On Returning to Normal

Aug. 16, 2021
Whatever your return to normal looks like, stay safe, stay healthy, and as always, thanks for reading!
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Welcome to the August 2021 issue of WaterWorld magazine. If you also feel like this year has flown by, you are not alone. It feels like just last week we were rejoicing over the end of 2020 (what a dumpster fire that year was). It doesn’t help that my local school district’s year-round calendar resulted in only a five-week long “summer” break. In the words of my first grader, “It was over before it even began!”

As we return to our offices and start working face to face again, I hope that some return to normalcy brings you joy. I know I am happy that I finally got to see — and hug — my coworkers after more than a year only meeting through Zoom.

Our cover story this month looks at the benefits of a decentralized approach to green infrastructure. From the outside, this may seem like giving up too much control, but author W. Bowman Cutter argues that

city planners and water management decision-makers gain valuable program flexibility and adaptability with

this approach.

“For cities exploring cost-effective green infrastructure policies, decentralization could help meet environmental needs without draining the public coffer,” Cutter writes.

For example, the city of Santa Monica, Calif., has approved more than 2,000 of these projects, including green roofs, infiltration pits, permeable pavement, and rainwater collection tanks over the last two decades. Read more on page 10.

Blowers have been used at wastewater treatment plants for decades, which means that legacy equipment could be nearing end of life, or upgrades to current equipment could be due. Thankfully, as blower technology has grown over the years, so has reliability and efficiency. On page 24, important considerations for selecting the right equipment for your process are laid out.

In “Cleaning Up in Court,” Golden State Water Company decided to take legal action when 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) was discovered in the area’s water supply. Golden State sued the industrial polluters responsible for the contamination, and won. Read about the victory in court for one of the largest investor-owned utilities in California on page 28.

On page 30, we look at modular utility buildings, and the features they provide, with a look at a fiberglass utility building that houses booster pumps and utility controls for an Oregon Travel Stop.

On page 32, a Long Island drinking water treatment plant gave the 1-2 punch to 1,4-dioxane when it incorporated UV and an advanced oxidation process into its treatment train. Thanks to this process, several utilities on Long Island have successfully met their state’s 1,4-dioxane regulations.

Across the pond in Italy, multi-utility HERA uses artificial intelligence to produce a model showing likelihood of failure rates for assets in its jurisdiction. The approach has enabled the utility to upgrade infrastructure before a catastrophic break occurs, improving productivity and making the most of resources. The full story appears on page 36.

Finally, on page 46, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District turned COVID-19-related workplace interruptions into a robust digital strategy that allows for remote work while increasing efficiency and supporting information governance. By digitizing information, forms and processes, MSD has become more efficient, improving the experience for employees and citizens alike.

As we put this issue of the magazine to bed, it seems that once again, COVID-19 case levels are on the rise, so let’s all try to do our part. Whatever your return to normal looks like, stay safe, stay healthy, and as always, thanks for reading! WW

About the Author

Alanna Maya | Chief Editor

Alanna Maya is a San Diego State University graduate with more than 15 years of experience writing and editing for national publications. She was Chief Editor for WaterWorld magazine, overseeing editorial, web and video content for the flagship publication of Endeavor's Water Group. In addition, she was responsible for Stormwater magazine and the StormCon conference.