News Briefs: Report Says, 'Expect More Job Openings in Wastewater Infrastructure'

This week, a new report predicts infrastructure job growth, a wastewater plant heats public restrooms and American Water focuses on wastewater.
News Briefs: Report Says, 'Expect More Job Openings in Wastewater Infrastructure'

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Infrastructure jobs are a growing opportunity — and a growing problem — according to a new report from the Brookings Institute. In 2012, 14.2 million workers were employed in infrastructure jobs across the country, including everything from civil engineers to electricians to wastewater plant operators. That number is anticipated to grow by 9.1 percent in the next decade, partly because of the need to replace 2.7 million workers who will be retiring or shifting jobs and partly because the replacement of aging infrastructure will require a larger workforce.

“The era of cheap water is over,” says Ben Grumbles, president of the U.S. Water Alliance in an article at ValueWalk.com. “Water infrastructure is … aging and failing. It is threatening national competiveness. A world-class economy needs world-class infrastructure.”

According to the report, 77 percent of infrastructure workers are involved in operations compared to 15 percent in construction, and the largest concentration of infrastructure jobs occurs in metropolitan areas. The report concludes that federal infrastructure investment needs to occur at all levels instead of focusing primarily on construction.

“Too often, calls for infrastructure investment only focus on the jobs involved at the beginning of the project’s lifestyle,” reads the report. “Policymakers need to view the costs and benefits of designing, constructing, operating and governing infrastructure over several decades, which necessarily involves millions of workers.”

Get the full report here.

Source: ValueWalk

Wastewater Energy Heats Public Restrooms

A new public restroom in Rockland, Maine, will be heated for free, thanks to the Rockland wastewater treatment plant. Heat created as a byproduct of plant processes will be used to warm the shelter through in-floor heating. The heat pump system will also be used for cooling in the summer.

“Right now, we are throwing that heat away,” says Terry Pinto, director of the WWTP in a Free Press Online article. “It won’t cost any money to heat (the restrooms).”

According to the article, the value of available heat from the plant is about $1.9 million, the equivalent of 7,500 barrels of oil. Pinto says the plant could potentially cool and heat every building on Main Street.

Source: The Free Press 

American Water Expands Into Wastewater

American Water, which is predominantly focused on water utilities, hopes to expand its wastewater operations and secure additional military contracts. Susan Story, the company’s new CEO, says that although wastewater services make up just 4 percent of the company’s current holdings, she’s hoping that number will soon increase.

“We have a focus, relatively new, on targeting wastewater,” she says in a Bloomberg article. “Of the 3.2 million metered customers we have, 3.1 million are water and only about 120,000 are wastewater. Most people just assume we have wastewater services where we serve water.

American Water currently operates on 10 military bases and won $140 million in capital project contracts last year, “including a wastewater treatment plant that’s one of the largest projects we’ve done,” Story says.

Source: Bloomberg

Clearfield Municipal Authority Breaks Ground on $36 Million Plant

Officials from the Clearfield Municipal Authority in Clearfield, Pa., broke ground on a $36 million wastewater treatment plant, which will meet Chesapeake Bay nutrient discharge regulations and treat excess stormwater. The new plant, which will replace an aging treatment facility, will achieve 85 percent nutrient removal.

In a Progress News article, C. Alan Walker, secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, praised the authority for building a plant with extra capacity, which he believes will benefit the community for generations to come.

The decision to build the plant was based on recommendations from engineers that the debt service payments would cost less than purchasing nutrient credits. The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority is providing $16 million in low-interest loans along with a $3.9 million grant, and the Department of Community and Economic Development is providing $3.5 million in grant funding. Clearfield Municipal Authority will supply the remaining $12.3 million

Source: The Progress News 



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