Corporate water disclosure guidelines launched by UN

Via: GLOBE-Net, August 30, 2012

‘Water should be more highly valued to reflect its worth and reduce its waste.’

Those words by Paul Bulcke, chief executive officer at Nestle SA (NESN), the world’s biggest food company, at a World Water Week seminar in Stockholm this week, reflect growing corporate awareness of the importance of water to business survival.
‘If something isn’t given a value, people tend to waste it,’ Bulcke said . ‘Water is our most useful resource but those using it often don’t even cover the costs of its infrastructure.’
To give greater awareness of the importance of water, the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate initiative released its Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines – the first ever common approach to corporate water disclosure.

The release of the Guidelines took place at the CEO Water Mandate’s ninth working conference during World Water Week in Stockholm.

The UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate initiative also announced the launch of a global Water Action Hub – the world’s first on-line platform to unite companies, governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders on a range of critical water projects in specific river basins around the planet.
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AWWA announces ACE12 green ribbon recipients

Via: Environmental Expert

May 22, 2012

DENVER, CO — The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has announced the recipients of its 2012 Green Ribbon Award.  Recipients will be designated with a green ribbon on their exhibit booth during AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE12) at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, June 10-14.

Criteria for the award included either an ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems certification, or a combination of environmental programs, policies and initiatives.  Based on the criteria, recipients were determined by AWWA’s Manufacturers/Associates Council.

Recipients of the 2012 Green Ribbon Award are: ADS LLC; Akzo Nobel – International Paints; AMCO Clear®: A Division of GFS Chemicals, Inc.; Capstone Metering LLC; Clarion Lubricants; Data Flow Systems; EBAA Iron, Inc.; Fairmount Water Solutions; Ford Meter Box Company Inc.; GF Piping Systems; HOBAS PIPE USA; Kruger Inc.; Layne Christensen Company; Mitsubishi Electric; Monroe Environmental; Motion Computing; Mueller Co.; MWH Constructors, Inc.; Neptune Technology Group Inc.; NO-DES, Inc.; NSF International; Orica Watercare Inc.;  PAX Water Technologies; Performance Pipe, a division of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LPlive;  POLLUTION EQUIPMENT NEWS / Rimbach Publishing Inc.; PSI/Pikotek; Sigelock Systems, LLC; Tetra Tech; The Chlorine Institute and Trojan Technologies.

For more information about ACE12 and a full list of exhibitors, please visit

OBJ: US Clean-tech Firm Opens Ottawa Office

An American water treatment technology firm says it plans to establish its Canadian presence by opening an Ottawa office and hiring 18 employees over the next three years.

via: Ottawa Business Journal, February 1, 2012

The local office of Koester Environmental Ltd. will be headed by Kevin Bloodworth, who was previously CEO of Ottawa-based Upcom.

“Our goal within 36 months is to expand beyond our environmental technology sales, maintenance and operation services,” Mr. Bloodworth stated.

The New York State-based firm plans to add original equipment manufacturing services to its offering.

Koester represents more than 30 manufacturers of water and wastewater treatment equipment, and handles their marketing, sales, service and maintenance in Ontario, New York and New Jersey.

The company has clients in several sectors, including first nation communities, oil and gas, mining and municipal government. Its business model takes a client from a product’s design, to systems installation and ongoing maintenance.

Before opening its Ottawa location, the company worked in Canada on a contractual basis. The company has been named a finalist for a 2012 Bootstrap Award by local business incubator Exploriem.

Scientific American: How the “Internet of Things” Is Turning Cities Into Living Organisms

When city services can autonomously go online and digest information from the cloud, they can reach a level of performance never before seen.

December 6, 2011

By Christopher Mims

When city services can autonomously go online and digest information from the cloud, they can reach a level of performance never before seen. First up, water systems that automatically know when it will rain and react accordingly.

