Software Provides Utilities With Greenhouse Gas Calculation Tool

A new software system that calculates and analyzes an organization's greenhouse gas emissions is being used by water utilities to develop carbon reduction programs for meeting government regulations.

A new software system that calculates and analyzes an organization's greenhouse gas emissions is being used by water utilities to develop carbon reduction programs for meeting government regulations.

As part of the company's green suite of products, the engineering firm MWH has introduced the mCO2™ tool, which collects all direct and indirect sources of greenhouse gas emissions produced by municipalities, industrial facilities or other companies. The system automatically converts the data into actionable reports and a gap analysis of the organization's carbon emission levels against regulatory compliance targets.

With the data, MWH experts can work with the organizations to design solutions and projects to lower emissions and meet regulatory standards.

"Our goal is to not only look at a carbon footprint, but also understand the long-term green strategy and alternatives that will take an organization in the right direction," said Robyn McGuckin, director of MWH's resource efficiency management (REM) practice. "With this next generation tool, MWH can help organizations aggregate their emissions data and standardize approaches to produce reports, gap analyses and plans for achieving compliance and greener practices."

The tool produces information that organizations can share with all major regulatory agencies that require emissions reporting, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Panel on Climate Change and The Climate registry. The EPA recently introduced required reporting from organizations with carbon dioxide emissions greater than 25,000 metric tons per year.

mCO2™ was developed from a proprietary technology and process used by MWH in the United Kingdom, where more than 50 percent of water facilities are currently using the tool.

MWH's REM practice is focused on identifying opportunities for environmental and water infrastructure professionals to use a holistic approach to balance economic realities with sustainable solutions. REM is part of the growing trend toward improved asset management at the municipal and federal level.

For more information, visit the company's website at www.mwhglobal.com.

New Wastewater Testing Method

MWH Laboratories has introduced a new method to identify the presence of wastewater in ground and surface waters. The method detects gadolinium (Gd) and other rare earth elements that are an indicator of sewage contamination.

The advancement comes as municipalities address new evidence of contamination in U.S. water supplies, including bacteria often found in sewage.

"This is a groundbreaking development for treatment plants charged with delivering clean water to the public as well as companies relying on clean water sources," said Dr. Andrew Eaton, technical director for MWH Laboratories. "Plants can add an extra level of certainty to their work, using the same samples that they are already testing and with minimal added expense."

In 2009, research by The New York Times concluded that more than 20 percent of U.S. water treatment systems had violated key provisions of the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act in the past five years, including thousands of cases of wastewater contamination of surface water.

MWH Laboratories now can analyze at ultra-low levels for gadolinium (Gd), a rare earth element typically injected into patients undergoing MRI scans to improve the imaging quality of the medical test. Once it passes through the body, gadolinium enters sewer systems. A high level of gadolinium relative to other earth elements is one indicator of wastewater contamination.

MWH Laboratories experts can now identify a "gadolinium anomaly," or excess levels of Gd, at parts per trillion (ppt) levels to determine the presence of wastewater despite extremely low concentrations or significant dilution.

The new method has been used by the U.S. Geological Survey and researchers at the University of Queensland and will be used by MWH Labs for a major study of reclaimed water in Florida set to begin this spring, sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

MWH Laboratories uses a state-of-the-art Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (Perkin Elmer 9000 ICPMS DRC2) equipped with special sample handling capabilities, to measure the entire suite of rare earth elements at levels as low as 1 ppt and then uses a special algorithm to normalize the data and identify the presence of the Gd anomaly.

For more information on the testing program, visit the MWH Laboratories website, www.mwhlabs.com.

City Contracts for Advanced Metering

The City of Sand Springs, OK, has signed a contract to install Water SaveSource, Itron's advanced metering system for water providers. Just west of Tulsa, Sand Springs delivers water to its customers over a 150-square-mile service territory and will deploy approximately 12,000 Water SaveSource end points over the next 12 months.

Sand Springs has historically been progressive in its water management, securing water rights early on and advocating smart consumer usage of water to ensure growth opportunities across its service area. It recently received project funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with a focus on advanced metering for improved operational efficiency.

The deployment of the new automated metering system will provide Sand Springs with access to time-synchronized interval meter data for increased process improvement and effective asset management. The city expects to perform district metering analysis to ensure the reliable delivery of water to its customers.

"We realize the importance of actively understanding our customers' usage and managing our water delivery system now and into the future. Water SaveSource will provide us with advanced capabilities to meet our needs," said Cody Blair, Public Works Engineer of Sand Springs. "Itron's ability to provide a complete turnkey solution was also essential to us, becoming a key factor in our decision."

Itron will manage the project deployment, from the installation of the network backhaul to the end points and new meters. The company also will assume responsibility of properly integrating its solution into Sand Springs' operations. WW

More WaterWorld Current Issue Articles
More WaterWorld Archives Issue Articles

More in Environmental