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May 24, 2011

     
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NAWC Delaware Chapter Discusses "Understanding the Cost and Value of Water" at Annual Meeting

On May 11th, NAWC Executive Director Michael Deane joined several Delaware state officials, including Public Service Commission Chairwoman Arnetta McRae, on a panel discussing the critical issue of "Understanding the Cost and Value of Water" at the NAWC Delaware Chapter's annual luncheon.

Through the luncheon, the NAWC Delaware Chapter was able to bring together dozens of public officials, including state cabinet officers and members of the state Senate and House, to collaborate with utility employees on how to better educate the public on the need to invest in and pay for sustainable water in the First State.

The NAWC also thanks outgoing Delaware Chapter Chairwoman Sheila Shannon of Tidewater Utilities, and welcomes the leadership of Susan Skomorucha, General Manager of United Water of Delaware.

 

 

Veolia Water Launches Interactive Website Examining Water's Economic, Environmental and Societal Impact

Growing Blue™ provides a data-rich, user-friendly perspective on the state of water both globally and locally

Veolia Water has launched GrowingBlue.com, a data-driven resource that is designed to help municipalities, businesses and consumers gain a better understanding of today's and tomorrow's global and local water challenges and best practices. Focused on nature's most essential but often forgotten element – water –GrowingBlue.com uses a variety of tools, including animated maps, infographics and case studies, to provide a visually compelling, user-friendly representation of the current state of water in 180 countries. The site also includes possible water availability scenarios in 2050, and demonstrates the intrinsic link between water and economic prosperity, societal stability and environmental sustainability.

Urban, domestic, industrial and agricultural sectors worldwide are competing for increasingly limited water supplies, and communities are being forced to reconsider the future of their economic and population growth. Currently, 2.5 billion people (36 percent of the world's population) live in water-stressed regions, while more than 20 percent of the global GDP is already produced in risky, water-scarce areas. According to new data presented on the GrowingBlue.com site, almost half of the world's economy and 4.8 billion people – roughly half the world's expected population – could be located in regions facing water limitations by 2050.

"Water is one of the most critical factors in determining how and at what pace our world can support humanity's continued growth," said Laurent Auguste, president and CEO of Veolia Water Americas. "The economic implications of the absence of water are no less profound than the environmental or societal implications. GrowingBlue.com examines water from all three perspectives, while providing real intelligence on more effectively managing this uniquely vital resource. Our local and global water challenges often stem from a lack of public awareness, long-term planning and proper water resource management. Only by changing today's approach to water resource management and water productivity can we ensure a prosperous future. This path – one that is sustainable and 'blue' – will help ensure a better world for the next generation."

GrowingBlue.com consists of three primary sections:

  • The Growing Blue™ Tool – A one-of-a-kind summary of the current state of water in 180 countries worldwide, as well as an initial focus on the 50 U.S. states and major cities, which translates complex data gathered from a number of resources into a series of animated maps and benchmarks. Facts and figures accompanying each map provide analysis and rank the region's water stress; municipal, agricultural and industrial water use; and condition of the current water delivery infrastructure. The information, including all data in its original spreadsheet format, is packaged into a PDF for water management officials and government leaders to download and use as a resource.
  • 2050 Scenarios – Presents different economic, social and environmental scenarios that communities and companies worldwide could face in 2050 based on the implementation of sustainable water management practices versus "business as usual" approaches.
  • Implications of Growth – A candid, data-driven assessment of water's economic, environmental and social impact that includes real-world examples of the costs, trade-offs and potential solutions to a variety of water challenges.

Veolia Water, in collaboration with Global Water Intelligence, was the main underwriter of the site, in consultation with industry colleagues, scientists, and representatives from academia and non-governmental organizations, such as Clean Water America Alliance and the International Food Policy Research Institute.

"People often overlook the fact that water is an economic issue as well as an environmental one, and because we miss the economic dimension there is a real danger that the environmental challenge will be much greater," said Christopher Gasson, publisher of Global Water Intelligence. "What Growing Blue does is put the economic importance of water on center stage, and by doing so makes the case for the kind of smart investment in infrastructure that is going to both protect the environment and support local economic improvements in the long term."

