The Real Cost of US Infrastructure Problems


In this new era of shiny, pretty, and hip new technologies, we have gotten very good at turning a blind eye to the things that we know need to be addressed. One of the most important of those is the aging wastewater treatment infrastructure. The time has come for us to wake up and pay attention to the new challenges that we are being faced with. Much of our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, the million miles of pipes beneath our streets, is nearing the end of its useful life and approaching the age at which it needs to be replaced. And as our population brings significant growth to urban areas of the country, the need for better and more robust treatment systems is here.

According to the AWWA study, Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge¹, if we are to maintain even the current levels of water service, restoring existing water systems and expanding them to serve a growing population will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years.

Let’s take a look at that number. One trillion dollars may seem to be a lot of money but postponing infrastructure investments in the near term will only add to the problems we will face in the years to come. According to the AWWA if we don’t begin to solve this problem our costs of fixing our water infrastructure could double to over $2 trillion if action isn’t taken now.

Another point that we need to remember is, not only will the cost to implement new infrastructure increase, but it also increases the odds of facing the extraordinarily high costs associated with water main breaks and other catastrophic infrastructure failures. We need to keep in mind that the $1 trillion needed doesn’t need to be invested over night. It will by fiscal necessity be spread out over the next 20 years. But, if we act now there is time to plan and implement policies that will get us on the right track and headed for a more definite future.

Business as usual, is not an answer to this problem. Not only do we as residents need reliable water systems but all of us, public and private rely heavily on our infrastructure.  If we choose to wait to address the updating of our water systems our economy may be in jeopardy because of rising costs and the loss of valuable marketshare.

With the recent atrocity in Flint, Michigan where thousands of people were poisoned by lead contaminated drinking water, we know easy fixes will not suffice and that action must be taken.  We can’t delay the inevitable and with the costs inevitably rising now is the time when new technologies can be implemented and encouraged. Status quo won’t work anymore.

There are many actions that we can take as a community and as a country to ensure that our water infrastructure lasts for generations and that our economic future is safe.  Can we really afford not to?

Interested in learning more about how advanced technologies can help alleviate our infrastructure problems at a fraction of the cost? Learn more here. 



Our Biggest Water Crisis To Come

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As the population of the United States and the world keeps growing, more pressure is put on our water resources. There are very few individuals that don’t think that we will eventually have some sort of water resource issue in the near future.

The United States Geological Survey has been running a long term survey asking this very question. What will be the biggest water problem in the coming years? To date, there have been over 83,000 participants and respondents to the survey from across the United States.  The survey asks the participants to choose from five answers to that question. 

  • We will not have enough water

  • Our water will be too polluted

  • Drinking water will be unsafe

  • Water systems will break down

  • There won’t be a water problem

When looking at the state to state answers its astounding to see the huge variance in answers based on geographic location. California resident’s response was overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that we will not have enough water with 41% of them choosing this answer.

The Western half of the US is already in the midst of not having enough water in many locations, a true present crisis. While 37% of Colorado residents responded that they didn’t think the US has a water problem at all.  What we found most interesting was that largest total response of all fifty state with 39% of the total votes went to the idea that our water will be too polluted in the next 10 years.

While pollution is certainly a major issue that we all must concern ourselves with, there are technologies out there that can certainly help fight and solve our pollution problems. There are Innovative technologies that have been developed to help combat pollution while conserving water that is efficient, effective and to be deployed.

What do you think our biggest water crisis will be in the next 10 years? Take the quiz and see how others voted. If you are interested in learning more about technologies that help solve some of our most serious water problems, contact us today. We’re revolutionizing the way we treat water, one gallon at a time.

Corporations Face Economic Impact of Water Scarcity

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 wastewater? Contact us today. 

Water Re-Use Proposes Huge Gains for California Water Reserves

California’s use of recycled wastewater has increased since 2009, rising by nearly 45,000 acre-feet. The increase has been so substantial in fact, that in 2015, recycled water yield surpassed 700,000 acre-feet – an impressive amount of growth over a period of just six years. 