With a little help from what’s called the Internet of Things, engineers are transforming cities from passive conduits for water into dynamic systems that store and manage it like the tissues of desert animals. By using the Internet to connect real-world sensors and control mechanisms to cloud-based control systems that can pull in streams from any other data source, including weather reports, these efforts enable conservation and money-saving measures that would have been impossible without this virtual nervous system.

Marcus Quigley, principal water engineer at the infrastructure engineering firm Geosyntec, has been tackling this problem using hardware from Internet of Things company ioBridge, whose Internet-connected sensors have been used in everything from location-aware home automation to tide gauges that tweet.

It may sound like a trivial problem, but the EPA estimates that the U.S. has $13 billion invested in wastewater infrastructure alone. More importantly, the majority of America’s largest cities–more than 700 in all–dump millions of gallons of raw sewage into our waterways every time it rains, because their sewer and stormwater systems were designed a century ago.

These overwhelmed cities include New York City, Detroit, Boston, Portland, St. Louis, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, many other cities, mostly in the Rust Belt and New England. With the notable exception of Los Angeles, almost every major urban center in the U.S. is in need of a way to soak up rainstorms rather than dump them straight down the drain in a desperate attempt to prevent flooding.

That’s where “high performance” infrastructure–infrastructure that can react to its environment like a living thing–comes in.

“The conventional way to build a city is you build what you want, and then you get rid of water as quickly as possible,” says Quigley. Historically, that’s meant massive projects to redirect all the water sluicing down impermeable streets and concrete and into the Moria-like recesses of a city’s sewer system. Green infrastructure tries to control runoff on-site, rather than sending it below, through the use of “bioretention cells” and rain gardens, which absorb and filter the water into collections of plants and artificial wetlands.

High-performance green infrastructure takes things a step further, by anticipating demand for water storage and preparing a system accordingly. For example, in seven projects deployed in St. Louis and one in New Bern, North Carolina, Geosyntec integrated a building’s rainwater catchment system with software that uses weather predictions from the Internet to know when a basin should be partly emptied to accommodate incoming stormwater.

Many more projects of this kind are on the way, including installations in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

“Instead of trying to use what I consider sub-optimal passive systems to control these … components of the urban environment, what we’re doing is making decisions in real time to achieve specific environmental goals,” says Quigley.

Dynamic control of a rainwater catchment allows these basins to be used to their maximum without fear that they’ll be overwhelmed by weather events. Giving building planners the assurance that they’ll always have access to a free water supply means they can actually use it. And putting these on enough buildings could go a long way to solving the problem of combined sewer and stormwater systems being overwhelmed when it rains.

It’s early days for these kinds of systems, and managing runoff is just one of the applications they could be put to use.

“The big picture is that we are able to take any piece of information that is Internet-accessible, any feed, and integrate it into the logic of how we operate these components of our city,” says Quigley.

Geosyntec’s cloud-based infrastructure is just as important as the physical infrastructure it puts into place on-site. Led by software developer Alex Bedig, the company has created a general-purpose platform for handling all the relevant inputs, sending instructions to valves and other control points, and never, ever failing in an emergency.

Taken together, these physical and virtual systems are explicitly biomimetic, says Quigley.

“The intent of an active system is to take the built environment and have it perform as if it were natural. We’re fundamentally saying that passive systems are unable to do that in an optimal way. In many cases they are unable to do it at all.”

It’s a story we’ve heard in the energy industry for years–hence the notion that a dynamically managed “smart grid” is not only helpful, but absolutely essential for integrating our power-generating infrastructure with the natural world through renewables. The smart grid extends all the way down to the level of the individual through demand management for energy conservation, but these principles have yet to show up on the same scale in the management of physical resources like water.

