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Case Study

Reducing lead in drinking water for a major water system

Every Challenge Has a Backstory

Like many communities throughout the U.S., Providence, RI has an aging water distribution system and lead service lines that can affect the quality of their drinking water. When Providence Water, which operates the largest water utility in the State of Rhode Island, wanted to take a fresh look at ways to improve its water for customers, it turned to OBG for solutions.

OBG’s Focus on Solutions

OBG partnered with Providence Water to establish a program for replacing lead services as part of an overall effort to reduce lead in drinking water. OBG also helped direct an expert panel composed of leading academic researchers and water system operators in an effort to improve distribution system water quality and lead corrosion control. In consultation with OBG and the expert panel, Providence Water adopted a holistic approach that included advanced water quality monitoring, increased investment in renewing water distribution system infrastructure, and best in industry operations.

Using water quality models, benchmarking, cutting-edge research, and pilot studies, OBG collaborated with the client to develop strategies that have significantly improved the area’s water quality, while allowing the water utility to optimize its capital investments.

Results that Matter

Providence’s water quality has significantly improved, and in 2015, Providence Water achieved compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act’s action level for lead in drinking water. The holistic strategy was approved by the Department of Health, allowing the water utility to redirect its resources into replacing or refurbishing aging water mains.