For some people, especially the many water recycling and reuse advocates, these numbers are disappointing. Some had hoped that the yield and the subsequent growth would have been much higher than was has transpired. Fortunately, the projection for future forward growth is estimated to exceed one million acre-feet of water in the coming years. This substantial yield is targeted to enhance the supply of drinking water as well as mitigate the need to use clean, potable water, to meet irrigation needs of agriculture and industry demands. 

Much to the pleasure of water recycling and reuse advocates, some information reflected in the less than anticipated water yield results survey may have been misrepresented. Taking into consideration all of the components reflects that California’s recent droughts and water conservation initiatives may have heavily skewed the reflection of the capabilities of the water recycling and reuse industry over the course of years past.

For instance, the recycling and reuse of water was measured during the years in which California suffered immense drought. The government mandated water conservation caused water usage to be reduced by an impressive 25%. However, the reduction of water use subsequently caused a reduction in the availability and supply of wastewater, thus reducing the overall possible yield of recycled wastewater inevitably. 

Also, a major factor in the halt of substantial growth in recycled water yield is due to the economic challenges the state faces. While water initiatives are well supported socially and from an environmental standpoint, financially the funds just haven’t been available to move forward. The support of the community and the knowledge for implementation will only take a project so far – eventually, the potential for growth and the final outcome is dependent upon the availability of finances sufficient to support the initiative. 

With the majority of water recycling and reuse projects taking place in seasonal irrigation efforts, the capabilities aren’t being used to their full potential – and water authorities and conservation advocates are aware. Taking main focus for future conservation endeavors is treatment and reuse of household potable water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene practice. Such usage is steady year-round, lending more potential to increase reuse yields. 

With initiatives for water conservation as valuable as they are to California’s future, one thing is certain: water recycling will become a common household practice. With sufficient funding and the community’s continued support, water recycling and reuse will secure a more solid and sustainable future for California for the foreseeable future and generations to come.  

Interested in learning more about advanced water treatment technologies that can help sustain water conservation efforts? Contact us today. 

Flagstaff Conducts Wastewater Brew Beta Test

Would you guzzle down a beer with your buddies if the beer you held in your hand had been brewed using treated wastewater? A practice that would turn most people’s heads is now being implemented in several breweries across Flagstaff, AZ in an effort to promote acceptance of the use of treated wastewater for consumption and to educate the public about the treatment process. 

The eye-catching, ‘Pure Water Brew truck’ is highly recognizable by Flagstaff residents and frequently makes its way throughout the city. The first of its kind, the mobile wastewater treatment truck makes its rounds patrolling the city and purifying, looking for opportunities to enlighten the public on the widespread environmental benefits of implementing the treatment and reuse of water that was once considered waste and not fit for repurposing. More recently the truck made a stop at the Rio de Flag facility to put on an educational demonstration, taking the time to give the public the opportunity to get up close and personal with the equipment used to mobile treat wastewater – transforming it into pure, potable water fit for general public consumption.

Public water officials and supporters are hopeful that the integration of the treated wastewater and its purification process will gain popularity throughout the community because of its potential to mitigate some of the water supply issues that currently plague the desert region. Affectionately termed the ‘Pure Water Brew Challenge’ by supporters, it’s looking like locals are going to have to come around to the idea of their favorite brews being created with treated water that has been reclaimed from storm runoff and other sources since a large portion of the breweries in the area have committed to the challenge. 

As technology and water treatment capabilities continue to develop and make forward progress, this method of pure water acquisition will continue to become more familiar – and eventually, a household understood concept; we’ll be enjoying more than a reclaimed water beer. 

Interested in learning more about advanced wastewater treatment technologies. Contact us today. 

