 gallons of water per minute, or 36,000–43,000 gallons of potable softened water per day. In doing so, they found a new way to reuse water from the facility’s 1.2 million gallon equalization basin, drastically cutting water expenses from between $5,000 and $7,000 per month to approximately $800–$1,500 per month. In terms of water savings, American Water’s project enables the company to keep approximately 850,000 gallons more per month — or more than 10 million gallons per year — in local aquifers.

Suburban Water Systems Suburban Residential Price Signal Index

Decades of econometric studies show that improved water pricing policy positively affects water users’ behavior, meaning that 1) water demand can be altered; 2) prices alter demand; and 3) prices can be used intentionally to alter demand. However, there has been little research by water purveyors to objectively evaluate how alternative conservation rate structures compare with other water purveyors who are known to have made a demonstrated commitment to water conservation. This is partly because in the past benchmark rate structures had never been compiled and because there was no software tool available with which to easily evaluate and compare the price signals that customers were receiving from these benchmark rate structures.

The Suburban Residential Price Signal Index (SRPSI) fills that void, providing an easy-to-use template that allows the user to input an inclining block rate structure and immediately see how that rate structure compares to the average for the benchmark rate structures with similar rate designs. The SRPSI is sure to serve as an important tool in comparing the relative effectiveness of pricing on water conservation, allowing water purveyors to better set their prices to support water conservation goals.

 

Junior Achievement of Delaware Recognizes Dian Taylor as Outstanding Business Leader

Junior Achievement (JA) of Delaware announced that Dian C. Taylor, president and CEO of Artesian Resources Corporation is a 2009 inductee into the Delaware Business Leaders Hall of Fame. Craig Rogerson, president, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Chemtura, was the other 2009 inductee into the Hall of Fame.

“Ms. Taylor and Mr. Rogerson exemplify the best in both business and community leadership,” said Rob Eppes, president of Junior Achievement of Delaware. “Their outstanding dedication to the citizens of our state has made Delaware a better place to live and work, and offers a promising future for the students who attend JA programs.”

For the last 29 years, the Delaware Business Leaders Hall of Fame, presented by Junior Achievement of Delaware, has honored the state’s distinguished businessmen and women for their outstanding contributions to workforce and economic development in the region. Successful nominees are typically CEOs of publicly or privately held businesses that have a meaningful association to the State of Delaware, and who have made significant contributions to the state and region through workforce development, economic development, entrepreneurship, invention, and innovation or strategic management.

Candidates for this prestigious award are nominated by members of the community and chosen by the selection committee, which is comprised of previous Delaware Business Leaders Hall of Fame laureates.

Taylor has been the chief executive officer and president of Artesian Resources Corporation, a company offering water, wastewater and engineering services on the Delmarva Peninsula, since 1992. She also serves as CEO and president of its Artesian Water Company Inc. and Artesian Water Maryland subsidiaries. Taylor has served many positions in the community, including as a consultant to the Small Business Development Center at the University of Delaware and past owner and president of Achievement Resources Inc., which specialized in strategic planning, marketing, entrepreneurial and human resources development consulting. Taylor has served as the chair of the Board of Artesian Resources Corporation since July 1993 and as its director since 1991. She also served as a director of Citizens Bank of Massachusetts, a subsidiary of RBS Citizens, N.A., from December 2005 until June 2009.

 

Veolia Water Recognized as Best Large Wastewater Plant in Mass.

The Massachusetts Water Pollution Control Association (MWPCA) recognized the Lynn Water & Sewer Commission's Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility as the best large wastewater plant in Massachusetts, presenting the facility with an Outstanding Plant Performance Award at their Fall Trade Show.

Al Waitt, project manager for Veolia Water (the facility operator), along with Robert Tina, director of operations for the Lynn Water & Sewer Commission, accepted the award at the MWPCA annual awards luncheon on Sept. 30. The award was based on consistent outstanding plant efficiency in the removal of total suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand and fecal coliform from the community's wastewater.

