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Private water companies have been meeting the essential drinking water needs of millions of people and businesses for generations. Our members are also pioneering efforts to help ensure an adequate supply of safe drinking water for the future.
Every day, in cities and small towns, apartment buildings and offices, nearly 73 million people benefit from the expertise, resources and commitment of a private water service provider. People may not realize all that goes into treating and delivering drinking water that meets or exceeds quality standards, but private water companies do. And they continue to provide this important service and critical resource at a great value.
Successfully responding to the water supply challenges of a major city requires big ideas and the resources to successfully see the project through from inspiration to operation. For the City of Seattle, the solution was provided by American Water. The Tolt Water Treatment plant, a design/build/operate (DBO) project completed by American Water in partnership with the city, provides 30 percent of Seattle's annual water supply.
But it's more than what the new facility provides that makes it innovative. It's what it saves. Through a public-private partnership with the City of Seattle, the project saved $70 million based on the city's own estimates.
Forward thinking allowed for the creation of a treatment plant featuring an efficient design and smaller footprint. That meant an immediate savings in materials and construction costs as well as ongoing savings due to more efficient energy consumption.
SouthWest Water Company
Silver Plume, Colorado
Advances in technology have made drinking water safer as well as more cost efficient to treat and deliver over the years. But innovative technology only works when it is put into practice, and that's exactly what SouthWest Water Company did for the small community of Silver Plume, Colorado.
SouthWest Water saw that the treatment process being used no longer met new, stricter surface water regulations. It also didn't have the capacity to meet the community's needs. The solution came in the form of a microfiltration facility that is as innovative as it is easy to operate and maintain.
Today, the drinking water treated and delivered by the facility meets or exceeds state and federal drinking water standards. Operation of the system requires only a few hours of on-site work once per week, and quality is assured through remote access of the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system that operates the facility.
When it comes to drinking water, most Americans are fortunate enough to be able to turn on a faucet and enjoy immediate access. How that water gets there is a more complex process that requires significant infrastructure.
In 2010, Aqua Maine opened a state-of-the-art water filtration system in Rockport to help ensure that their nearly 8,000 customers had access to the best water available. With help from federal and state grants, the plant was designed to exceed new environmental regulations, and did so on-budget and on-schedule while creating filtration efficiencies, reducing the amount of water wasted, and employing a smaller building footprint while delivering a better product to consumers. Beyond the water-based improvements, the facility contains solar panels for a "green" way to support increased power needs. The facility also meets LEED standards.
The efficiencies delivered by the new Rockport facility reduced the size of a rate increase that would otherwise have been necessary to ensure adequate safe water.
Click here to download a PDF of this case study featuring images of the projects detailed within.