"We have allowed rivers to run dry, aquifers to become salty, and networks to become leaky and unsafe, but still most people seem to see this as the inexorable process of environmental change," added Gasson. "I hope that by focusing on the economic impact of our failure to invest in water, we can redefine the solutions to the crisis. If we can put a price tag on our failure to act, then we don't need to stand there immobilized by the horror of the environmental destruction."

In addition to the visual representations of the current and future states of water, GrowingBlue.com also contains:

  • Case studies from around the world, addressing water challenges and potential solutions for mitigating risks;
  • Updated news on water-related issues, as well as white papers and other resource materials; and
  • Links to other leading water-focused websites.

About Growing Blue™
GrowingBlue™ was created to tell the important story of how water is as essential to our economic and social growth as it is to ensuring healthy ecosystems and our natural environment. The site is meant to serve as a resource for credible, accurate information on water, aimed at increasing global awareness of our water challenges and the need for thoughtful solutions. For updates, follow us on Twitter @GrowingBlue or visit our website.

 

NAWC Ohio Chapter Holds Annual Meeting

The NAWC Ohio Chapter held its annual meeting at the Brickler & Eckler offices in Columbus, Ohio on May 10.

In the legislation update, Dave Little reported that Ohio American will introduce a new bill that will be a more appropriate way to control rate case costs. Current legislation - HB87 legislation (Rate Case Recovery) – is targeted towards water and wastewater only.

Ed Kolodziej from Aqua reported that the HB95 (Gas Bill) passed the House on May 3 and is on the Senate agenda for May 11. They adopted the language on future test period for expenses and the date certain for capital is the end of the test period for gas. The revised HB95 wording has been incorporated into the proposed Water Reform legislation.

Kolodziej also discussed how Water Reform legislation has been redrafted and now addresses future test period, date certain for capital, SIC sunset, levels and capital included, distressed capital acquisition and a limited set of surcharges. Representative Lou Blessing and Senator Seitz are sponsoring the Water Reform legislation. Kolodziej will meet with PUCO and OCC to review the proposed legislation.

Al Sauline from Aqua Ohio Water was elected to serve as Chairman of the Ohio Chapter for 2011-12 at the annual meeting. Scott Ballenger of Ohio American Water was elected to serve as Vice Chairman, and Christine Snarey of Aqua Ohio Water was re-elected to serve as Secretary-Treasurer. NAWC thanks outgoing Chairman David Little from Ohio American Water.

 

Ohio Water and Wastewater Utilities Legislation

Issue statement from current legislation being advanced in Ohio:

Sustainability of water and wastewater utilities in Ohio depends on the continued investment in new and replacement facilities associated with serving the homes and businesses in their areas. As in other parts of the U.S., that physical treatment and distribution infrastructure requires a regular infusion of capital.

The mechanisms currently in place legislatively to recognize the cost of that capital along with the expenses associated with running the systems do not provide timely relief for the investments made. Current legislation limits the PUCO's ability to effectively provide the regulatory oversight needed to address these issues.

This not only has an adverse impact on the near and long term operations of the water and waste water systems from treatment through distribution , it also retards the investment of capital here in Ohio along with the jobs associated with that investment.

From another perspective, today's water and waste water customers are borrowing from future customers, without systematically making these investments today. This "borrowing" affects not only the water and waste water utilities, but future customers, the environment and the Ohio economy.

The mechanisms currently in place limit the water and waste water utilities' ability to recoup most O&M expense and non-distribution capital expenditure through the costly process of rate case filings. This expense is borne by customers.
The proposed changes as delineated below provide the timely recognition of changes in public utility rates and charges while ensuring the evaluation, oversight and approval of the PUCO. The proposed changes are aligned with the 2005 NARUC Resolution that advocates for "Best Practices" in the regulated water utility industry.

Click here for a copy of the Draft Legislation.

