NEW Brand, New Attitude
The Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District (GBMSD) has adopted a new brand: NEW Water. GBMSD has proudly served NE Wisconsin for more than 80 years, serving the mission of promoting public health and welfare through the collection, treatment, and reclamation of wastewater. The organization will continue to be known as the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District legally, and will continue to provide the same quality water treatment service customers have come to expect. This new brand complements a new attitude of viewing materials received as a resource to be recovered, rather than a waste with which to dispose. Further, NEW Water will be working closely with the greater NE Wisconsin community toward a common goal of clean water, an essential part of the quality of life in the watershed area. Clean water from wastewater was one of the greatest innovations of the 20th century. NEW Water looks forward to Watershed Conservation & Stewardship being its signature contribution to the 21st century.
"The Water Resources Utility of the Future: A Blueprint for Action."
NEW Water Executive Director Tom Sigmund will be the keynote speaker at the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) conference in February. His presentation is entitled "Utility of the Future: From Blueprint to Advocacy," a vision which includes utilities serving as resource managers rather than disposers of waste. Sigmund served as the chair of the Water Resources Utility of the Future Task Force, which in conjunction with the Water Environment Federation and Water Environment Research Foundation, co-sponsored the "Water Resources Utility of the Future Document", which can be found here.
NEW Water's Tracy Valenta Nets Chamber's Top Honor
Tracy Valenta has been named "Young Professional of the Year" by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Valenta was honored in a ceremony held at the KI Convention Center on January 24. As NEW Water's Water Resources Specialist for the past nine years, Valenta has grown the Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Program and piloted the Bay Guardian workboat collecting and monitoring water samples from the bay. During her tenure, she has collected over five million pieces of data, which are shared with the Brown County Department of Health for public safety, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin's Sea Grant Institute, and the Universities of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay.
Valenta is a credential Merchant Marine Captain through the U.S. Coast Guard, which was a rigorous five-year process in the making. She is one of only a handful of women Merchant Marine Captains on both the Green Bay and Great Lakes. She serves on the Board of the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance, and is a member of the Northeast Wisocnsin Science and Technical Advisory Committee, the American Statistical Association, American Water Resources Association, International Association for Great Lakes Research, National Water Quality Monitoring Network, and Water Environment Federation. Valenta has represented NEW Water in numerous presentations she has given at schools and conferences both locally and nationally, and she is well respected among her peers of water chemists and biologists. This award signifies big kudos not only for Valenta, but also to all of her colleagues at NEW Water whose efforts protect the community's precious aquatic resources.
Reason to Celebrate: NEW Water Safety Record
Safety first is a focus with all NEW Water operations, says Jeremy Klingbeil, Safety & Security Coordinator. Treating 38 million gallons of water each day requires multiple pieces of high-tech, high-voltage machinery and equipment - including more than 1,000 pumps, 2,000 motors, 300 flow meters, 70 motor control centers, 13 electrical sub-stations, buildings and grounds on two facilities (with nearly two miles of underground tunnels), and 23 lift and meter stations throughout a 285-square mile service area. In this kind of environment, the opportunity for injury is ever-present. Stats have been compiled for 2012 and NEW Water is pleased to report that the recordable incident rate (RIR) is 2.3 for the 2012 year. This rate is the number of injuries requiring medical attention outside of first aid. In four years, the organization has gone from 7.7 RIR to 2.3 RIR. "We're below the industry average of 5.3 RIR, but we still have work to do -- our goal is no injuries," Klingbeil says. "These results are very positive and reflect our attitude of putting safety first in all we do."
Clean Water Funds: NEW Water Lobbies to Save Money for Ratepayers
In continuing efforts to save NEW Water ratepayers dollars wherever possible, Executive Director Tom Sigmund has asked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to restore Clean Water Funds to the state budget. "NEW Water faces significant costs coming from capital improvements projects, aging infrastructure, need for increased capacity, and increased environmental regulations," Sigmund says. "These Clean Water Fund Program loans are vital to saving funds for our local businesses and communities." Restoration of these funds could save NEW Water customers an estimated $629,000 per year, and a potential $12.3 million over the course of the loan. NEW Water also sent a template letter to its stakeholders and customers, who were encouraged to also ask the Governor to restore the funds.
Einstein Project Science Fair Nets More than 5,000 Visitors
Science buffs and aficionados stepped out to visit the NEW Water booth at the Einstein Science Fair at the Shopko Hall January 12, which bustled with more than 5,000 visitors. NEW Water staff created water filters with children and adults alike, demonstrating in small-scale how water would filter through the layers of the earth, and giving a nod to what NEW Water does every day to the tune of 38 million gallons. The Einstein Project provides affordable and engaging science materials and teacher training to advance science knowledge, skill, and an enthusiasm for learning. NEW Water proudly supports the Ecosystems Unit, and offers talks at Green Bay area schools on water quality issues. NEW Water Operator Trainer Scott Thompson took a time-lapse video of the organization's booth at the Fair, which can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/57295954
NEW Water is currently undergoing a Rate Methodology study to address needs for continued and future financial sustainability and environmental stewardship. The current rate methodology has remained unchanged for nearly 30 years. A Rate Methodology Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) comprised of customers and internal staff has been working with the consulting firm Red Oak, who has been leading the process and sharing expertise gained through similar processes across the nation. Red Oak has consulted with the SAG, presented a number of alternative methodologies, and narrowed down the options to four. Red Oak is currently analyzing the annual revenue requirements of NEW Water and cost allocations and rates for each of the four alternatives. The end of February has been targeted for the next SAG meeting where Red Oak will present the rates resulting from the alternatives. Red Oak will present the findings to the Commission, which will ultimately vote on which alternative to implement.
Saving Energy: R2E2 Update
The ongoing Resource Recovery and Electrical Energy (R2E2) Project continues in the pre-design phase. The solids handling project is slated to be built by 2017 and will address needs for increased capacity, more stringent environmental regulations, and aging infrastructure. In this photo, a construction crew is testing the soil at NEW Water's Green Bay Facility property to determine the best location to erect the R2E2 structure. Other work currently underway with R2E2 includes: testing different dewatering equipment, and writing technical memos and project manuals. The project aims to recover its own energy to the tune of $2.2 million dollars saved in energy expenditures per year.
- Bill Hafs has been named Director of Environmental Programs at NEW Water. Hafs was most recently the County Conservationist with the Brown County Land and Water Conservation Department.
- NEW Water's Commission has changed: Commission President Dr. Dan Alesch's term expired in December and he opted to not seek re-appointment. A 25-year-Commission veteran, Alesch's sage service to the community is greatly appreciated, and he will be missed. Kathryn Hasselblad was elected new President; James Blumreich was elected Secretary, and Lee Hoffmann has been appointed as the newest Commissioner. Thomas Meinz and Mark Tumpach also serve as Commissioners.