"The Lynn Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility was the only plant in the more than 10 million gallons per day category in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to receive this honor," said Valerie Flaherty, awards chairwoman, MWPCA. "The MWPCA shares the Lynn Water & Sewer Commission's pride in the effective performance of this vital public service."

Since 1985, Veolia Water North America has operated, managed and maintained the Lynn Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, serving a population of more than 85,000. Veolia Water has implemented several unique processes at the facility, including a pressure swing absorption process. A fluidized bed incinerator is used for sludge disposal in an on-site ash landfill. The plant also has a second permitted outfall for use during extreme wet weather events.

"I am honored to accept this award from the MWPCA on behalf of the dedicated staff that operate and maintain the facility on a day-to-day basis as it acknowledges our dedication to superior performance and safety and our goal to have 100 percent environmental compliance within our facility," said Al Waitt, project manager, Lynn Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, Veolia Water North America.

All municipal wastewater treatment plants in Massachusetts are eligible for the MWPCA Outstanding Plant Performance Awards. The association presents awards in three categories based on plant design size and exhibition of excellent plant performance.

The Massachusetts Water Pollution Control Association is a nonprofit organization established in 1965 by wastewater treatment plant operators. The association was formed to make available education and training, and to promote the exchange of information among its members so they can be made more knowledgeable and effective in providing excellent water quality throughout Massachusetts.

 

SouthWest Water Board of Directors Elects H. Frederick Christie Independent Chair of the Board

SouthWest Water Company (Nasdaq:SWWC) announced that its board of directors elected H. Fredrick Christie as the new independent chairman of the board.
H. Frederick Christie has been a director on the company’s board since 1996 and served as lead director since May 2006. He is a consultant, having retired in 1990 as president and chief executive officer of the Mission Group, responsible for the non-utility subsidiaries of SCEcorp, with assets exceeding $2 billion and earnings exceeding $100 million annually. From 1984 to 1987, Mr. Christie served as president and a director of Southern California Edison Company. He received a master’s degree in management from the University of Southern California in 1964.

The board also appointed chief executive officer Mark A. Swatek as president and David B. Stanton was appointed chief financial officer. Stanton had been serving as the interim CFO since April 2009.

 

California American Water Names Jeff Linam Finance Director

California American Water announced that Jeff Linam has been appointed to the position of Finance Director. Linam will be based at company headquarters in Coronado but will have statewide responsibility.

In this role, Linam will oversee all financial operations for California American Water, including the rates and financial planning and analysis teams. “Jeff will lead our existing finance organization and work closely with our operations to ensure we are delivering the best results to our customers and our investors,” said company President Robert MacLean. “Jeff’s experience in finance, regulation and compliance will be a great addition to the team.”

Linam has more than 20 years experience in accounting, finance and planning, including 15years working in the utility sector. Prior to joining California American Water, Linam worked for Sempra Energy as director of mergers and acquisitions.

In addition to his 23 years’ work experience, Linam also holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics/economics from Claremont McKenna College and a MBA from the UCLA Anderson School. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, The Institute of Management Accountants and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.

 

Connecticut Water Receives Service Award from the New England Water Works Association

The Connecticut Water Company is the recipient of this year’s Utility Service Award from the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA). The award is presented annually to a member utility that has made significant contributions to the association’s committees, programs, presentations and other volunteer service.

Connecticut Water employees have been active NEWWA members for more than 50 years, and many have held leadership positions in the organization. Two have served as the association’s president and seven current or former Connecticut Water employees chair NEWWA standards committees, with many having chaired their committees for a decade or more. In addition, 10 employees are past NEWWA award recipients for their work in the drinking water industry.

“Connecticut Water is proud of its contributions to the New England Water Works Association and other professional associations that serve the drinking water industry,” said Eric W. Thornburg, Connecticut Water’s president and CEO. “Our team of talented water supply professionals looks for opportunities to work with their water industry colleagues and dedicate their time and knowledge to advancing the water supply profession.”


Pennsylvania American Water Acquires Municipal Water System in Western Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania American Water announced that it has acquired the Saxonburg Area Authority's water system in Butler County, western Pennsylvania. The purchase price of the newly acquired system, which serves nearly 3,600 people, is approximately $6 million.

