By: William McMillin, CH2M Regional Technology Leader for Integrated Water Resource Management and Water Resilience and Matt Killam, CH2M Resident Engineer

Drinking water and wastewater utilities are affected by natural disasters, which can come in all shapes and sizes. In the wake of major storms like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy and others, utilities are reminded about the massive expenses and impacts on local communities when power and water supplies are lost. To ensure that your utility is prepared, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shared some important progress in a recent video, “Don’t Get Soaked: Invest in Emergency Preparedness, Prevention and Mitigation Activities.”

In the video, our team was shown conducting resiliency assessments at Berwick, Maine’s water treatment plant, as part of CH2M’s contribution to the development of the EPA’s Flood Resiliency Guide. The video was created to educate drinking water and wastewater utility managers, board members and elected and appointed officials about the benefits of investing in preparedness, response and recovery activities at utilities. It features testimonials about real world events that have impacted drinking water and wastewater utilities.

Check out the full video to learn more about CH2M’s collaboration with the EPA, here.

CH2M has helped clients make their utilities more resilient in the wake of major natural disasters and even collaborated with the EPA’s Water Security Division to develop a Flood Resilience Guide to help small and mid-size drinking water and wastewater utilities become more resilient to flooding. The Guide, which was based on a pilot project conducted at a small drinking water utility in Berwick, Maine, outlines a simple, 4-step assessment process to help any water utility know their flooding threat and identify practical mitigation options to protect their critical assets. With a user-friendly online layout, the Guide provides worksheets, instructional videos and flood maps to help utilities through the process. While the Guide focuses on increasing resiliency specifically for flooding, the same approach can be applied to building resiliency to other hazards, such as shaking from earthquakes.

Additionally, CH2M worked with EPA’s Region 8 (Mountains and Plains, serving Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and 27 Tribal Nations) to incorporate climate resiliency into the Jamestown, Colorado flood recovery efforts by providing water/wastewater infrastructure and river/watershed planning support based on resiliency, sustainability, green infrastructure, climate adaptation, and smart growth principles.

William McMillin is CH2M’s Deputy Global Technology Leader for Water Resilience and East Regional Technology Leader for Integrated Water Resource Management. He has over 27 years of experience in Water Resources and Ecosystem Management, Conveyance and Storage Infrastructure, and Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure.  Bill specializes in Wet Weather Management and Climate Risk & Resilience and is a contributing author of the following publications: USEPA’s Flood Resilience Guide (2014), Drought Response and Recovery Guide (2016)and Combined Sewer Overflows—Guidance for Nine Minimum Controls (1995); NACWA/WERF Collaborative Water Quality Solutions: Exploring Use Attainability Analyses (2006); and, WEF’s Guide to Managing Peak Wet Weather Flows (2006).

Matt Killam has more than 16 years of experience in services during construction and resident engineering for Conveyance and Storage Infrastructure, and Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure. In the field, Matt can be found managing field investigations and field inspectors to ensure contract requirements are being enforced during construction. Throughout his career, Matt has served in leadership roles during key projects for clients such as the City of Newport Utilities Department in Rhode Island.