Humanity has a sorry habit of neglecting its waste stream, whether its the 99% of precious rare earth elements we fail to recycle or the complete absence of curbside composting from most American cities. The handy thing about water is that, through evaporation, it recycles itself. Now all we have to do is make the best use of it we can while it’s coursing through our cities.

via: Fast Company


Publications and Projects by Geosyntec:

Reuters: New Waterless Fracking Method Avoids Pollution Problems, But Drillers Slow to Embrace It

Via: @circleofblue

In the debate over hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, two facts are beyond dispute: huge amounts of water are used to break up gas-bearing rock deep underground and huge amounts of polluted water are returned to the surface after the process is complete.

Tainted with chemicals, salts and even mild radioactivity, such water, when mishandled, has damaged the environment and threatened drinking water, helping fuel heated debate over whether gas drilling is worth its risk to drinking water, rivers and streams.

Now, an emerging technology developed in Canada does away with the need for water. Instead, it relies on a thick gel made from propane, a widely available gas used by anyone who has fired up a backyard barbecue.

Called liquefied propane gas (LPG) fracturing, or simply ”gas fracking”, the waterless method was developed by a small Canadian energy company, GasFrac.

Still awaiting a patent in the US, the technique has been used about 1000 times since 2008, mainly in gas wells in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and New Brunswick and a smaller handful of test wells in Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico, according to GasFrac chief technology officer Robert Lestz.

Like water, propane gel is pumped into deep shale formations 1600 metres or more underground, creating immense pressure that cracks rocks to free trapped natural gas bubbles.

Like water, the gel also carries small particles of sand or man-made material – known as proppant – that are forced into cracks to hold them open so the gas can flow out.

Unlike water, the gel does a kind of disappearing act underground. It reverts to vapour due to pressure and heat, then returns to the surface – along with the natural gas – for collection, possible reuse and ultimate resale. And also unlike water, propane does not carry back to the surface drilling chemicals, ancient seabed salts and underground radioactivity. ”We leave the nasties in the ground, where they belong,” Mr Lestz said.

David Burnett, a professor of petroleum engineering at Texas A&M University, said fracking with propane made sense. ”From a reservoir engineering perspective, there is no reason this would not be effective,” he said.

Burnett said using gas instead of water can serve two ends—protecting the environment and reducing costs to the drilling industry of handling and disposing of tainted water.

But he said propane fracturing is “not a game changer,” at least not yet.

“This is a very conservative industry,” Burnett said. “Engineers want to see what someone else did first, and they want the data.” Most companies that have tried the GasFrac technique have not published data publicly, he said, possibly out of fear of tipping off potential competitors to its benefits.

Read more:

G&M: B.C. natives ask court to force Alcan to release water into Nechako River

VANCOUVER— Globe and Mail, Sep. 29, 2011

Two native bands in northern British Columbia are going to court in an effort to force Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. to release more water into the Nechako River, where sturgeon and salmon are suffering because of altered flows.

In a notice of a civil claim filed Thursday in the B.C. Supreme Court, the Saik’uz and Stellate’en bands state that the Kenney Dam has damaged the environment by diverting water into a massive reservoir system that powers Alcan’s aluminum smelter, in Kitimat.

The bands claim the dam, which was built in 1952 about 150 kilometres southwest of Prince George, has caused a decline in salmon, trout and sturgeon stocks, all of which native people have long relied on in traditional fisheries.

It says there has been a loss of spawning habitat, adverse fish impacts from temperature changes to the water, a disruption of natural flows, erosion of riverbanks, sedimentation problems and a loss of beaver, muskrat and other wildlife along the river corridor.

The notice of claim states that white sturgeon in the Nechako are making “gradual progress toward extinction,” because the dam has disrupted their ability to spawn successfully.

David Luggi, chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and a member of the Stellate’en band, said the Kenney Dam has been an issue for his people for decades, and they have grown tired of waiting for a remedy.

“We’ve worked hard to reach some sort of resolution with Alcan, but it’s just not happening,” Mr. Luggi said shortly after the claim was filed Thursday.

