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Public Utilities, Second Edition

Old Problems, New Challenges

David E. McNabb

A thoroughly updated introduction to the current issues and challenges facing managers and administrators in the investor and publicly owned utility industry, this engaging volume addresses management concerns in five sectors of the utility industry: electric power, natural gas, water, wastewater systems and public transit.
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Chapter 6: Water and wastewater utilities

David E. McNabb


Water is one of life’s absolute necessities. Without a steady supply of clean, fresh water, cities could never have been invented, let alone become the preferred living environment of a growing majority of human populations. When water supplies become polluted, disease and death follow. Contaminated water can cause many types of diarrheal diseases, including cholera, and other serious illnesses such as Guinea worm disease, typhoid, and dysentery. Water related diseases still cause 3.4 million deaths around the globe each year. The importance of clean water resulted in some of the earliest civil engineering feats, including dams and aqueducts to store and move water for human consumption and agriculture. Water and wastewater systems remain the of all modern civilizations.In 2014 there were approximately 155,693 public water systems subject to regulations administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States. This was down from the nearly 170,000 systems reported in the 2010 census. Of these totals, there were close to 54,000 community water system in 2010 and 52,110 in 2014. Community water systems are defined as systems that provide water to at least 25 people at their primary residences, with water supplied to roughly the same population all year. Another 103,583 systems are either one of two types of non-community systems: transient non-community systems that provide water to at least 25 or more people at least 60 days a year, but not to the same people and not on a regular basis, or non-transient systems...

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