Water Scarcity and the Real Economic Impact to Companies

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Global climate change is the hot topic of our daily conversations these days. Drought stricken cities, groundwater depletion and storm water contamination are all challenges that will continue to be hotbeds of discussion. While we as individuals are concerned for our future of water and how it affects our daily lives, we often forget about the implications of water scarcity for our industrial needs and economic stability. Water is used in every facet of business. Industries that produce metals, wood, paper, chemicals, gasoline, oils, and most other products all use water in some part of their production process. Every industry utilizes water in some capacity. Industry depends on water, much like agriculture and domestic households depend on water. Industrial reliance on water makes it essential to preserve water in every aspect possible and make sure water pollution is kept at minimal levels.

Over the past decade, water treatment manufacturers have made huge technological strides that now make it possible to treat wastewater for a variety of industrial reuse. Even in developing countries, industries are moving towards wastewater reuse and source separation. The treatment of separated effluents is also gaining more attention globally. Wastewater reuse potential in different industries depends on waste volume, concentration and characteristics, best available treatment technologies, operation and maintenance costs, availability of raw water, and effluent standards.

The reality is that we haven’t even begun to solve our challenges with water consumption, conservation, and reuse but there are ways to begin to change the way we look at and consume water. According to a study put out by the EPA, there are five top ways that industries can approach the way we utilize and change the way we use water in industrial applications. 

  • Water reduction in the process (for example, less water consumed per unit produced)

  • Energy reduction in operations (addressing the “water cost of energy”)  

  • Enhanced monitoring and automated control of water use  Increased vigilance and control of indirect water consumption (for example, leaky pipes, running hoses, vehicle cleaning, dust suppression)  

  • “Fitness-for-use,” which involves treating water and wastewater to the minimum needed for the specific purpose in an industrial process, including using water in progressively less demanding processes  

  • Water reuse, which requires both energy and additional capital investment.

When looking at our water crisis now most can agree that it’s not going to get any better anytime soon. There are approaches that we must begin to look at as alternatives to the status quo. If our industries along with our communities can work together on water conservation and reuse initiatives we might have a fighting chance for the future.

Interested in learning more about a wastewater treatment and reuse system that is revolutionizing how we treat and reuse wastewater? Contact us today. 

Funding Gaps in Infrastructure Will Cause Problems Across the U.S.

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The Annual investment gap is slowly falling, but total investment gap continues to grow at an alarming rate.

It has recently been reported that although the annual investment gap for infrastructure and funding in the realm of water and wastewater is anticipated to decrease, there is still an alarmingly fast-growing total investment gap that is only getting worse. The American Society of Civil Engineers reports that between now and 2025, the annual investment gap is expected to experience a decrease of roughly $800 million. This will bring the annual gap from its current standing at $11.3 billion to $10.5 billion (in current 2015 dollar value). Much of this decrease can be directly attributed to projects and initiatives funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the official title of the 2009 stimulus enacted by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama as a response to the Great Recession in order to save and create jobs.)

While a decrease in the annual investment gap is good news, the bigger picture is still deeply troubling. Analysts expect the total investment gap to balloon to $105 billion by 2025 and an astonishing $152 billion by 2040 if dramatic changes aren’t made and the problem isn’t properly addressed.

The importance of proper infrastructure for water cannot be overstated. More so than any other type of infrastructure, water is indispensable for life and health, used for drinking, sanitation, and cooking meals. People, businesses, and organizations simply cannot operate without access to consistent clean water. Wastewater infrastructure is critical to communities because it collects water that has already been used and reprocesses it to be reused by the people as clean water. Other investments keep pollutants and contaminants from getting into the water that we drink and use.


Active Water Solutions has developed a line of innovative product that can help cut design and build costs but also help lower the overall maintenance and operations cost. By designing pre-engineered and packaged systems the AWS team has been able to offer a plug and play system that has a quick start along with easy installation. This proven technology is also ideal for water reuse applications.


It is anticipated that the lack of funding that’s crippling water infrastructure will ultimately lead to half a million lost jobs by the year 2025 and 956,000 total jobs lost by 2040. This is in addition to the generally anticipated job loss forecast for this time period. Additionally, this failure to fund water and wastewater infrastructure will cost the US $3.2 trillion in gross domestic product by 2040. 