“There have been legal and political skirmishes over the years, all aimed at trying to bring water levels up to help restore sturgeon and to accommodate the migratory fish. But all of that has been to no avail. Nothing has changed. So after 60 years it seems like we are left with only this alternative,” he said.

In 1997, the B.C. government and Alcan agreed to provide $50-million each to build a cold-water release facility at the Kenney Dam that would have partly addressed the complaints about inadequate flows in the Nechako River. In 2005, then-premier Gordon Campbell announced the facility would be built. But nothing ever came of it, and earlier this month an official from the Department of Fisheries testified at the Cohen Commission the proposed facility wasn’t going ahead.

Mr. Luggi said he hopes the court case will force Alcan to work with the bands to come up with a plan to revive the Nechako River, which is a major tributary of the Fraser.

The notice of claim asks the court to issue an injunction restraining Alcan from conducting its operations at the Kenney Dam and ordering the company “to release waters into the Nechako River” in sufficient quantities to abate the damage being done.

After diverting water from the Nechako, drying up the riverbed immediately below Kenney Dam, Rio Tinto Alcan returns some of the flow to the system through the Skins Lake Spillway, 80 kilometres to the west. Most of the water, however, is directed to the Kemano power complex farther to the west, near Kitimat.

Mr. Luggi acknowledged that it would be costly to Alcan if the company was required to release more water into the Nechako, because that water wouldn’t be available to generate power at Kemano.

Bryan Tucker, a spokesman for Rio Tinto Alcan, said in an e-mail the company had not yet been served with the civil claim. “We’ll take the opportunity to examine the claim once we receive it,” he wrote. “But as the matter is before the court we will not comment further.”


Aquatic Informatics Inc. launches AQUARIUS system

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO — (Marketwire) — 09/16/11 — Aquatic Informatics Inc., a global leader in providing innovative software solutions for water data management and analysis, announced the successful implementation and launch of the AQUARIUS system today at the Water Survey of Canada‘s Thunder Bay office in Ontario, Canada. After a thorough testing period, Thunder Bay is the first of the organization’s 28 offices to switch its complete real-time operations to the AQUARIUS system.
The deployment of AQUARIUS will increase the agency’s efficiency in acquiring, processing, and publishing hydrometric data from its entire national monitoring network. The innovative AQUARIUS system will also provide business productivity tools for Water Survey’s hydrologists and field technicians allowing them to work with larger volumes of data with greater ease.

‘Capabilities such as workflow automation and quick and easy access to a new centralized data storage center are but two of the new benefits that the AQUARIUS system brings to Canada’s largest water agency,’ states Edward Quilty, Founder and CEO of Aquatic Informatics.
Aquatic Informatics’ Australian partner, Greenspan, developed the environmental telemetry solution EnviroSCADA. The large-scale deployment of the AQUARIUS system is integrated with their automated data acquisition system for over 2400 of Water Survey’s continuous water monitoring stations across Canada.

Mark Wolf, Principal Consultant of Greenspan, added that ‘our EnviroSCADA framework leverages the unmatched power, flexibility, and robustness of ClearSCADA, one of the most widely used Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems in the world.’ The data that is collected by EnviroSCADA is then made available through AQUARIUS to over 200 Water Survey technicians and scientists in real-time across Canada.

The Regina Water Survey office will be the next in line to roll out AQUARIUS where its real-time data analysis solutions will be put to through the rigors during the next flood season. From there AQUARIUS will be rolled out to the remaining offices throughout the remainder of 2011.

About Aquatic Informatics Inc.
Aquatic Informatics provides software solutions that address critical water data management and analysis challenges for the rapidly growing environmental monitoring industry. Aquatic Informatics is focused on providing solutions to a range of different customer groups including federal, state/provincial or local government departments, hydropower operators, mining companies, academic groups and consulting organizations, who collect, manage and process large volumes of water quality or quantity data. For more information about Aquatic Informatics, go to

Aquatic Informatics Inc.
Susan Kirk
Marketing Communications