World Water Day: Why waste water?
A great day to raise awareness, inspire and take action!
The first celebrated World Water Day took place in 1993, after the United Nations declared that a day was needed to celebrate and protect fresh water. The 2017 World Water Day theme is Wastewater: Why waste water?
At GlobalWaterWorks, we are looking to help advance proven technologies to make water work for the planet, people and profit. As we consider the theme of wastewater and how important it is to protect our fresh water resources, it’s incredible to reflect on how wastewater has gone through one of the greatest transformational changes in our society. Since the 1800’s sewage systems have helped protect lives and waterways, but sewage has been considered a nuisance and something to get rid of as quickly as possible and even as gross (and smelly).
Today, however, wastewater is being turned into reusable water for non-potable and potable uses. Several utilities around the world are producing clean drinking water, treated water for non-potable uses, energy and fertilizers from this rich source, previously thought of as a pain point. As many areas around the world face water constraints, it’s incredible to consider the rich resources that are increasingly found from wastewater sources.
Smart Wastewater Collection
While there are numerous cutting-edge technologies for treating and managing wastewater, such as water recycling, we wanted to highlight a topic that is less mainstream and unknown to many: the collection systems that support the transport of wastewater. Some utilities have sewer systems that take sewage straight to a wastewater treatment plant, while others have a combined sewage system that allows for stormwater to enter the pipes as well and also be treated. Issues may arise when there is a big storm event, which increases the volume of water flowing into a treatment plant, and can increase the cost for treating the combined wastewater and storm water. A bigger concern that keeps wastewater directors up at night is when sewer systems overflow – releasing untreated sewage into a public area or waterway.
Using Data to Mitigate Risks & Maximize Returns
A Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) means that untreated sewage is released into the environment, often due to stormwater inflow or infiltration from heavy rainfall, and broken or blocked sewer lines. Combined and sanitary sewer overflows can lead to major environmental and health issues, millions of dollars in fines and 100s of hours of labor for clean-up and ongoing monitoring.
That’s why GlobalWaterWorks was delighted to learn about and promote SmartCover Systems, a transformational water technology company, created by water leaders in 2005 to reduce the incidence of sewer overflows. SmartCover Systems serves as a digital sentry of sorts, providing real-time visibility to critical points in the collection systems to reduce sewer overflows and the labor required to monitor trouble spots (see: 2-minute Video on San Antonio Water System (SAWS)).
In its 12 years of operations, SmartCover Systems’ inflow and infiltration assessments, optimized cleaning, SSO warnings and CSO alerts have detected thousands of surcharge events and helped municipalities avoid millions in associated costs. The data collected by SmartCover Systems’ solutions also helps prioritize Capital Improvement Projects.
As we celebrate World Water Day, GlobalWaterWorks looks forward to continue advancing proven technologies that are helping to ensure water sustainability.
Have questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you! Write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Suzanne King is an Integrated Water Management Consultant for GlobalWaterWorks. Suzanne was an Austin Under 40 finalist in the Technology category in 2016 and 2017. Suzanne holds a master’s degree in Integrated Water Management from The University of Queensland in Australia, an MBA from St. Edward’s University and a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.