Unless the shortfalls and issues with funding for water and wastewater infrastructure are addressed promptly, effectively and comprehensively, the nation’s water systems will come face to face with a nearly unprecedented level of crisis.

Interested in learning about the enter product line of advanced technologies developed by Active Water Solutions? Contact the AWS team today.

The Value of Creating Water Awareness

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In 2017, Jenny Hartfelder became president of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). At the time, she was given the tasks of connecting with professionals in the water industry and enriching their expertise, focusing on programs designed to innovate the water sector, and building awareness of the value and effect of water. According to Hartfelder, increasing awareness was the most important of these tasks because “our industry doesn’t really like to brag” when it comes to the importance water has on people and their environment.

So, what exactly is awareness? The Oxford Dictionary defines awareness as the “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.” More specifically it is defined as having “concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development.”

Hartfelder has a passion for spreading “value of water” awareness in the sense of the more specific definition above. She understands that to help others truly understand the effect the industry, they must be passionate about its effects. She doesn’t want to just spread knowledge but desires to empower industry leaders to take action so that others will care.

Tackling the Challenges

Not only is there a need to address the objectives listed above, but the water industry in itself faces 3 key challenges that need “value of water” awareness in order to find a solution. The three key challenges that must be addressed are aging infrastructure, limited workforce and lack of funding . There are opportunities to improve the amount of funds available to fix the US's aging infrastructure issues, starting with educating the public on what they stand to lose if they don't address the issues and getting political by in. Increasing support from citizens can be gained by educating them on the importance of water stewardship which can help bring new awareness to a very important topic.

What does Hartfelder think about these challenges?

According to Hartfelder, the WEF members advocate for the water industry by discussing funding and the aging infrastructure with the EPA and representatives in Congress. The need for political backing and by in is paramount for successfully navigating our water resources in the future.

To address the aging workforce issue, WEF and AWWA (American Water Works Association) are working together on “Work for Water,” a program designed to encourage younger professionals and veterans to be aware of the opportunities in the industry. According to Hartfelder, programs like this one seek “to tackle the issue of limited resources, both financial and human.”

WEF is bringing back their “Water’s Worth It” campaign at the 2018 WEFTEC (the WEF’s Annual Technical Exhibition & Conference). According to Hartfelder, this will bring awareness to the “value of water.” Although it was discontinued by WEF, it was widely accepted in the industry and has been used by grassroots efforts for a few years. By bringing it back and updating it, WEF hopes to give members what they need to improve awareness.

Opportunities for All

All of the objectives discussed by Hartfelder were addressed at the WEFTEC annual conference, which brings together professionals in the water industry to increase their awareness, enrich their expertise, and introduce innovation. WEF has created a task force called “WEFTEC 2030” to carry their ideas into the future. The WEFTEC 2030 task force will decide the necessary changes based on opportunities in the tech industry to meet their goals, including virtual exhibits and augmented reality.

Another program that helps address the objectives is LIFT Link, which was designed by WRF (Water Research Foundation) and WEF. LIFT which stands for Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology brings together water and wastewater agencies, providers of technology, investors, consultants, and others to focus on the utilization of new technology and innovations.

Although the efforts of Hartfelder and others at the WEF help bring awareness to the “value of water”—that is, knowledge plus action—more is still needed, and the future of water depends on it. “Water’s Worth It,” so help spread the word.

Interested in learning more about water reuse technologies? Contact Active Water Solutions today.

New Study FInds Ways to Recycle Water in California

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Making the water supply meet the demands in California is a constant battle. A recent report disclosed, not only the amount of water that is being dumped into the ocean from the coastal wastewater plants in California, but also how much of it could be saved with better waste management processes.

Heal the Ocean, a non-profit organization based in Santa Barbara that strives to reduce the pollution in the ocean, recently sponsored a long-term study of the wastewater recycling potential in California. Led by water policy researcher, James Hawkins, the group compiled samples of the discharged water coming from the wastewater runoff from coastal metropolitan cities.  

