Tag Archives: AWWA

September 16, 1999: Champlain Water District Receives Partnership Award; 1908: Hetch Hetchy Supply Investigated

Partnership for Safe Water Past-Chair, Steve Hubbs (Corona Environmental – L) and Jim Westrick (USEPA – R), congratulate Champlain Water District representatives, James Fay and Michael Barsotti

September 16, 1999: Champlain Water District Receives Partnership Award. On this date in 1999, Champlain Water District’s Peter L. Jacob Water Treatment Facility received the Phase IV Excellence in Water Treatment Award from the Partnership for Safe Water program. This prestigious award recognizes water treatment plants that have achieved stringent water quality and operational optimization goals, as determined through a utility peer-review process. The plant was the first of 14 facilities in North America to be recognized for this level of achievement in the Partnership for Safe Water program. Champlain Water District has maintained this level of optimized performance for the past 16 years and was recognized with the 15-Year Excellence in Water Treatment Award in 2015. The utility has been an active participant in and contributor to the Partnership for Safe Water program for the past 20 years.

The Partnership for Safe Water celebrates its 20th Anniversary in 2015. Founded in 1995, the program is an alliance of AWWA, USEPA, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA), the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), and the Water Research Foundation (WRF). The program was established “for utilities, by utilities” to help utilities assess and optimize water treatment plant and distribution system operation and performance. Over its 20-year history, hundreds of treatment plants and distribution systems, serving a total population of over 100 million, have employed Partnership for Safe Water tools to improve performance beyond regulatory requirements. More information about the program, including annual water quality reports, may be accessed at www.awwa.org/partnership.

O’Shaughnessy Dam which forms the reservoir for the Hetch Hetchy water supply

September 16, 1908: Municipal Journal and Engineer article. Municipal Party Returns from Sierras. “San Francisco, Cal.-The Supervisors and other city officials have completed their trip of inspection of the Sierra watersheds which it is proposed to acquire for purposes of a municipal water supply for San Francisco and neighboring towns. The members return with the conviction that the opportunity offered to secure water rights should not be allowed to pass even though no immediate use be made of the water. The quality of the water was found to be all that was expected and the quantity sufficient to supply the bay cities for the next hundred years.”

Commentary: And we all know what happened after that. The Hetch Hetchy water supply project was completed in 1934 and water was delivered to San Francisco and its wholesale customers.

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August 30, 1895: Birth of Alvin Percy Black; 1861: Lead Poisoning

August 30, 1895: Birth of Alvin P. Black. “Born in Blossom, Texas, in 1895, Alvin earned a B.S. Degree at Southwestern University, completed graduate studies at Iowa State College and Harvard, and received his Doctorate Degree from the University of Iowa. During World War I, he served in the Chemical Warfare Service; following that, he joined the faculty of the University of Florida in 1920 as Assistant Professor of Chemistry. During his tenure there, Dr. Black earned national and international recognition in the field of water chemistry. He served as a consultant to numerous municipalities throughout the country since 1935.

Dr. Black joined the American Water Works Association in 1929 and served as both National Director and President. He also served as a member of the National Advisory Dental Research Council of the U.S. Public Health Service, and was appointed by the Surgeon General of the United States as one of the original members of the Advisory Committee on Coagulant Aids in water treatment. Dr. Black also served as a national consultant to the Office of Saline Water of the Department of the Interior. He is considered, today, a pioneer in the design of water treatment systems.

Dr. Black was the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his work and contributions to the development of systems and techniques in the field of water purification and distribution. He was one of the original founders, along with William B. Crow and Frederic A. Eidsness, of Black, Crow and Eidsness, which became part of CH2M HILL in 1977. He passed away on February 23, 1980, at the age of 84.”

Commentary: In 2009, I was honored to receive the A.P. Black Research Award from the American Water Works Association. Shortly after the award was announced, I received a phone call from John V. Miner who said Doc Black was a friend, mentor and second father to him. He was kind enough to place into my care a book entitled Collected Works of A.P. Black—1933-1966. The book of Doc Black’s papers was put together by Ed Singley (a colleague and friend of mine) and Ching-lin Chen, both students of Doc Black. John Miner asked that I keep the book for as long as I wanted to but then pass it on to another. The inscription on the flyleaf of the book reads: “To one of my sons, John Miner from Doc Black, his second Dad.”

