Clean, Safe Drinking Water Flows from Water Management Programs

As technological advances continue to improve our lives, it is important to remember the innovations that got us where we are today. One of the most important advancements has been the treatment and protection of our water supply, which provides access to clean and safe drinking water.

Water treatment methods date as far back as 3,000 B.C. but the methods we are familiar with today began in the 1940s, when drinking water standards for municipalities were introduced. These standards were followed by the Clean Water Act in 1972 and the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, which both increased access to safe drinking water in the United States, but did not guarantee the availability of safe drinking water.

Since the 1970s, we’ve learned much more about issues concerning water supplies and distribution systems. The plumbing industry continues to evolve to address contaminated water sources, waterborne pathogens, improper treatment and maintenance practices, and the impact from construction and development. Engineering and design methods, as well as their equipment and materials, have evolved with the industry. This knowledge of best practices for safe water distribution contribute to comprehensive water management programs (WMPs).

Woolpert has developed a WMP to reduce the risk of infection brought on by waterborne pathogens or other hazards present in the water supply. Our WMP was created by analyzing water treatment, distribution and consumption practices, and by incorporating data from the American Society of Plumbing Engineers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It meets the American National Standards Institute/American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Standard 188-2018 industry requirements for risk management in building water systems.

This WMP was created to support building owners and operators, water departments, and health officials to develop programs that will help facilities protect occupants, operations and the water supply from health threats in the wake of COVID-19. These programs can also help building operators be “reopen-ready” and ensure their plumbing systems are not compromised.

A simple assessment can provide a building owner with a way to identify areas of high hazards, mitigate the risk to building occupants and water systems, and can lead to lower reopening costs.

Steve Savage

Steve Savage, CPD, has more than 20 years of experience as a plumbing design engineer and is involved in several water management and design projects in private, public and military settings. He works out of the firm’s Dayton office.