Hawkins’ research revealed that, in the Pacific Ocean and the bays in California, “417 billion gallons were discharged at 57 locations.” Hawkins said that all the water used in homes—“every time you use your sink, every time you use your toilet”—is treated by inferior standards at the coastal wastewater treatment plants and is then dumped into the ocean.

Because it goes through the treatment process before being dumped into the ocean, the wastewater’s effect on the coastal waters is not what concerns Hawkins and his team. Hawkins says that the bigger concern is the opportunity that is lost in this process.

Andrew Juliano, a policy analyst for Heal the Ocean, said the purpose of the study is “to show the potential to harness this wasted wastewater, promoting local water sustainability and reducing ocean pollution in the process.” He went on to talk about the wastewater treatment plant in Santa Barbara and how they have increased their ability to recycle 4.3 million gallons per day. Juliano also mentioned that plans are in the works for a new water recycling project at Montecito; he also said that California has a 5-year plan in place “to implement policy for direct potable reuse.” 

Interestingly enough, coastal wastewater discharges are of no benefit to the state, according to Hawkins. The ability to dump wastewater into the Pacific is an issue of convenience for the coastal wastewater plants, however, the impact of the alternative could be huge.

Hawkins believes that it “would be incredibly aggressive but potentially feasible” to recycle 85 percent of the wastewater runoff. He said that “it would be enough water for nearly eight million Californians.”

Because of the continuing drought conditions in California, this is an important issue. According to Hawkins’ sources, recent numbers show that 48 percent of the state is under a state of drought, including severe conditions for 23 percent.

Some wastewater is already being recycled at wastewater treatment plants. For instance, wastewater is cleaned enough to be injected back into the groundwater supply in some Orange County water treatment plants. However, based on the findings of this study, much more still needs to be done.

Interested in learning more about wastewater reuse technologies. Contact Active Water Solutions about their advanced wastewater treatment technologies.

New AWWA guide encourages farmer-utility collaborations to protect source water

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A recently published guide by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) points out many opportunities for the U.S. Depart of Agriculture (USDA) conservation to safeguard potable water resources. AWWA is one of the largest professional organization which has championed collaboration between the agricultural producers and the water community.

The AWWA was established in 1881. Their primary goal as the largest scientific non-profit association is to protect, manage, and treat water. They are 51,000 members strong and are in a capacity to address other water-related avenues as well - improving public health, strengthening the economy, enhancing the quality of life, and protecting the environment.

The AWWA emphasizes collaboration with the goal of reducing nutrient runoffs. Nutrient runoffs cause excessive algae growth because additional nutrients enter water bodies and thus pollute.

The USDA has published a guide that would help agricultural producers and other agencies to leverage beneficial programs to protect water resources. They also have funding and schemes to help farmers adopt proper water conservation practices. USDA recommends that water utilities work alongside farmers to maximize the benefits without losing track of the primary goal- To protect water resources.

Tracy Mehan, the executive director of government affairs at AWWA, says that the USDA has untapped potential to create robust and resourceful partnerships between water agencies, water consumers, and agricultural producers. She notes that the published guide outlines all of the schemes available for stakeholders. The guide includes case studies that show how effective collaborations between agricultural producers and water utilities could be.

Here are the overarching recommendations for water utilities from the published guide:

  1. Restructure how to spend money allocated to conservation. Focus dollars on source water protection.

  2. Encourage and foster trust along with an improved problem-solving capacity between farmers and water systems.

  3. Focus on the best strategies that address source water problems.

  4. Cut-short on the expenditure associated with installing additional treatment procedures.

  5. Assess and reduce water supply risks.

  6. Focus on increasing public trust in the agricultural and water sectors.

  7. Maximize the utility of every dollar through NRCs and strategic partners.

An additional avenue AWWA is working on is policy. AWWA has highlighted the advantages of the USDA conservation programs in the context of the U.S. Farm Bill. They have uploaded an animated video illustrating how USDA programs and schemes are central to the potable water protection mission.