 

 

Illinois American Water Awards Great Rivers Land Trust with Environmental Grant

Illinois American Water is pleased to announce that Great Rivers Land Trust has been selected to receive funding through Illinois American's 2011 Environmental Grant Program, which was established to support innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds and community surface and groundwater sources. Illinois American reviewed more than 30 grant applications and awarded seven grants to organizations within the state.

A $5,000 environmental grant will support Great Rivers Land Trust's filter pond project at the Nature Institute in Godfrey. The project involves the construction of a demonstration two-tiered filter pond on the grounds of the Nature Institute. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of a two-tiered filtration system to prevent sediment and impurities form reaching streams and rivers.

"The Environmental Grant program helps local organizations carry out initiatives that not only benefit our watersheds, but increase awareness and community participation," said Dundore. "Again this year, the grant recipients exemplify the type of environmental stewardship in which we are proud to partner to better protect our drinking water resources."

Illinois American Water also partners with Great Rivers Land Trust on the Piasa Creek Watershed Project in the Alton area to reduce sediment entering the Mississippi River. Great Rivers Land Trust is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of natural resources in the St. Louis Metropolitan Region. The organization protects over 3,000 acres of open space and wildlife habitat through ownership or conservation easements. Great Rivers Land Trust is involved in a variety of community initiatives, including wetland enhancement, reforestation projects, riparian buffers, park design and development, and historic site protection.

As a part of its 2011 Environmental Grant Pogrom, Illinois American Water awarded $28,000 to seven projects.

In addition to Great Rivers Land Trust, grants were awarded to:

  • Spring Lake Nature Park in Streator will receive its requested grant amount of $1,427 for the West Trail Bridge Project. This project will provide a pedestrian bridge over Egg Bagg Creek and will reduce stream bank erosion of the creek.
  • Lisle Park District in Lisle will receive a grant of $4,500 for the Woodglenn Park Renovation and Wetland Detention Interpretation Project. This project will incorporate environmental and educational signage and activities at the park's already established wetland area. By using the available landscape, the Lisle Park District will increase awareness of the wetland's far-reaching benefits.
  • Bradley University in Peoria will receive a grant of $5,500 to create the River Action League. The River Action League will mobilize citizens for watershed health by providing sample collection kits and training volunteers to collect samples from the Illinois River. The samples will be analyzed for the determination of water resource needs locally.
  • St. Clair County Health Department in Belleville will receive its requested grant amount of $2,000 for the Water Resource Management and Sustainable Development Project. This project will strive to develop an environmentally sustainable community, including the expansion of the
    ground water protection program and through educational presentations to employees, residents and students.
  • McHenry County Government Water Resources Division in Woodstock will receive a grant of $6,200 for its Rain Garden and Xeriscaping Educational Project. The project will educate residents and landscapers in McHenry County on the benefits of native landscaping through the use of model
    gardens. Educational materials will also be created and provided through this project.
  • Tazewell County Health Department in Pekin was awarded a $3,800 grant for the Winter Snow and Ice Conference. This event will address the need for increased awareness within the community of the rise in chlorides in ground water and the importance of using more sustainable techniques for applying road salt.

"We have allowed rivers to run dry, aquifers to become salty, and networks to become leaky and unsafe, but still most people seem to see this as the inexorable process of environmental change. I hope that by focusing on the economic impact of our failure to invest in water, we can redefine the solutions to the crisis. If we can put a price tag on our failure to act, then we don't need to stand there immobilized by the horror of the environmental destruction."

 

Middlesex Water Company Hosts Local Chambers of Commerce at National Drinking Water Week Reception

The Middlesex Water Company recently observed National Drinking Water Week by hosting a reception and networking event at the company's Carl J. Olsen Water Treatment Plant in Edison, N.J.

The event brought together local municipal, health and regulatory officials, as well as members of the chambers of commerce of Woodbridge, Edison, Metuchen, Perth Amboy and Piscataway, and CNJB2B for a reception including plant tours. The program also included remarks from chamber leaders Carole Hila, Barbara Roos and Mary Kagan; Middlesex Water Chairman President and CEO Dennis Doll; Woodbridge Council President James Carroll; and Edison Township Mayor Antonia Ricigliano, who presented Doll with a proclamation commemorating National Drinking Water Week.

