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Management tools at your fingertips: Tapping the power of the web

All utilities at one time or another find it necessary to upgrade facilities and expand capacity, especially as water and wastewater service needs continue to increase with the demands of growing populations. As utilities undertake such projects, engineers and operators enter a world of old records, manuals, and drawings—often stored in a confusing disarray—looking for information to help make a project more efficient and therefore more cost-effective.

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Water CHAMP helps hotels and motels conserve water

The Southwest Florida Water Management District, the agency responsible for managing water resources in a 16-county area in west-central Florida, provides a free program to hotels and motels to help conserve water. The district launched the Water Conservation Hotel and Motel Program (Water CHAMP) in 2002 to help decrease the impact vacationers place on Florida’s most precious resource—water.

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Secrets to a successful CIS implementation

An up-to-date customer information system (CIS) is an essential component of an effective water utility business. These systems are responsible for a wide range of key business activities including billing, managing credit and collections, tracking water consumption, and responding to customers' needs.

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Personal tools for becoming a more successful engineer

Increasingly, attention is being paid to the fact that many people are stretched thin, having to divide their attention among many activities including family, relationships, and of course, work. Not only do individuals have more things to do in general but many people are also finding that in the workplace they are expected to fulfill the traditional demands of their job, as well as many additional tasks. Engineers are no exception to this trend.

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WCEL argues the public’s right to a clean environment

Over the centuries, judges have recognized that the public has rights not to be exposed to toxins, and to have clean water and air: that’s the conclusion of a recently published paper written by West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) staff counsel, Andrew Gage. Re-establishing these rights has the potential to significantly shift how governments make decisions that affect people’s health and environment.

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Studying the fate of drugs in wastewater

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have published an interesting study that sheds light on the fate of a familiar pharmaceutical as it enters the waste stream. In work initially described last year, NIST chemists investigated probable chemical reactions involving acetaminophen when the drug is subjected to typical wastewater processing.

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Managing the coming brain drain

Within the next 10 years, 35 percent of current utility employees will be eligible for retirement. Most of these retirees are senior employees, with many years experience and a wealth of institutional and operational knowledge. Concerned about this brain drain, the AWWA Research Foundation and the Water Environment Research Foundation co-funded a study titled Succession Planning for a Vital Workforce in the Information Age.

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Post-project monitoring of BMPs/SUDS to determine performance and whole-life costs

This Water Environment Research Foundation report by LK Lampe, entitled “Post-project monitoring of BMPs/SUDS to determine performance and whole-life costs”, states that, over the past 20 years, the use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the United States has been instrumental in reducing both the detrimental impacts to receiving water quality and the exacerbated flooding caused by urbanization and storm water drainage. More recently, Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) have started to be used in the United Kingdom.

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