Two years of AWWA efforts to protect source water have materialized with the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Farm Bill- The agricultural and Nutrition Act (2018). The Bill includes critical advances made by the AWWA. Another advancement toward source water protection is a work-in-progress Bipartisan Farm Bill the U.S. Senate is working on - the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

Would you like to learn more about water treatment and reuse solutions? Contact Active Water Solutions today to find out more.

What Water Utilities Can Learn from the Power Sector

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Aging infrastructure, the degradation of the environment, and changes in climate have become the focus of water utilities across the United States.

Today’s water systems are still very much centralized and held up by antiquated finance models. Imagine if the sector were to revamp the infrastructure and financial systems rather than replace them with systems already available?

According to an Environmental Management paper, California’s electricity sector did just that—their approach could be modified for use in the water industry. The paper outlined the main points of the plan designed by Stanford’s Water in the West director of urban water policy, Newsha Ajami and her colleagues.

First, the fact that regulations and drivers of the market are an important part of making a change must be recognized by the leaders in the water industry. For instance, because of regulatory enforcement in the electricity industry in California, costs began to decrease. According to researchers, the water industry could see the same if policies were put in place requiring utilities to diversify their systems or meet certain efficiency levels.

Their second point suggested that for water utilities to apply new water solutions, they must look past the funding sources they are currently using and use more diverse public and private funds. To make this happen, the leaders in the water utility sector have to implement the ideas that have worked in the electricity sector, which will help them find new ways to fund future projects. Some ideas include tax credits written specifically for environmental and climate issues or “green bonds” and stormwater fee programs.

The third point the researchers made suggested that in order for these programs to work, the leaders and decision makers in the industry have to make cost-sharing an option or get rid of the upfront cost. Kim Quesnel, a civil and environmental engineering graduate student and one of the co-authors of the study, pointed out that systems like graywater recycling will grow. Graywater systems take the cleaner wastewater (sink, tub, and clothes washer runoff) from homes and businesses and recycle it for use in that same location (toilets, lawns, etc.). The researcher says that the utility companies could make the changes for such systems in homes, which could be paid for by the customer over time using on-bill financing, which is used by the electric utilities to encourage people to switch to solar power systems.

Lastly, the researchers believe the water projects need to be regulated. It takes more than money to develop and implement these systems. It will require new and diverse management strategies and leaders. For instance, the electricity industry’s practice of bundling projects and pooling financial resources decreases risk, improves management, and helps projects that are smaller gain access to funding.

The Journal of the American Water Works Association published a study that focused on a financial program (public benefit funds) that the electric utilities have used that, according to Quesnel and Ajami, would work in the water industry.

This model adds a surcharge based on use, which added only $1-2 per month on each customer’s utility bill. The extra funds are used for public programs, such as grants, loans, tax credits, and rebates, which go to help support programs that encourage customers to conserve energy use. Quesnel believes these same types of public benefit funds would work in the water sector to support conservation of and efficiency in water usage.

ReNUWIt (Reinventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure) is an engineering research center at the National Science Foundation in which Ajami and Quesnel are a part of. They discuss real-life examples using an interactive map, which they hope will help the nation’s leaders to find fresh ways to approach their water utility projects. According to Ajami, the interactive map “can help to change conventional ways of doing things and spur a transformation in America’s aging water systems.”


Interested in learning more about advanced wastewater treatment technologies that are simple to operate and cost effective? Contact us today.


Implementing Wastewater Solutions - Common Misconceptions

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The internet is full of experts and news articles. Some articles come from quality sources and some from poor sources. Some propagate less-than-authentic information. This is a severe problem because misinformation amidst water crises can be catastrophic for the economy & the environment.

Many large economies in the world are facing drought-like conditions. For example, just in the U.S.A., if you have traveled to the state of California, you’ll see various notices encouraging people to save water everywhere.

How does misinformation factor in? Businesses do not know that implementing wastewater treatment can benefit them while helping improve the environment. No one will aim to solve a problem if they do not believe the challenges exist. Misinformation about the water crisis in specific regions can lead to ignoring proper long-term solutions and preventive measures.

Wastewater treatment and re use is a strong defense against the ongoing water crisis. Wastewater treatment converts effluents to functionally useful water which can be tremendously beneficial for the company which can save money and improve environment.

