Water professionals everywhere — agency executives, consultants, environmentalists — are collaborating to develop and deliver sustainable solutions that address the world's most pressing water challenges.
The recent Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition Conference (WEFTEC) showcased these capabilities and the industry’s willingness to enact positive change.
Reflecting on the dynamic dialogues and learning exchanges at this year’s WEFTEC, aging infrastructure, changing climates, population growth, and urbanization are continuing to force us to critically reexamine our infrastructure and what can be done today through innovation and deploying advanced technologies to create a more sustainable future. For example, smart technologies are being used to collect data in real time on water quality and system performance, ultimately improving efficiency and early-detection of issues.
As explored during many thought-provoking dialogues at WEFTEC, ensuring sustainability must be viewed through the wider lens of recovering resources and building efficiencies while minimizing waste. Extending even further, as we look to transition to a circular economy, we must manage both municipal and industrial wastewater with a model of reduce-reuse-recycle and eliminating waste. In doing so, we will not only achieve our sustainability ambitions but will be able to treat and reuse wastewater more effectively to achieve the inherent environmental and economic benefits. A case in point: Through advanced treatment technologies, we are removing emerging contaminants, like PFAS and microplastics, while also finding ways to reuse wastewater byproducts.
I also came away from WEFTEC energized by the strategies to develop cultures of diversity, equity and inclusion and creating an equitable workforce throughout the water sector and our communities. This is imperative to building healthier communities and a more just society.
And finally, I'm also inspired by how so many of my water colleagues, especially those at TYLin and Greeley and Hansen, A TYLin Company, are answering the water industry’s call to action. Through innovative solutions, we're addressing the holistic needs of our communities throughout the Americas and providing equitable access to clean, safe and affordable water service. For example, as showcased at WEFTEC, we are:
- Developing tomorrow’s water leaders through our participation in the WEFTEC Community Service Project to transform drainage and flooding issues at the O. A. Thorp Scholastic Academy into a beautiful green space;
- Applying cutting-edge membrane bioreactor technology in water recycling;
- Implementing effective climate planning strategies to combat extreme weather, water threats and integrate social equity;
- Deploying innovative solutions in industrial water to move from a linear economy to a circular economy where we recover resources for reuse while protecting the environment;
- Utilizing data technology to meet lead and copper rule requirements and implementing an effective programmatic process to get the lead out of our communities’ water supply; and
- Creating equitable outcomes while maximizing infrastructure investment to transform our communities.
But this need for our industry to act doesn’t stop at WEFTEC.
October 19 is “Imagine a Day Without Water, a National Day of Action,” and it serves as a clear reminder about the need for people and organizations across North America to unite — and even “double down” — in our efforts to educate communities about our water challenges and advocate for the much needed investments in our water infrastructure.
It doesn’t take much time to realize the significant role water plays in many of our daily activities. But many of our nation’s water systems are more than a century old and have been deteriorating for years as the result of chronic underinvestment. This reality, combined with disruptive climate change, have kept over two million Americans from accessing safe and reliable drinking water and wastewater services. These challenges are most acute for underserved communities including Black, Indigenous and communities of color as well as low-income communities. We must do better.
I know a better future is possible. Public support for federal investment in water infrastructure remains high as was demonstrated by the passage and implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the United States. Investments like this in water infrastructure also offer an opportunity for economic growth. Investing more in water infrastructure will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the next few decades alone.
Water is the lifeline of our communities and as professionals, we are passionate about developing equitable and environmentally responsible solutions that provide safe and affordable water for healthier communities.
“Imagine a Day Without Water” is a reminder about the challenges we face and that it’s up to us to heed this call to action to affect the changes that will deliver untold benefits for future generations in the years ahead.
With nearly 25 years of expertise in the water industry, Mike is a visionary leader committed to client service and developing innovative solutions that address the water, wastewater, and stormwater challenges of the communities we serve.
Mike’s dedication and passion to enhance the quality of our planet’s most precious resource are the driving forces behind his collaborative efforts to develop design solutions that revolutionize water infrastructure and ensure public health and safety. Throughout his career, he has led the implementation of award-winning projects that significantly improve the urban environment.
His expertise and contributions have earned him numerous leadership roles in the water sector, including at the New Jersey Water Environment Association, New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers, Water Environment Federation, and American Water Works Association. Through these involvements and as the leader of our water experts, Mike advances innovation and drives positive change for our clients in the water industry.