This latest transaction comes on the heels of Pennsylvania American Water's acquisition of three municipal water systems in north-central and western Pennsylvania, serving a total of nearly 600 people. On Oct. 1, the company announced the purchase of water system assets from the Wallaceton Municipal Authority, Clearfield County; Boggs Township Municipal Authority, Centre County; and Amwell Township Water Authority, Washington County.

"This acquisition is another example of what can be accomplished through water system regionalization across the Commonwealth," said Pennsylvania American Water President Kathy L. Pape. "We are able to bring technical expertise and economies of scale to provide long-term solutions to communities that are facing costly issues with their water infrastructure."

The newly acquired water system serves Saxonburg Borough and portions of Jefferson and Clinton townships. With a history of raw water main breaks due to aging infrastructure, the system faced service reliability problems and high replacement costs.

"The Saxonburg acquisition will help address the problems facing this aging water system, while maintaining reasonable water rates for customers," said Pape. "As part of this transaction, Pennsylvania American Water will be making significant capital investments to ensure water quality, long-term service reliability and fire protection for these new customers."

Pennsylvania American Water plans to install nearly 42,500 feet of new pipe, as well as invest in additional operational upgrades and safety-related infrastructure over the next several years. The new pipe will connect the Saxonburg system to Pennsylvania American Water's Butler District, which serves approximately 16,700 customers in the City of Butler, Borough of East Butler, Connoquenessing Borough, and portions of Butler, Center, Connoquenessing, Forward, Franklin, Oakland, Penn and Summit townships.

 

New Jersey American Water Kids Donate Mural to Ocean County Library

A smiling dolphin, a bespectacled mermaid, multi-hued fish and more signs of marine life come alive on a mural that hangs in the Lakewood Branch of the Ocean County Library. The mural was colored by 14 children of employees at New Jersey American Water during activities during Take Your Child to Work Day last spring.

New Jersey American Water employee Doris Mattison, who dabbles in art, sketched the aquatic scenes on a blue backdrop for the children to enhance with vibrant colors. The children also constructed a frame made of replica seashells to accompany the mural.

“I wanted to present something for the children to do as a project together, something related to water, that gave our children a better appreciation for this precious resource, ” said Mattison.
New Jersey American Water, which serves Lakewood and has an operations center in the thriving township, offered to donate the mural to the library, an offer that was quickly accepted. The mural is temporarily erected in the library’s “Teen Zone,” but will be moved to a permanent space above the library’s information desk once mounting materials arrive.

“This mural is a welcome addition to the library and we have received many positive comments about it,” said Zarita F. Mattox, Lakewood Branch manager. “We appreciate that New Jersey American Water reached out to us and has contributed to the beautification of the Lakewood Branch Library.”

 

New Jersey American Water’s Gonzalez Joins Educational Foundation

Jason Gonzalez, vice president of government affairs at New Jersey American Water, has joined the board of the Educational Foundation of the New Jersey League of Municipalities. As a trustee, Gonzalez will use his expertise to provide guidance to the foundation as it works with elected officials, the business community and opinion leaders to promote good public policy that meets the state’s challenges.

The Foundation began its advocacy work in 2007 by teaming up with 50 mayors to author recommendations to amend the state’s school funding formula. This year, the foundation has focused its efforts on four key issues: school funding, preschool expansion, school construction and school consolidation.

Gonzalez, with more than 10 years’ experience in federal, state and local government organizations, will help further the foundation’s mission to “conduct, encourage and support educational programs that will serve local government officials and employees.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the New Jersey League of Municipalities and with my new colleagues on the Educational Foundation Board of Trustees," Gonzalez said. “I look forward to assisting our municipal partners in meeting the key challenges that face New Jersey.”

Gonzalez joined New Jersey American Water in 2008 and is responsible for providing strategic government affairs counsel to company management. He manages a comprehensive state and local government affairs program to advance and support the company's overall business plan and state-specific objectives.