Small & medium business are particularly affected by the lack of water resources as buying water significantly strains their upkeep.

Misconceptions are the reason why businesses do not feel the need to upgrade their water systems and production facilities.

What are the common misconceptions regarding wastewater treatment?

  • Businesses need to know everything about their effluent streams - professionals exist to assess this. The burden of this is not always on the company.

  • Wastewater treatment is expensive and therefore not worth it - the environment needs your support in treating wastewater. Many are implementing upgrades in the water systems which, in the long term, can save money for the company.

  • The upgrade will not benefit the company - Today; safe environmental practices create trust in the eyes of customers. Some industries can reuse treated water and even minimize expenditure after an upgrade.

  • The business has to know what system is appropriate - No, the experts figure that out. That’s why they are there to help guide you towards the right solution.

  • They have to divert employees to monitor the upgrades or hire someone new - Wastewater treatment companies offer that, so businesses don’t have to tax their human resources.

The solution to these misconceptions:

There are companies such as Active Water Solutions which address all misconceptions and design a suitable method to make wastewater treatment upgrades. AWS conducts pilot studies, thorough testing, even send monitoring agents. Their upgrades are automated and very easy to maintain. They provide a variety of leasing and purchase options, so the companies revenue is not strained inappropriately.

The benefits of implementing wastewater treatment solutions:

  • Customized & scalable implementation keep up with the growth of the business

  • Easy, streamlined maintenance & operations training

  • Elimination of compliance and regulatory problems

  • Reduce overall energy expenditure

  • Reduce water consumption

Interested in learning more about advanced wastewater treatment and reuse solutions that are simple to operate and cost effective? Contact Active Water Solutions today.


California To Adopt Long-term Defenses Against Future Droughts

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Water conservation as a way of Californian life. That is the vision of two bills that Governor Brown signed on the 31st of May 2018. The two bills - AB 1668 (Friedman) and SB 606 (Hertzberg) will further the ongoing water conservation efforts of environmental organizations, waterboard suppliers, and legislative members.

Although imminent climate change in California is characterized by intense droughts, these bills should provide a strong defense by improving water supply reliability. The crux of these bills is that the responsibility of realizing efficient water supply will fall upon urban water suppliers instead of imposing on homeowners and businesses.

Urban and agricultural water suppliers will need to comply with the following recommendations as per the bills.

  1. The creation of new efficiency standards for water use indoors and outdoors as well as new standards of wastage due to leaks. This would also include accounting and preparing for unpredictable changes in local conditions. 30th June 2022 will be the deadline for the State Water Board to adopt new standards.

  2. Starting November 2023, every urban retail water agency would need to define and calculate, annually, efficient water requirements for all of their services. These would include precise metrics for indoor and outdoor residential water use as well as commercial, industrial and institutional (CII) irrigation. The metrics would include dedicated meter readings and installations, accountability for water loss, unique local variances, and reuse of potable water (bonus incentive).

  3. Urban water agencies would need to meet water use objectives. Failing to do so would warrant enforcement protocols by the State Water Board. In the event objectives are not met, the state Board would issue informational orders by 2023 and conservation orders by 2025.

  4. Indoor daily per capita water usage would be limited to 55 gallons until January 2025. This limit would reduce to 50 gallons in January 2030.

  5. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) along with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)  would define the outdoor water standards based on climate, land cover, and other misc. factors. These would be effective by June 2022.

  6. The SWRCB Would also set the water leaks standard by July 2020 based on the previous SB 555, 2015 bill.

  7. The DWR and SWRCB would collaborate and define performance measures for CII use by October 2021. These would be adopted by the State Water Board by June 2022.

  8. To defend better against droughts,  urban water agencies would need to update water management plans (reliability, strategy, and requirements). Water supply protocols would need to function under the assumption of 5 consecutive dry years.  

  9. Agricultural water consumers would need to include an annual budget for supply and use as well as plans to meet efficient water use objectives.

  10. Agricultural water users would also need to provide a specific plan to stretch water resources and supply during long-term droughts while sustaining crops and livestock.


The hope is that these recommendations will make California resilient against future droughts.