Lead service line attached to a household water meter

August 30, 1861: New York Times headline–Fifty Prisoners in the County Jail Poisoned by Drinking Water Impregnated with Carbonate of Lead. “On Tuesday night last, about twenty of the prisoners confined in the Kings County Jail, were seized with vomiting and purging, accompanied by other symptoms, indicating that they had partaken of some deadly poison. Dr. Charles A. Van Zandt, the Jail Physician, was at once sent for by the keepers and by judicious management succeeded in saving the lives of all attacked, numbering, up to yesterday, about 50 of the inmates of the jail. When Dr. Van Zandt examined the first case, he was considerable puzzled to know in what manner the prisoners had been poisoned, but after a while he arrived at the conclusion that it must have been from the Ridgewood water, with which the jail is supplied throughout, in the common lead pipe. Fortunately he hit upon the right cause and was able to neutralize the reflects of the poison. He at once ordered the Ridgewood water to be cut off, and directed that well water — of which there is an abundance on the premises — should be used.”

July 3, 1907: AWWA Papers–Maintenance of Water Mains

July 3, 1907: Municipal Journal and Engineer article. Maintenance of Water Mains. “One of the subjects most freely discussed at the Toronto meeting of the American Water Works Association, and which was touched upon by several papers, was the matter of tuberculation and other stoppage of water mains, methods of cleaning them and of measuring the flow therein. Of the papers treating of these general subjects by far the most exhaustive was that of Nicholas S. Hill, Jr., of New York, entitled “Tuberculation and the Flow of Water in Pipes.” In his introduction the author says: “I wonder for how long a time water works engineers and superintendents will be willing to bury their distribution systems under four feet of earth and leave them to rust, corrode, fill up and putrefy, without means of access for inspection or cleaning.” He claims that the cost need not stand in the way of the remedy of these conditions, and that habit alone is to blame for them.

Discussing first the deposits, he says: “The various deposits which lessen the carrying capacity of water pipes and conduits may be divided into three classes: (1) Incrustations, commonly known as tuberculation, on unprotected or imperfectly protected iron pipes. (2) Deposits or growth on the inner surface of iron pipes whether protected or unprotected; the nature of the deposits depending upon the chemical constituents or biology of the water or both. (3) Accumulation of debris and mud in inverts, hollows and dead ends.” The author does not pretend to solve the disputed question as to what tubercles are, but refers to the various chemists and others who have endeavored to determine their nature, including Dr. J. C. Brown and Mr. George C. Whipple. There seems to be little question, however, that the tubercles are dependent upon iron for their existence and do not occur where there are no points of contact between iron and water.”

Commentary: On the whole, this paper is a pretty sophisticated discussion of water chemistry and the corrosion of water mains. It would be many decades before the tubercles would be identified as complex structures of iron oxides and hydroxides. A later discussion in the paper about biological growths in water mains is particularly valuable. It should be recalled that this article was published more than one year before the introduction of chlorine for disinfection purposes at Boonton Reservoir by Dr. John L. Leal. After chlorination became widespread, the flora and fauna of distribution systems changed dramatically.

June 13, 1912: AWWA Grows

June 13, 1912: Municipal Journal editorial. The American Water Works Association. “This association has experienced a growth during the past few years which is extremely gratifying to the old members and officers, and this year, its thirty-second, finds it with only a few short of one thousand. Ten years ago the membership was 329; two years later it had increased by 130, and the growth in numbers continued until in 1910 it had reached 946. In that year more than 100 were lost by a more stringent enforcement of the rule requiring dropping for continued non-payment of dues and by resignations, and the same was true to a less extent last year; but the addition of more than 200 new members during these two years has resulted in a net increase to 975.

More commendable than growth in numbers has been the higher standing which the society has taken as an organization of professional technical men. Last week several hundred of such men attended the convention, and during the four days of this, eight sessions were devoted to discussing water works matters; two trips were taken to pumping and water purification plants, and only one was for pleasure alone. This indicates a seriousness of purpose comparing well with that to be found at the conventions of any of the national technical societies. Even more significant of the spirit of the members is the fact that fully one-half of the time of the business meetings was devoted to general discussions in which a large percentage of those present took part.”

Commentary: AWWA had a long way to go to achieve the professional reputation it experiences today. In the early days, it was little more than a social club. Yes, it was composed entirely of men back then. They did not know what they were missing by ignoring the expertise and enthusiasm of half of the population.