At the event, Middlesex Water also recognized winners of its Water Makes My Life Better contest for area school children. The winners, many of whom were accompanied by their families at the event, are: Kendall Korten (Highland Park), the grand prize winner; Aimee Seppelt (Avenel); Nicholas Tom (Woodbridge); and John Kasztelan (Fords). Winning photos may be viewed at www.middlesexwater.com.

"This was a very unique and educational venue for a multi-chamber event, and we appreciate Middlesex Water providing all of the attendees with a behind-the-scenes look at the water treatment process, and a better understanding of the value of a safe, plentiful and reliable water supply," said Hila, president of the Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce.

 

Aqua America Updates Sustainability Report During 125th Anniversary Year

At its annual meeting of shareholders, Aqua America, Inc., announced that it has updated its sustainability report – one of many recent improvements made in an effort to ensure the sustainability of its operations – which are in their 125th year – and to protect the environment.

"We've made a several capital investments since the report was first published last year that have enhanced our environmental efforts, and which are highlighted in this year's updated report," said Aqua America Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis. "Our company was founded 125 years ago by college professors out of their concern for public health and the environment. The fact that 125 years later Aqua America utilities remain viable and continue to provide a vital natural resource and service to an increasing number of customers speaks volumes about the prudency and sustainability of the company's capital investment program throughout that time."

The infrastructure improvement program in Aqua Pennsylvania's largest distribution network in southeastern Pennsylvania is credited with helping to keep the company's unaccounted water (the amount of water lost between the plant and the customer's tap) and the number of main breaks per 100 miles below the national average despite recent acquisitions of operating systems with mains more than 100 years old.

Aqua Pennsylvania's Roaring Creek treatment plant received the Phase III Directors Award of Recognition from the Partnership for Safe Water, a national volunteer initiative developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Water Works Association and other water organizations. Aqua's Roaring Creek plant is one of just 53 surface water treatment plants in Pennsylvania to be presented with the award.

A new treatment system at Aqua Pennsylvania's Neshaminy water treatment plant uses a combination of UV-oxidation and hydrogen peroxide to help fight the aesthetic impact of algae blooms. The new treatment system is expected to reduce the plant's carbon footprint from 29 million kilograms to 7.5 million kilograms in 20 years, and cut its residual waste in half, primarily by eliminating the need for powdered activated carbon. At two other Pennsylvania water treatment facilities, the new use of belt filter presses are decreasing the amount of water left in treatment residuals, cutting the disposal volume in half, and thereby extending the life of disposal sites.

Additionally, Aqua Maine's new Mirror Lake treatment plant, which uses membrane filtration, employs a combination of solar thermal and a photovoltaic energy system to reduce purchased power consumption by up to 80,000 kWh annually. The Mirror Lake plant has one of Maine's largest solar facilities.

Collectively, Aqua America subsidiaries operate more than 250 wastewater treatment plants, about 15 percent of which provide high-quality treated effluent for reuse. The company's total fleet includes 1,250 service vehicles, and between 2009 and 2010, the company increased its fuel mileage, reduced its driving miles by 44,000 and its fuel consumption by 58,000 gallons, all while servicing 9,200 additional customers.

In addition to the sustainable operations initiatives, the company has also introduced paperless billing, which offers customers the option to receive electronic statements and online bill payment.

Aqua's updated sustainability report focuses primarily on Aqua America's Pennsylvania subsidiary, which is the largest and oldest of its operating units, accounting for more than half of the company's revenue and nearly half of its customer base. Information about the report, as well as about all of Aqua America's operations and branches, can be found on the company's website at www.aquaamerica.com.

 

35-Year Water Industry Vet Harris Joins CH2M HILL Team

Rhonda Harris, a 35-year veteran of the water industry, and a past president of the Water Environment Federation, has joined CH2M HILL as director of consulting services, where she will develop and support the company's operations and maintenance initiatives in Texas and elsewhere.