Interested in learning more about alternative ways to recycle and reuse wastewater? Contact us today to learn about Active Water Solutions advanced wastewater treatment solutions.

AWS Provides Perfect Wastewater Treatment Solution for US Military

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There is a critical need to provide soldiers with healthy, sanitary places to live all while protecting the local environment when deployed overseas. Wastewater treatment is a key component of keeping our military men and women safe. Wastewater that is improperly managed in the processes of establishing, operating, and closing base camps as part of contingency operations poses health risks to soldiers and surrounding communities, as pollutants released through the surface can seep into the groundwater. Reducing the logistical footprint of wastewater treatment while meeting environmental compliance requirements is a key factor for successful units in the field.


Active Water Solutions was engaged by the US Army to design a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) that treats 35,000 gallons of domestic wastewater per day. AWS designed a custom WWTP capable of supporting a contingency base of 875 soldiers. In addition, the WWTPs are modular and scalable for bases that host more than 875 soldiers and contractors. The Army installed three AWS WWTPs to accommodate up to 5,500 soldiers and contractors within Iraq. The WWTPs are manufactured within 40’ ISO containers, allowing for quick, efficient, and easy transport at a low cost.  

The military is designed to respond quickly on the battlefield, which requires equipment that can be easily installed, started, operated, and maintained. The AWS Contingency WWTP meets all of those requirements while treating the domestic wastewater generated from soldiers and contractors. The WWTP reduces BOD, TSS, and fecal coliform and has lower energy requirements compared to similar treatment systems.  

Interested in learning more about cost effective packaged wastewater treatment systems? Contact us today! 

Rising water costs and global efforts toward new water management initiatives

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The White House considers the global water crisis a national security threat as it undermines economic growth, compromises health, and hampers international affairs. To counter this, many federal agencies are collaborating to develop sustainable water supply and improve the quality of water at a global level. Congress has committed to help by allocating more federal funds to improve the water supply infrastructure and its sustainability.

ProcurementIQ, a procurement and purchasing research firm, predicts that the increase in government spending will increase the demand and in turn, raise the price of related products and services. This would have a significant impact on operational costs for multiple stakeholders.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) says that the global market for water and wastewater is upwards of $700 billion per year. On one side, there is the increase in water management costs; and on the flip-side, the pressure and investments have given birth to innovative technologies and new initiatives. Rising costs have directly played a role in improved water supply support products and services - treatment products, quality testing equipment, etc.

The private, state and local procurement departments would see a rise in the cost of maintaining water supply infrastructure. This would, unfortunately, be an unintended outcome of the US government’s global water strategy. In fact, the government has increased the budget for improving water safety in other countries. Because of this, ProcurementIQ predicts that water treatment chemicals, quality testing services, water treatment, and planning will be in higher demand and prices will surge dramatically. This would eventually increase business overheads & operational costs across industries.

The average cost of wastewater support markets (2018)

  1. Wastewater & treatment disposal: $2.22 per thousand gallons

  2. Water treatment chemicals: $710.58 per ton

  3. Water quality testing equipment: $445 per device

  4. Water quality testing services: $181 per sample

 

A major portion of the federal government’s budget for water treatment projects would be reallocated for environmental services. This would help sustain certain initiatives with long-term goals. One example is the Joint Chief’s project. It will focus on improving water by restoring forests and grasslands. The project won’t be devoid of work on improving aqueducts and reservoirs but it will focus on working alongside agricultural producers and forest landowners to improve water as well as local ecosystems. The U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies which have partnered for the project allocated $31.9 million for ongoing and new projects.

The USAID has advanced the global water strategy in light of the ‘water for the world’ act. Federal agencies are prioritizing water hygiene behaviors and cooperation on shared waters, protection and management of freshwater resources, and strengthening financing as well as governance. Agencies are addressing many countries internationally including Afghanistan, Kenya, Haiti, and Jordan.

The lack of quality water and management in many countries creates problems such as civil unrest, economic burdens, diseases, as well as food and energy shortages. Overcoming these problems in many countries would help the U.S. and other nations build toward a stronger future.

 Interested in learning more about advanced wastewater treatment systems for decentralized locations? Contact us today.