New Midstream Water Sector Develops in Response to Increased Water Needs in the Oil and Gas Industries

As the oil and gas industries continue to increase lateral drilling operations, the industries need for water resources continue to increase respectively. Fracking operations have dramatically increased, propelling the lucrative industries forward at a rate that has proven difficult to sustain in terms of water supply and financial demand. Now requiring three times the amount of water, fracking operations are racking up an impressive bill that is expected to meet or exceed at least $136 billion over the course of the next ten years.

As the need for water to sustain fracking operations increases, the cost and financial ability to meet those needs will also climb – it is this troubling realization that has industry leaders frantically searching for ways for operators to effectively cut costs accrued through water usage, machine use, and maintenance. In 2016 alone, the Marcellus and Permian fracking operations spending reached nearly $200 million – and it is expected to rise exponentially this year to approximately $300 million.

The increase in demand for water services essential for supporting fracking operations has led many water transport firms to capitalize on the current market, leveraging their company assets to build more pipeline networks and transportation services. Having established a substantial lead in the development of horizontal wells throughout the last six years, Texas and Oklahoma dominate the oil and gas industries through their fracking efforts.

It’s interesting to note that salt water wells mitigate the needs for excessive water re-use service in areas that aren’t able to generate water for its re-use in fracking efforts – leaving only about 10% of water to be sourced through treatment and reuse systems. It is through this method that Texas and Oklahoma have been fortunate enough to sustain their needs for water resources, effectively reducing the overall cost of their operations. However, Ohio and Pennsylvania are located in regions that pose more of a topographical challenge, making well solutions hard to come by. It’s in these less fortunate regions that water service costs visibly skyrocket. 

As the water management and services industry continues to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of the gas and oil industries, trends emerge, leading local water authorities to entertain potential business opportunities while transportation businesses divert their focus to their potential role in water management and transport services. As industries keep pressing forward to achieve a common goal in which all will profit, water reuse is projected to steadily increase to 16% over the course of the next ten years – and the environment is reaping the water conservation benefits.

Interested in learning more about advanced wastewater treatment technologies? Contact us today. 



Wastewater Reuse in Agriculture: It’s More Common Than You Might Think

New studies have revealed that the reuse of untreated wastewater collected from cities is a much more common practice than what was originally assumed. Where previous studies used the analysis of case studies to determine the frequency of incidence in untreated wastewater reuse in agriculture, newer methods of comprehension, such as geographic information systems, are being put to use in more recent studies. These more conclusive methods of study have measured more than just the direct reuse of wastewater – in fact, they’ve been able to successfully investigate the frequency of indirect reuse of wastewater – an assessment not possible before. 

Since a method for assessing indirect wastewater reuse hasn’t existed until recently, the majority of untreated wastewater re-use had gone un-noticed for years, illustrating a picture that is far from the reality. The reuse of untreated wastewater for agricultural purposes has been much more widespread than society has been led to believe. 

With the health of the public remaining one of the top priorities, researchers emphasize the importance of establishing sustainable methods for effectively treating wastewater for its reuse on farms and in the preparation of food items. With resources limited in third world countries, new methods of treating wastewater at a capacity that is feasible are a necessity for procuring health and growth. 

Farmers reliant on the use of wastewater for irrigation are often prepared to use raw, untreated wastewater to meet the needs of their agricultural practices. With a large supply of nutrients present in untreated wastewater, its use generates a higher rate of crop growth and decreases the need for excessive amounts of fertilizers – serving as a cost-effective method for sustaining crops and producing a plentiful harvest. 

Unfortunately, the massive health risk that accompanies the improper or absent treatment of wastewater reuse for farming and irrigation purposes is substantial. A large number of farmers, consumers, and vendors have exposed the potentially harmful bacteria that has the potential to make severely ill. On the flip side, organic matter and nutrients within the wastewater have the potential to sustain and grow agriculture, leading to a more secure future for many communities. 

The end goal is to uncover a way in which we can harness the potential of wastewater and other available resources to achieve growth and prosperity while simultaneously protecting the best interest, and ultimately the health, of the people. 

Interested in learning more about advanced wastewater treatment technologies for agriculture? Contact us today. 