Throughout her career, Harris has established herself as an international expert on water, wastewater and stormwater facilities and programs. In addition to experience in design, construction and operation of facilities, Harris' technical expertise includes development and implementation of regulations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"Rhonda is an acknowledged expert in utilities consulting, and is widely known and well regarded throughout the industry in Texas, across the country and around the world," said Elisa M. Speranza, president of CH2M HILL's Operations & Management Business Group. "We are fortunate to add someone of her caliber to our team to help us expand our consulting services in the Texas market."

For the past 16 years, Harris has owned Profession Operations Inc., which provides contractual services for engineering firms, utilities and contractors. Her other experience includes work as manager of KPMG Peat Marwick's utilities consulting practice in Dallas. She also has served as senior environmental engineer and storm water program manager for the EPA's Dallas regional office, and has worked with various engineering firms and utilities in the Dallas area.

"It is the right time in my career to join CH2M HILL," Harris said. "I've worked with and around them for years, so I know the players, and I have a lot of respect for the company overall. I think it's a good fit, and I feel I can make significant contributions that will help grow the consulting business."

Harris' extensive involvement with the Water Environment Federation, a nonprofit, professional/educational organization of approximately 35,000 volunteers in 91 countries, includes serving as WEF president in 1998-99. She also currently serves as co-chairwoman of the Inter-American Water Resource Network, and has been on its Board for the past eight years. Her other professional association affiliations include the American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Association of Texas – where she served as president in 1995-96 – and the International Water Academy.

Harris earned her bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas in Arlington, and her MBA from Southern Methodist University. She is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas, and also holds "A" water and wastewater operators licenses in the state, as well as trainer certifications.

 

American Water Announces Recipients of James LaFrankie Scholarship Awards

American Water Works Company, Inc., has announced the awarding of the 20th annual James V. LaFrankie Scholarship Awards. The awards were distributed nationwide to nine college-bound children of full-time American Water employees, and who have demonstrated an interest in water-related industry occupational fields.

Out of 65 applicants, American Water selected nine high school seniors based on their outstanding high school records, academic honors, participation in extracurricular activities and teacher recommendations. The scholarships were awarded for a term of one year in individual awards of $1,000. Scholarship renewal is contingent upon the student's academic progress, and may be renewed for up to three years.

The scholarship award recipients are children of employees of Indiana American Water, Missouri American Water, New Jersey American Water, Ohio American Water, Pennsylvania American Water, and West Virginia American Water, as well as the American Water Service Company.

The American Water Board of Directors established the scholarship program in 1991 in honor of former American Water president, James LaFrankie. LaFrankie demonstrated the value he placed on college education by earning a degree at Georgetown University night school while working days at the Alexandria Virginia Water Company, now known as Virginia American Water. LaFrankie's 44-year career with American Water was marked by a number of leadership positions, including president – the position he held when he retired in 1991.

 

 

Regulatory Expert to Direct CH2M HILL's Compliance Efforts

Kevin Dixon, a nationally recognized expert in water quality and regulatory matters, has joined CH2M HILL as Director of Environmental Compliance, and will be working out of the company's Atlanta office.

In his new role, Dixon will provide oversight and direction for compliance with federal, state and local regulatory requirements for CH2M HILL's operations and maintenance projects.

Dixon brings nearly 30 years of experience in potable water supply, treatment and distribution system operations, all with a focus on water quality. He comes from Black & Veatch in Alpharetta, Ga., where he was senior water quality specialist for the past six-plus years. Prior to that, Dixon spent almost 20 years with American Water in Voorhees, N.J., serving as director of water quality and earlier as senior environmental specialist.

"Kevin's experience and expertise in the field of water quality and other regulatory issues will be a valuable asset," said Scott Haskins, vice president of Technology, Quality and Innovation for the company's Operations & Maintenance Business Group. "At CH2M HILL we always strive not just to meet, but whenever possible, exceed all regulatory requirements on our clients' behalf."

Dixon earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from Gannon University in Erie, Pa., and his master's in Environmental Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech.

