CH2M reflects on water advancements during Drinking Water Week

During Drinking Water Week and every day, CH2M is contributing to the solution by identifying ways to help our clients solve their water challenges.

CH2M is pleased to join the water industry as it recognizes Drinking Water Week, May 1 – 7, 2016 – a  week that has been carved out to remind each of us about the significance of one of the world’s most precious resources – water.

“As demand for freshwater continues to increase along with the world’s growing population, we can’t ignore the pressing issue that this resource is limited in quantity and not always easily accessible to much of the world’s population,” says CH2M Global Water Business Group President Peter Nicol.

Today, much of our livelihoods and economies rely on water, from growing food to manufacturing our computers, and enabling the energy that powers our buildings, homes and transportation systems. During Drinking Water Week and every day, CH2M is contributing to the solution by identifying ways to help our clients solve their water challenges.

“Just as water is integral to nearly every facet of our society, it is a major part of our business,” adds Nicol. “CH2M’s roots are in water, and we’ve been working with clients for 70 years to ensure clean drinking water for communities around the globe. We have made it our mission to help public and private sector clients address their water management challenges.”

Since 1946, CH2M has engineered many of the world’s most innovative solutions to solve water challenges including inventing the technology that enabled the building of the first advanced wastewater treatment plant in Lake Tahoe in the 1970s. CH2M introduced first-ever treatment solutions and processes used to remove more organic contaminants and pathogens through additional filtration steps to further improve water quality. CH2M’s advanced treatment technology was used by Denver Water in a landmark health effects study done in the 80s and 90s to prove that water reuse was a viable water resource solution. This study led the way for the transformative work of Singapore PUB to address their water scarcity issues. The PUB model, in turn, is being applied around the world, and today, direct potable reuse is a real solution for water scarcity in drought plagued areas like Brazil and here in the southwest U.S.

“Last August, CH2M proudly accepted the Stockholm Industry Water Award from the Stockholm International Water Institute for our 50-year journey in potable water reuse, but what this really represents is the body of work that both private and public sector organizations have instituted to develop and advance methods to clean water and increase public acceptance of recycled water. We are honored to be part of their journey,” says Nicol.   

The firm is also an advocate of the one water concept — recognizing that water from all sources should be managed cooperatively to meet social, economic and environmental needs regardless of its origin. In many parts of the world, and in the United States, there is either too much or too little water. To that end, CH2M is working with clients to address all water challenges. CH2M and Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) recently announced at a White House Water Summit its partnership to advance water treatment for indirect potable reuse through pilot testing of two advanced treatment trains. These pilot studies are part of a $1 billion sustainable water recycling initiative that will pump up to 120 million gallons of water per day into a coastal plain aquifer to provide a sustainable source of groundwater, inhibit salt water intrusion, slow the rate of land subsidence in eastern Virginia and significantly reduce surface water discharges from HRSD facilities into Chesapeake Bay tributaries.

“It is projects like these that contribute to CH2M’s rich water legacy, and we’re proud to be working with clients and organizations like American Water Works Association to advocate and ensure a sustainable water future for all,” said Nicol.

CH2M is also committed to curbing their own water and energy usage, and the firm is taking action to conserve water in both spheres of company activities: the facilities that CH2M manages for their own business needs and the water treatment or supply facilities that CH2M operates on behalf of their clients. For more than 30 years, CH2M has provided full-service operations, maintenance and management to municipal and industrial sites, treating approximately 6.4 million cubic meters (1.7 billion gallons) of water and wastewater every day through their Operations Management group.

In addition, CH2M has joined industry partners and associations to heighten awareness for the true value of water and the much needed investment in our nation’s aging water infrastructure. To extend the positive impact CH2M makes on the well-being of people beyond its client projects, CH2M has established long-term partnerships with organizations addressing water challenges through innovation, proven technologies and with a strong commitment to long-term sustainability through local capacity building.

For 25 years, CH2M has supported Water For People, a nonprofit organization founded by former CH2M employee, Ken Miller, that has provided clean water and sanitation to more than 4 million people in nine countries to date. CH2M’s passionate support for Water For People demonstrates the deep commitment to provide sustainable water not only nationally, but to people around the world. Employees have donated more than $2 million to Water For People over the past several years.

“Through these initiatives and others, we are practicing what we preach to our clients,” adds Nicol. “There’s always more that we can do, and as we celebrate Drinking Water Week, I encourage us to think about what we can do on an individual level to conserve and protect our world’s water.”

To learn more about the work CH2M is doing to protect and preserve water, follow their award-winning Access Water Blog for the latest updates.

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