The True Cost of Water Scarcity

Day after day we hear about how the world is on the verge of an all-out water crisis. We worry about how our faucets will no longer have water streaming through them and how our lawns will turn to dirt.  The problem is really much larger and much scarier than that.  The reality is that our economies and future wealth are based on access to inexpensive and unlimited water supplies. Industrial water consumption makes up 22% of global water use (UNWATER 2012). Over the past decade, an increasing number of companies realize that water scarcity poses a significant risk to their business success in the future and have started to plan on how to mitigate their risks through strategic water management practices.

Companies are recognizing that the cost of water has risen significantly over the past decade and will continue to do so, as droughts continue to burden regions across the globe. As water prices increasingly reflect the true cost of water, companies will be forced to spend more thereby either raising the prices on goods or make less on margins. Many organizations are turning to onsite water reuse and reclamation as an option for cost savings to build a sustainable economic future for their companies.  When looking at water reuse as an option, many organizations are finding that water reuse is a twofold solution for their wastewater. First, onsite wastewater reuse can prevent costs and fines associated with regulatory violations and second the reuse can curb stakeholder criticism due to companies contributing to water pollution problems.

The control of an organization's available water resources is out of their hands. Inevitably, a company’s available water supply is dependent on local availability. IF the water supply is not managed correctly by the utility it can be devastating to the businesses success.  As water becomes more scares, companies will have a harder time accessing resources.

One way of cutting water consumption in industry is through the reuse of wastewater. While this notion of recycling wastewater once had a bad rap, advanced technologies are allowing for safer and more efficient ways of reusing wastewater streams. By reducing the amount of water use by industries, this can lower water withdrawals from local water sources thereby assuring more water availability for the residential communities. This can have a profound impact on community relationships. Wastewater reuse can also have huge environmental implications. By lowering the volume of discharge and pollutants into the environment this can alleviate the environmental impact of discharge.  

Wastewater reuse in industry can take place within a business or between businesses and has the potential to reduce costs for businesses both on water bills as well as the cost of wastewater treatment. Depending on the contaminants present in wastewater and its future reuse, it can either be directly reused, or treated and reused (recycled).

Advanced Technologies are becoming more readily available for industrial applications in water reuse. If you are ready to learn more about the future of wastewater recycling contact us today.

The Rising Cost of Water

There's a common economic paradox about the price tag on drinking water and value. Our current economic climate places prices on things predicated on scarcity and value. Water pricing is now more widespread, with the dual goal of expanding supply and encouraging more responsible use. So long as water remained abundant, the cheapness of drinking water is not likely to change. However, the price of water has entered into serious questioning. 

The price tag on water increased 4 percent this past year, according to Circle of Blue's annual survey of 30 major U.S. Cities. The increase persists a steady upwards climb in drinking water prices that display investment in new facilities and a reply to declining drinking water sales. The normal price climbed 48 percent since 2010.

However, the demand is changing as businesses and homeowners nurture a conservation ethic. They are simply installing appliances and fixtures that use considerably less water than their forebears. They are also purifying and recycling their wastewater.

Relating to Jeff Hughes, director of the Infrastructure Finance Center at the Infrastructure of North Carolina is the necessity to recognize that normal water demand, like demand for energy, is not increasing at the speed that was once projected. It may fall even.

Utilities feel the pressure from all sides

Three main causes push against Normal water Utility managers. The first is revenue. Utilities must earn enough money to keep Drinking water treatment and circulation systems that, for large systems, include thousands of miles of pipe and vast amounts of US dollars in assessed value, while buying new facilities such as water recycling plants also.

Another factor is conservation. Utilities are observing sustained declines in the quantity of water resident's use. Indoor drinking water use in America decreased to about 22 percent since 1999, basically because of reliable clothes washing techniques and toilets, according to a recently available study.

The third concern is equity. Utilities must be sure that rates are reasonable: affordable for those that are the poorest in our country and more severe for those that love to waste our precious resource.