April 12, 1958: Death of Edward Bartow

April 12, 1958: Death of Edward Bartow. “Edward Bartow (1870–1958) was an American chemist and an expert in the field of sanitary chemistry. His career extended from 1897 to 1958 and he is best known for his work in drinking water purification and wastewater treatment. He was well known as an educator, and his many students went on to leadership positions in the fields of sanitary chemistry and engineering….

He began his career as an instructor of chemistry at Williams College about 1896. His first academic appointment was as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Kansas. He taught there from 1897 to 1905. While in Kansas, he worked with the U.S. Geological Survey analyzing the waters of southeastern part of the state.

His next position was as Director of the Illinois State Water Survey. He also held the title of professor of sanitary chemistry at the University of Illinois from 1905 to 1920. He led efforts to eliminate typhoid fever by developing treatment methodologies for water purification. In 1914, he began the first large-scale investigations of the new sewage treatment process called activated sludge. A bronze plaque was placed on the grounds of the Champaign-Urbana Sanitary District to commemorate the work on this process done by Bartow and his colleagues. The Illinois State Water Survey became well known for producing high quality work and the fourteen volumes of bulletins and reports published during his tenure are classics in the field of sanitary chemistry and engineering.

From 1920 until his retirement in 1940, he was professor of chemistry at the University of Iowa. He significantly enhanced the department and when he left, the number of PhD degrees awarded totaled 240 in chemistry and chemical engineering….

Bartow received many honors including an honorary D.Sc. from Williams College in 1923. Several societies honored him with life memberships. In 1971, he was inducted into the American Water Works Association Water Industry Hall of Fame.”

Commentary: This posting is from another one of the biographies of inductees into the Water Industry Hall of Fame that I wrote for Wikipedia.

April 3, 1986: Death of Wendell R. LaDue

April 3, 1986: Death of Wendell R. LaDue. Wendell R. LaDue was a water supply visionary who made many improvements to the water supply for Akron, Ohio. He was born in Mt. Pleasant, Ohio on October 1, 1894. He earned his BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1918. Shortly afterwards, he joined the staff of the Akron Waterworks. “While serving as its manager, LaDue developed a watershed plan to insure adequate clean water supply. The plan included purchasing property along the Cuyahoga River and building a series of reservoirs. In 1932, the City of Akron began purchasing property along the Cuyahoga River in Geauga County and removing homes and farms to protect the watershed. LaDue oversaw the construction of the 695 acres Rockwell Lake, the 395 acres East Branch in 1938, and the 1,477 acres Akron City Reservoir, now called LaDue Reservoir, in 1961. The capacity of the three reservoirs is 10.5 billion gallons.

In 1947, LaDue founded the Akron-Canton Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In honor of his contributions, the Wendell R. LaDue Civil Engineer Award is awarded each year by the ASCE to a member who has promoted professionalism and the advancement of the civil engineering profession. In 1946 and 1947, LaDue was the president of the American Water Works Association. Since 2003, several Wendell R. LaDue Utility Safety Awards are presented by the AWWA to recognize distinguished water utility safety programs.

LaDue retired from the City of Akron in 1963, and began teaching at the University of Akron where he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Engineering Degree.”

March 29, 1881: AWWA Founded

March 29, 1881: AWWA founded. “On March 29, 1881, in Engineers’ Hall on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., 22 men representing water utilities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee founded the American Water Works Association.

They adopted a constitution that stated the purpose of the association as being “for the exchange of information pertaining to the management of water-works, for the mutual advancement of consumers and water companies, and for the purpose of securing economy and uniformity in the operations of water-works.”

On Jan. 1, 1976, AWWA filed Articles of Incorporation in Illinois that reframed AWWA’s purpose as follows:

‘The purpose for which the Association is formed is to promote public health, safety, and welfare through the improvement of the quality and quantity of water delivered to the public and the development and furtherance of understanding of the problems relating thereto by:

  • Advancing the knowledge of the design, construction, operation, water treatment and management of water utilities and developing standards for procedures, equipment and materials used by public water supply systems;
  • Advancing the knowledge of the problems involved in the development of resources, production and distribution of safe and adequate water supplies;
  • Educating the public on the problems of water supply and promoting a spirit of cooperation between consumers and suppliers in solving these problems; and
  • Conducting research to determine the causes of problems of providing a safe and adequate water supply and proposing solutions thereto in an effort to improve the quality and quantity of the water supply provided to the public.’

The history of AWWA is the history of the people who have committed themselves to achieving the purpose set forth more than a century ago, now simply stated as to be The Authoritative Resource on Safe Water.”