The Fragmented Water Industry is Going the Way of the Typewriter

Community systems in the water utility industry are the most familiar, and most fragmented portion of our overall infrastructure system in the United States. We strongly outnumber other countries, such as the UK and Australia, with over 70,000 water and wastewater utilities nationwide as compared to their 55 and 82, respectively. This fragmentation limits competition, but there is potential for change that creates hope for a more effective system.

Industry players are aware that the water/wastewater utility industry is inefficient. Most importantly, it limits competition which causes higher prices (economics 101). With so many individual companies servicing utilities, it becomes difficult for a company to even enter the market because identifying customers and understanding the procurement needs of 70,000 utilities is almost impossible. The fragmented market also makes it difficult for vendors and contractors to learn about (and respond to) bids and RFPs in a timely fashion.

Technology is ushering in a more efficient future for the water industry. While there are challenges, they can be overcome by relying on a time proven solution that history teaches us. A simple marketplace, or exchange, is something that humankind has used for thousands of years. Such a model would create a more efficient method for connecting vendors with water and wastewater contract opportunities. Examples can be found in such business models as eBay, Uber, the New York Stock Exchange, and even farmer’s markets.

A marketplace is the model of the future for the water/wastewater utility industry. It is a way for buyers and sellers to connect, rather than having to locate each other through cumbersome and fragmented channels. Such a means for connecting would maximize competition, transparency, and make it easier for companies with new technologies to enter the market.

H2bid has developed a digital marketplace/exchange for the water industry, designed to eliminate the challenges of a fragmented market. H2bid’s marketplace includes an e-bidding platform that is user-friendly and connects water utilities with the largest database of vendors, providing maximum competition and maximum exposure to applicable technologies. Also, the e-bidding platform is green (paperless), which means that the entire bidding and contracting process can be done electronically.

An overview of H2bid’s e-biding platform can be found at: https://www.h2bid.com/Bids/eBid

For more information on how your water or wastewater utility can become part of the digital ecosystem of the future, send an email to info@h2bid.com or call (619) 736-0120.

Dredging in NYC Coastal Waterways Results in a State Park

The idea of dredging is not a new one, but the results of those efforts to recycle what is dredged largely goes unnoticed. Dredging occurs on our coastal waterways in order to combat erosion and urban runoff that changes the landscape of regularly used shipping lanes in our oceans. Dredging is even used offshore from beaches, such as in North Carolina, to replenish a reshaping beach line that threatens our recreational and living habits.

First, it is important to understand that dredging is the removal of sediment that settles in gullies in the ocean as tides and waves change the general shape of the bottom of the ocean. Furthermore, the dredging of navigation channels, approach channels, berths at marine terminals and marinas has been happening in some coastal cities, such as New York, since the 19th century. While technology may change to increase efficiency, conscious companies are now concerned with the environment.

A huge push to recycle dredged sediment has happened in the last couple of decades. Most often, reusing dredged material is a challenge due to contamination from the absorption of spilled chemicals and heavy metals in the waterways. This makes management of dredging expensive at times.

New York City is one of the places along our coastal waterways that actively seeks to recycle our recovered sediments through landfill reclamation, habitat restoration, and beach replenishment. But, in the 1990’s, the dumping of dredged materials ceased and innovative ways to reuse the sediment became an economic priority.

Prior to 2009, NYC successfully completed a pilot project that mixed dredged material with Portland Cement in order to create a “contour layer” over a landfill at Pennsylvania and Fountain Avenue in Brooklyn. Nearly one million cubic yards of processed material was later successfully laid down at Fresh Kills landfill transforming it into a 2,200 acre public park which is three times the size of Central Park.

NYC residents and visitors alike can now enjoy another park that is critical to an environmentally safe practice becoming a benefit rather than a burden.

Wastewater Treatment Reaches Energy Net Zero in Oregon

Imagine a wastewater treatment plant that consumes more waste than it does energy and leaves an excess that equals half a million dollars in savings for its citizens. Such a place does exist and carries the designation Energy Net Zero. One place in particular is Grisham, Oregon.

Through above par water resources engineering, the plant does even more than that. It also recycles its fats, oils and grease which are transported to local establishments. And, they get tipped for it generously, increasing the pool of available monetary resources for future development. All those savings go into making the plant the most resourceful wastewater treatment plant possible.

Fortunately, like with most wastewater treatment plants, the sludge that forms from settled particles in the water can be converted to a biogas. The biogas produced from wastewater treatment is then fed into two cogeneration engines that generate heat and electricity – not only sustaining its own operations, but supplementing the city’s needs as well. Treating 13 million gallons of wastewater each day, the plant meets the water needs of 114,000 customers.

The concept of Energy Net Zero is the goal of any environmentally-conscious water resource engineer. While Oregon is the not the first to generate electricity in excess of its wastewater treatment in America, it is the first in the growing Pacific Northwest. It is worthy of celebration and recognition because it is a step in the right direction for a self-sustainable society.

Zero net energy is also common in the corporate world where companies like Melaleuca, devoted to natural health, maintain buildings that produce more electricity than they use. This is considered renewable energy that reduces the carbon footprint of any corporation that embarks upon this noble mission.

Achieving net zero energy consumption has been proven to be possible now and sets a true precedent for wastewater treatment plants across the nation. New York City boasts such a plant with the goal of net zero by the year 2050. More cities are in the process of adopting similar plans.

If you are looking for wastewater treatment bids, go to h2bid (www.h2bid.com) for the largest listing of wastewater treatment bids.