News Apr 29, 2022

Drinking Water Week: Celebrating Water Quality

Jacobs celebrates our water sector clients whose mandate to deliver high-quality drinking water faces new and complex challenges, from emerging contaminants to cybersecurity.

Drinking Water Week: Celebrating water quality May 1-7 2022

For more than four decades, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and its members, like Jacobs, have celebrated Drinking Water Week to reinforce the vital role that water plays in our daily lives. For this year’s Drinking Water Week, May 1 to 7, Jacobs Vice President and Global Water Director Susan Moisio and Jacobs Global Vice President of Operations Management and Facilities Services Steve Meininger commend the work of our utility partners to provide safe drinking water to millions of people worldwide.

Today, water utilities face new and complex challenges as they deliver on their core mandate to provide safe drinking water. And they’re turning to Jacobs to help enhance their services and deliver innovative solutions that create a more connected, sustainable world.

In the U.S., the removal of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water tops the agenda for a growing number of communities. State governments are adopting strict regulations for these manmade chemicals and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is due to propose a national drinking water standard this year.

We assist our clients as they navigate this evolving regulatory landscape and harness our technological innovations to install treatment solutions that ensure long-term drinking water quality.For example, we’re supporting the Orange County Water District in California with its large-scale PFAS treatment pilot program and we were recently selected by the City of North Bay, Ontario, Canada, for full-service PFAS solutions at Jack Garland Airport.

Our clients are implementing major programs to eliminate lead in drinking water. The newly revised Federal Lead and Copper Rule requires utilities to inventory and develop replacement plans for their lead service lines, while the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $15 billion for these initiatives. We hired two industry experts, Lauren Wasserstrom and Tugba Akgun, to support new and existing clients with their lead compliance programs. Lauren, Tugba and Jacobs Global Technology Leader for Drinking Water Quality Jennifer Liggett took a deep dive into this topic during a recent “In the kNOW” webinar, Leading on Lead: Long-Term Lead and Copper Rule Revisions, Compliance and Funding. 

Communities ensure the delivery of high-quality drinking water by partnering with Jacobs to operate and maintain water systems on their behalf. These communities contract out their water utility operations for various reasons, including workforce shortages, compliance issues, strained budgets, aging equipment, growing demand, and tightening regulations, all of which can hinder consistent high-quality water service. Today, we provide water services to more than 10 million people in the U.S., which affords communities numerous benefits.

One community benefitting from our forward-thinking operations and maintenance is Seattle Public Utilities. Our long-term public-private partnership has experienced great success with skilled staff additions, a focus on environmental stewardship and innovative technology to support facility operations.

We support clients as they upgrade their aging drinking water treatment infrastructure. Next week we’ll celebrate a groundbreaking ceremony for the major upgrades to Saint Paul Regional Water Services’ McCarrons Water Treatment Plant, which Jacobs is delivering under a progressive design-build contract.

Clients seek solutions to address new and emerging threats to drinking water quality like cybersecurity. The highly publicized incident in Oldsmar, Florida, last year showed how malicious actors can interfere with water treatment processes and threaten customer health. In recent years we’ve performed internal audits and threat assessments, and in turn, invested heavily in more robust systems to protect our clients. Investments have included a system that overlays on any industrial control network to map vulnerabilities and manage attacks, as well as a Central Manager hub to remotely follow cyber events at our facilities. Hear about some initial steps water providers can take today to protect their assets.

This year we announced a strategic collaboration with Palantir Technologies to offer our clients and staff a water data analytics solution. Our operations and maintenance portfolio will leverage this new offering to gather analytics and insights to help increase plant performance and reduce lifecycle costs, while also supporting regulatory compliance and realization of environmental, social and governance goals.

Palantir is a key component in a full spectrum of operating technologies we provide clients as part of our Digital OneWater offering. These technologies are matched to specific client needs and objectives. They enable our operating teams to view and act on integrated data, monitor and trend key equipment performance, manage safety and maintenance programs, augment existing instrumentation and control systems and share data and performance indicators with clients in real time.

We reaffirm our commitment to collaborating and partnering with communities to provide innovative solutions as they tackle new and complex water quality challenges.

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