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Sustainable Infrastructure for Water Programs

Graphic stating Sustaining Our Nation's Water Infrastructure showing a flowing stream on the top half, followed by a small girl drinking from a water fountain on the lower left and a construction crew digging a trench and laying pipe in the lower right

Quarterly Conference Call on Asset Management

EPA Region 7 holds a quarterly conference call with its state partners on asset management developments and implementation. This call is open to other federal and state agencies, water sector organizations, water industry professionals, and water and wastewater operators and decision makers.

The next call is 10:00-11:00 a.m. CDT on March 13, 2015.

If you are not already on the email list of participants, you can register here to get the call-in number and join the email list.

Water infrastructure includes drinking water and wastewater treatment plants, drinking water distribution systems and sewer lines. Built to provide the public with access to water and sanitation, much of the water infrastructure in the U.S. was installed more than 30 years ago and is in need of replacement or rehabilitation.

New investments of capital are needed to address this need. Additionally, water is becoming more expensive to process. In many places, as much as one-third of a municipality's energy costs are for water and wastewater treatment, and energy costs are expected to rise by 20 percent in the next 15 years due to population growth and more stringent regulations of water and air quality. Since most electricity used to power water treatment plants in the Midwest comes from coal-fired power plants, air quality, climate change, and water quality and quantity are inextricably linked.

Learn more about EPA's National Sustainable Infrastructure Programs

Region 7's Sustainable Water Infrastructure Program

EPA Region 7 is providing support to both rural and urban communities to identify and find solutions to water infrastructure challenges as communities work toward sustainability. To do so, we have created partnerships and special initiatives to educate, provide financial or technical support, and build capacity across the Region.

Energy Management at Water and Wastewater Utilities

Providing drinking water and wastewater service to citizens requires energy, and a lot of it. More and more utilities are realizing that a systematic approach for managing the full range of energy challenges is the best way to ensure that these issues are addressed on an ongoing basis to reduce climate impacts, save money, and remain sustainable.

Working closely with a number of utilities and other organizations, EPA's Office of Water developed a guide called Ensuring a Sustainable Future: An Energy Management Guidebook for Wastewater and Water Utilities - January 2008 (PDF) (113 pp, 1.17MB, About PDF) that provides a systematic approach to reducing energy consumption and energy costs. Then in July 2008, EPA Region 7 offered an introductory workshop to regional water utilities and developed a special initiative on energy management.

Effective Utility Management: A Primer for Water and Wastewater Utilities - June 2008 (PDF) (52 pp, 3.54MB, About PDF)

Missouri Water Utilities Partnership - Energy Management Initiative for Public Wastewater and Drinking Water Utilities

Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure includes vegetated swales, rain gardens, porous pavement, and rain barrels to capture or divert stormwater, which would otherwise go directly into sewer systems, and it uses nature's own mechanisms for treatment. Region 7 has provided workshops, presentations and technical assistance on green infrastructure to various audiences.

Workshop: Meeting the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Challenges of Sustaining Green Infrastructure - September 2009

Asset Management

Asset management is a term for managing infrastructure capital assets to minimize the total cost of owning and operating them, while delivering the services customers desire. It involves long-range planning, life-cycle costing, proactive operation and maintenance, and development of capital replacement plans based on cost-benefit analyses. As part of EPA's Sustainable Infrastructure Program, Region 7 works with partner organizations to host and co-sponsor training sessions on the use of asset management tools, and facilitate discussions on best practices in advanced asset management.

Learn more about Asset Management

Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center

The Center of Urban Studies at Wichita State University operates the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) that serves Region 7 communities. Operated under a grant from EPA, the EFC aims to help regulated parties find ways to finance their environmental protection and public health responsibilities. Among its other objectives, the EFC is available to provide educational and technical expertise to help maximize available water resources and develop long-term, cost-effective water systems.

Learn more about the Wichita State University EFC

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