 

Middlesex Water Company to Invest $4 Million to Upgrade Water Infrastructure in the City of South Amboy

Middlesex Water Company plans to invest approximately $4 million in 2011 into its RENEW Program, a rehabilitative effort to clean and cement-line previously unlined water mains, and to replace a number of water mains, valves and fire hydrants in targeted areas.

The company plans to upgrade approximately 17,500 linear feet of 6-, 8- and 10-inch water main in the city of South Amboy.

"Through our RENEW program, we are able to make strategic, targeted investments in our water distribution infrastructure that result in enhanced water quality and water pressures for our customers," said Richard M. Risoldi, Chief Operating Officer of Middlesex Water. "As we work to methodically upgrade the 120 remaining miles of unlined water main in our 734-mile Middlesex system, we are pleased to be able to access state revolving funds offered through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust for help in funding this important initiative at a very low cost."

The RENEW Program involves cleaning accumulated harmless mineral deposits from older sections of cast iron pipe and installing a new cement lining. The project, which involves rehabilitation rather than more costly replacement, helps to restore the original useful life of older pipe, and helps to improve overall water quality and service while strengthening the water distribution infrastructure. The company has also identified areas in the project zone where water mains, valves and fire hydrants will undergo a complete replacement. Approximately 6,000 feet of water main is expected to be replaced as part of this effort.

 

 

American Water Expands Service in Missouri

American Water Works Company, Inc., has announced that its subsidiary, Missouri American Water, has completed the acquisition of 11 water systems and 59 wastewater systems in Missouri. The approximately $3-million acquisition was part of an agreement with Aqua America, Inc., in which American Water agreed to purchase Aqua America's regulated water and wastewater systems in Missouri, and Aqua America would purchase American Water's regulated water and wastewater systems in Texas.

Both companies commended the agreement as a way to strengthen operations in their respective states, creating better economies of scale and providing additional opportunities for both companies to continue to provide excellent, local customer service.

"By adding these smaller systems into our existing Missouri service area, we can leverage the expertise and strength of large-scale operations," said Jeff Sterba, president and CEO of American Water. "This is a good example of our strategy to optimize American Water's business portfolio, ensuring we are operating in areas where we can best serve customers and meet our business objectives."

The acquisitions will expand Missouri American Water's customer base by 1,600 water customers and 2,100 wastewater customers in Cole, Callaway, Pettis, Benton, Christian, Taney, Stone, Barry and Morgan counties. Missouri American Water's Jefferson City, Warrensburg and Joplin service districts will manage operations for its new customers.

 

Connecticut Water Service, Inc. Elects Directors

Shareholders of Connecticut Water Service, Inc. recently elected a slate of three directors and ratified the Audit Committee's selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as independent auditors for 2011 during the company's annual meeting of shareholders on May 12, 2011, in Westbrook, Connecticut.

Re-elected to the nine member board were: Mary Ann Hanley, an attorney, Assistant to the President of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, and Director of The Valencia Society, the endowment fund for the hospital; Mark G. Kachur, retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CUNO, Inc.; and David A. Lentini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Bank and Trust Company, and a member of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

"Our Board has broad experience in regulatory, financial and executive management," said Eric W. Thornburg, Connecticut Water's Chairman, President and CEO. "Our shared philosophy is to build shareholder value by satisfying customers and communities by providing high-quality water and world-class customer service, rewarding employees who achieve high performance, and growing the company through prudent acquisitions."

 

Pennsylvania American Water Names Stream of Learning Scholarship Winners

Pennsylvania American Water has awarded academic scholarships of $2,000 each to 10 Pennsylvania high school seniors through the company's Stream of Learning scholarship program, w support outstanding students who are charting a course of study that is critical to the water and wastewater industry.

Pennsylvania American Water awarded scholarships to: Rachel Clark of Thomas Jefferson High School; Sarah Haralam of Canon-McMillan High School; Nathan McCormick of Upper St. Clair High School; Elizabeth Metzler of Bethel Park High School; Robert Moodispaugh of Peters Township High School; and Victoria Schneider and Katherine Welsh, both of Seton-LaSalle High School.