Controlling the three causes is always a hard job. More conservation can dent revenue, for instance, and the necessity for more earnings can upend affordability. These conflicting fads exerted more pressure on utilities last year than previously.

Response of Utilities

Utilities are changing their billing methods. Changing, quite simply, the way in which they create revenue. Many utilities are employing an increasing block rate structure. For instance, Fort Worth, which uses increasing block rates, shrunk how big the blocks are. Under this kind of rate, the first gallons of normal water is cheap relatively, but the cost increases as more gallons are consumed.

The San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) also revamped its rate framework because of earnings concerns. Inside the restructuring, San Antonio lower its rate for very low volumes of drinking water, supplying conservers a discount, and spread the rest of its earnings more across the year evenly. This structure comes from the realization the water is valuable all year round not just in the summer months.

Philadelphia, at the demand of the City Council, which was functioning on concerns about affordability, is creating a water rate predicated on income.

Just as in the declining revenue available to build and repair highways -- the total result of rising costs, more gas efficient vehicles, and less travelling -- financing water systems is a challenge due to a mismatch between costs to operate a water utility and the utility's earnings source.

The size of the infrastructure need, reveals three problems for the government: using existing federal government funds better, attracting general population and private financing, and dealing with affordability issues for poor households.

The thousands of miles of distribution pipes beneath the city roads, the lengthy drinking water distribution and treatment System are damaged or brittle now. Rebuilding will never be cheap but it is achievable if the political difficulties in the allocation of water decrease, and that using prices to lessen consumption can be more acceptable. In these dry times, water must not be free.

Interested in learning about technologies that could save you time and money when it comes to water reuse and treatment? 

Contact us today to learn more about our extensive product offerings and we're revolutionizing the way the world treats wastewater and reuse.  

USFCR Client Active Water Solutions, LLC Receives Army Corps of Engineers Contract

Houston, Texas, June 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- US Federal Contractor Registration – the world’s largest third-party government registration firm – is pleased to announce that Verified Vendor Active Water Solutions received its first government contract since completing its System for Award Management (SAM) Registration.

The contract, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, calls for Active Water Solutions to design and manufacture a packaged wastewater treatment plant, which should have a lifespan of 30 years, given routine operational maintenance.

The contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – the second contract Active Water Solutions has received – is valued at $693,000.

In business since 2009, Active Water Solutions makes available to its commercial and government clients wastewater treatment plants in a packaged containerized design.

“Our solutions provide a mobile wastewater treatment plant for temporary or permanent use that is easier to maintain and operate compared to other conventional wastewater treatment plants,” said consultant Stephen Lewis. “By focusing on low flow (less than 500 gallons per day), we can provide customized systems depending on our clients’ situations.”

Though based in Houston, Texas, Active Water Solutions can ship its products anywhere in the world.

“Our products are easily installed, operated, and maintained, and can be shipped nationally and internationally,” said Lewis. “We’ve designed our products with flexibility, durability, transportability, and ease of use in mind.”

Lewis described his experience working with US Federal Contractor Registration as “wonderful and beneficial,” and added that the company “is extremely reliable and finds solutions to any concerns I bring to them.”

He added that his acquisition specialist, Gina Wright, “goes out of her way to ensure we take advantage of all resources at our disposal.”

Eric Knellinger, president of US Federal Contractor Registration, says that companies like Active Water Solutions are exactly the types of companies that the government looks for when considering contract awards. 
“By providing high-quality products and services, and being able to work with clients not only in Houston but also across the country, Active Water Solutions has positioned itself to excel as a government contractor,” said Knellinger. “And, in my opinion, it’s the companies that deliver time and again that seem to find the most success.”

US Federal Contractor Registration helps its clients complete and maintain a System for Award Management (SAM) Registration, access contact information for federal buyers in their industries, develop award- and contract-winning marketing techniques and plans, and also uniquely position themselves for success.

Interested in learning more about Active Water Solutions? Contact us today.