Embrace the Challenges of the Day

Time is a perception. I have a T-shirt that says that. I didn’t buy it. I always thought it was kind of stupid, but at the moment, it makes sense.

It’s Aug. 8. I’m writing this column on deadline. You won’t even see this issue of MSW for a couple more months, and by then, I’ll be into the new year. Sometimes, it feels like the present doesn’t even exist because I’m always working months ahead.

I’m 43. It feels like I started my first newspaper job just a few years ago, but that’s far from reality. My mom passed away 12 years ago, but the images and sounds of sitting and talking at her kitchen table are so clear that my mind almost can’t accept that it was that long ago. It’s easy to lose track. It’s easy to look ahead. It’s even easier to look back. But working hard, being present and doing everything you can for today is what matters.

Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the things you want and need to do tomorrow or next week, or projects you have lined up for the next season. Sometimes, it’s a lot easier than being fully present today. The planning process is important at your utilities. You need to study, plan and prepare for projects and initiatives looming on the horizon, but you also need to take the time to make sure everything is running smoothly today.

That’s a hallmark of all good utilities. There’s always a vision, a plan for system and operational improvement, but there’s no sitting back waiting for it to happen. There’s no reminiscing or daydreaming — just hard work to improve your communities.

No one is looking back in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The city, once envisioned by Grand Trunk Railway President Charles Melville Hays as a coastal port to rival Vancouver, is upgrading and modernizing its infrastructure to expand its port and become a major link to Asia across the Pacific Ocean and to Europe through the Northern Sea Route. Hays died on the Titanic, but his vision is still alive, and the city is focused on doing what it can today to turn that vision into a stronger tomorrow.

A little farther to the north, the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility is bridging time in its own way. The utility is adding new technology and modernizing a distribution system that they say is one of the most complicated in the world, but they’re still drawing water from a glacier. The source is ancient, but the techniques by which the utility is improving its means of distribution — horizontal directional drilling and CIPP — are cutting-edge.

Both utilities have good stories to tell, and both are attacking the challenges of the present to secure their communities’ futures.

Solving I&I

You’ve no doubt noticed the new publication accompanying this issue. I&I – Inflow & Infiltration Solutions and Equipment is aimed at helping you with one of the largest and most widespread problems in your collection systems. The cost of inflow and infiltration is staggering, and it’s time to address the problem more directly. This magazine is focused solely on I&I and solutions that can save your systems — and money.

I hope you’ll find the new magazine helpful and a nice complement to MSW.

Enjoy this month’s issue.


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