A panel of judges selected the winners from more than 100 scholarship applications, which were evaluated on criteria that included academic achievement, letters of recommendation, and interest in future careers in the water and wastewater industry.

"This year's Stream of Learning Scholarship recipients are each outstanding students who are pursuing studies that are essential to the future of our industry," said Pennsylvania American Water President Kathy L. Pape. "These young people are not only extraordinary academic students, but they've also demonstrated a real commitment to environment stewardship and service to their communities."

In addition to the local students, Pennsylvania American Water awarded Stream of Learning Scholarships to Sierra Davis of Indiana Area High School (Indiana County), and Rachel Couch and Wasiullah Mohamed, both of East Pennsboro Area High School (Cumberland County).

 

 

Homes Fit for the Birds in Somerset, NJ

Native birds visiting New Jersey American Water's Canal Road Water Treatment Plant in Somerset will find a welcome new addition thanks to the work of a local Girl Scout. Nicole Baxter-Green of Bridgewater – whose father, Scott, is a water quality manager for New Jersey American Water – recently installed two bluebird nesting boxes at the plant. The boxes were a part of a Silver Award project that Nicole's Girl Scout Troop, Heart of New Jersey Troop 60274, has been working on.

Last winter, the girls of Troop 60274 learned how to construct nest boxes for bluebirds. They assembled 35 nest boxes and have recently installed them in various parks and open areas within the watershed. Each scout is responsible for installing and maintaining two boxes in a location of her choice. Having been to the Canal Road plant during last year – during New Jersey American Water's Take Your Child to Work day – Nicole thought the plant would be an ideal location for her nest boxes.

"I was very excited to learn how to build the boxes and then be able to work with my dad to install them at New Jersey American Water's plant," said Nicole, who attends Bridgewater- Raritan Middle School. "It feels really good to do something for the environment."

The Scouts will make a number of return visits over the summer months to monitor the nest boxes. Bluebirds will likely make nests in the boxes later this month, and they could have as many as three broods during summer. The girls will check the boxes on a regular basis to evict any nonnative birds that take up residence (House Sparrows like to raise their families in cavities, and frequently take over bluebird boxes), and to document the success of nesting activities. The efforts of these girls will help ensure a promising future for the local population of bluebirds, and have helped the girls earn a Girl Scout Silver Award – the highest honor a Cadette Girl Scout can achieve.

 

American Water Announces Partnership with Student Conservation Association on National Internship Program

American Water has announced a partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in support of the organization's national internship program.

American Water will partner with the SCA on a series of internships that address issues of water conservation, quality or advocacy across the company's service areas. The program is part of American Water's ongoing commitment to consumer education and environmental stewardship, and is among a series of initiatives that American Water is undertaking during its 125th anniversary year in 2011, each designed to highlight the importance of protecting water from source to tap. The SCA partnership program was announced in conjunction with the start of "National Drinking Water Week" – May 1-May 7 – an annual observance sponsored by the American Water Works Association.

"We're honored to partner with the Student Conservation Association, an organization that has been training and inspiring students in the field of environmental stewardship for more than 50 years," said Jeff Sterba, President and CEO of American Water. "The SCA's mission closely matches our own commitment, now in its 125th year, to sustainable water supply, treatment and protection across our service areas. I can think of no better way to launch this partnership than in conjunction with National Drinking Water Week."

"American Water shares SCA's commitment to protecting our environment and supporting emerging conservation leaders," said SCA President and CEO Dale Penny. "With this partnership, SCA will engage more young people and ensure the next generation of conservation leaders will be representative of the great diversity of America."

Internship programs include:

California - StepUp2Green, water conservation internship
A collaborative effort in Monterey County, Calif., that provides homeowners with information, guidance and incentives to implement upgrades to their home and property that will save water and energy and improve air quality.

California - Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, water quality internship
The program will focus on monitoring environmental conditions in natural and restored coastal wetlands in San Diego County. The Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve preserves, protects, and manages the natural and cultural resources of the Tijuana River Estuary by focusing on research and education with compatible recreation and resource use.

