Dec 04, 2009

American Water Sets Goal to Reduce Energy, Improve Air Quality

‘Over 15 in Under 10’ aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions more than 15% in less than 10 years

American Water, a U.S. water and wastewater utility company, announced that it has set a goal to lower its greenhouse gas emissions per volume of water produced by 16% by the year 2017. The company set the goal as part of its commitment to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders partnership. The company plans to achieve its goal by reducing the amount of energy it uses primarily through greater water pump efficiency, as well as other initiatives.

"The water industry has always been a ‘green’ business,” said Don Correll, president and CEO of American Water. “Protecting our water resources is essential to the service we provide, and, since there is a correlation between carbon emissions and water resources, this initiative is a logical next step for our company. By improving air quality, we reduce the climate change that impacts weather patterns, which in turn impacts water resources.”

American Water plans to achieve the 16% reduction through a combination of increased pump efficiencies, purchasing cleaner generated energy sources, reducing its fleet and increasing the use of onsite solar and other alternative energy producing methods. The company, which treats and delivers about 1 billion gal of water per day, has begun to analyze the data it gathers during its pump efficiency testing. That planning and data gathering will continue into 2010 to identify the areas where greater pump efficiency will lead to reduced energy use. The company estimates that about 90% of its greenhouse gas emissions are from the energy it uses to pump water. By replacing or refurbishing older large pumps, studies have shown pump efficiency can improve by as much as 20%.

“Our internal research indicates that if we can increase our average pumping efficiency by 10% over the next several years, we will be able to reach our goal,” Correll said. “It will take time to evaluate, replace and refurbish the pumps in our systems, but we are committed to this project and are proud to be the first water and wastewater company in the country to establish a goal like this on a wide-scale basis.”