American Water to Use Pump Efficiency to Meet GHG Goal

American Water has set a goal to lower its greenhouse gas emissions per volume of water produced by 16 percent by the year 2017 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 percent 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 gallons 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 percent 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 percent.

“Our internal research indicates that if we can increase our average pumping efficiency by 10 percent over the next several years, we will be able to reach our goal,” added Correll. “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.”

American Water’s goal was approved by the EPA’s Climate Leaders on November 30. Climate Leaders is an EPA industry-government partnership that works with companies to develop comprehensive climate change strategies. Partner companies commit to reducing their impact on the global environment by completing a corporate-wide inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions based on a quality management system, setting aggressive reduction goals, and annually reporting their progress to EPA.

American Water believes it will complete its planning and data gathering in 2010 and begin to implement its plan to improve the efficiency of its pumps by 2011.

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company.

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