World Water Day is an important reminder that not everyone in the world is as lucky as us to have immediate access to clean water. In fact, 2.1 billion people today live without safe drinking water at home. People around the world are working to protect the natural environment and reduce pollution so that everyone has access to clean water.
What we take for granted here in the U.S. is that there are several regulations to protect our drinking water. There are many factors that can affect our drinking water that most of us do not think about. Facilities have to function a certain way and meet requirements, enforced by various agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, that prevent damage to ecosystems and protect our wetlands.
Our team here at Tioga works with facility managers, developers, contractors and others to oversee they’re conducting business responsibly so that you don’t have to worry about the quality of your water.
Our wetlands scientists design mitigation areas to preserve or restore wetlands and streams to minimize a facility’s impact on surrounding waterways. Wetlands provide a variety of important ecosystem services, such as storing floodwater, cleaning and recharging groundwater, and filtering sediment and other pollutants that can enter clean water. Proper mitigation of wetlands maintains the water quality enhancement features of the land.
Erosion and sediment control
Erosion and sediment control plans protect land from soil erosion and prevent runoff and other foreign materials from entering our waters. These plans are required when land is disturbed due to new construction. Construction can increase erosion rate by 1,000 times compared to undisturbed land. Without such plans, our waters and streams are subject to increased degradation and pollution.
To remain in compliance with the EPA’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure rules, Tioga develops plans for facilities to prevent, prepare for and respond to discharge of hazardous materials like oil into our waterways. We also create Facility Response Plans for facilities who store and use oil to ensure they’re prepared to respond if spills occur.
Stormwater and wastewater
Proper processing of stormwater and wastewater is essential in protecting our clean water supply. Permits and compliance plans such as Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans are required to identify any and all sources from a construction site or building that can pollute the quality of stormwater discharges. Per the EPA’s Clean Water Act, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit is required for all public and commercial facilities that discharge stormwater and wastewater into a body of water, such as a lake, river or ocean. The permit ensures that the discharge is treated according to water quality standards before entering the waters.
While it’s so easy to get a drink of water, a lot goes on behind the scenes to keep it clean. There are also simple activities that we as individuals can do to save our waters, such as taking shorter showers, reducing waste and not littering. Protecting our waters will not only provide us access to safe drinking water but also preserves wildlife, reduces floods, prevents droughts and decreases pollution.