Illinois - Friends of the Forest Preserves, water conservation internship
The forest preserves are unique to Chicago and protect over 11 percent of the county's open green space. The program will advocate through community organizing and education for the adoption of a Stormwater Management Policy for the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Indiana - Indiana Dunes, water quality internship
Located on the Lake Michigan shore, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore contains dunes, beaches, bogs, marshes, prairie remnants, oak savanna, woodland forest and historic buildings. The program will include sample collection and water quality monitoring/database management.

Kentucky - Daniel Boone National Forest, water quality internship
The Red River Gorge is a portion of the Daniel Boone National Forest and is located in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. This 42,000-acre gorge contains towering cliffs, dense hardwood forests, and the Red Wild and Scenic River. The program will conduct assessments of water quality and habitat by monitoring fish populations, aquatic insects and water chemistry.

Missouri - Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center, water conservation internship
The Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center is located in the diverse setting of Wildcat Park, consisting of 160 acres of natural area. It also provides 85 percent of the public water supply for the residents of Joplin, Missouri. The program will conduct invasive plant monitoring and removal in the riparian corridor, and will monitor water quality in Shoal and Silver Creek.

New Jersey - New Jersey Highlands Coalition, water quality advocacy internship
The Highlands Coalition is a network of organizations with the goal of protecting, enhancing and restoring the New Jersey Highlands and preserving the quality and quantity of drinking water for the 850,000 people in the Highlands, as well as the more than four million people in northern and central New Jersey who depend on Highlands water. The program will seek to increase public support for water protection efforts in the Highlands.

Pennsylvania - The Outdoor Classroom, water conservation/environmental education internship
The Outdoor Classroom is an educational facility nestled within 475 acres of Boyce-Mayview Park, just 12 miles south of downtown Pittsburgh. The program utilizes wetlands, fields, streams and other resources as the foundation of structured educational initiatives for all grade levels, and for environmental and water conservation camps during the summer.

Tennessee - Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, environmental education internship
With its approximately 755 acres, the Moccasin Bend National Archeological District (MOBE) is a valuable landmark and repository of over 12,000 years of American identity. Its stories include those of the native peoples who used the rich, natural resources of the region to feed, clothe, shelter and protect themselves. The program will research and develop information relevant to the transportation and trade route uses of the Tennessee River in connection with Moccasin Bend, and may include the research and rehabilitation of indigenous cane breaks along the river bank.

West Virginia - Department of Environmental Protection, water conservation internship
The program will work with researchers to evaluate the health of four local West Virginia bodies of water and will help educate students at local K-12 schools on home and school water conservation.

American Water will also establish employee volunteer events in partnership with each of these internship programs during the course of the summer. In addition, American Water will partner with the SCA's urban-based community conservation program. This green jobs readiness program gives youth a foundation of knowledge in environmental issues; introduces them to green career pathways; and facilitates the development of pre-vocational skills. American Water will host participants in Pittsburgh, and Seattle, where they will visit treatment and operations facilities to learn about best environmental practices and green career opportunities in the water industry.

The Student Conservation Association is the only national organization that develops tomorrow's conservation leaders by providing high school and college students with conservation service opportunities in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and forests. Since 1957, SCA's hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop new generations of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. SCA is a nonprofit headquartered in Charlestown, N.H., and maintains regional offices in Boise, Idaho, Oakland, Calif., Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. For more information, click here.

 

Veolia Environnement's Inclusion in the FTSE4Good index Confirmed

Veolia Environnement's selection as part of the GlobalFTSE4Good index has been confirmed following its latest update in 2011.

Every year since 2004, Veolia Environnement has been included in this leading, globally recognized index. Being selected so consistently, even as the rating criteria continue to become increasingly tougher, illustrates recognition of the group's performance and long-term commitment to sustainable development.

Created by the global index company FTSE Group, FTSE4Good is an equity index series that is designed to facilitate investment in companies that meet globally recognized corporate responsibility standards. Companies in the FTSE4Good Index Series have met stringent social and environmental criteria, and are positioned to capitalize on the benefits of responsible business practice.