We recently asked three participants in the US BCSD’s Louisiana Water Synergy Project to provide comments about the project – here’s what they had to say:
“I think the Water Synergy Project was and is a great idea. All that I can say is that the sky is the limit as to where it can go and is up to the team to determine. The best thing about the project is the diverse group of stakeholders at all levels that it brought together. We have industry, agriculture, and regulatory representatives sitting at the same table, working together to develop innovative solutions to complex issues. I would be glad to discuss the Water Synergy Project with people from other regions.” Eric Hillman, EHS Specialist, BASF
“The Water Synergy Project has offered an excellent opportunity to interface with a diverse group of stakeholders in southeast Louisiana. Unlike our industry specific work groups, e.g. oil and gas, the project included voices from the food and beverage industry, regional planning officials, state regulatory officials, non-chemical manufacturing, and wetlands restoration experts. Through the project we were able to perform a study for alternate uses of wastewater to enhance wetlands growth. This initial work helped to build relationships within the team that have fostered communication and idea developments as we continue to identify ways to use water sustainably, minimize wastewater discharge impacts, and foster healthy wetlands systems. Through one of the participants in the project, our company contributed $10,000 and many volunteers as part of a wetlands reforestation project in our area.
The project is now looking forward to a nutrient reduction trading program in preparation for expected nutrient discharge rules for the Lower Mississippi River. This is a very exciting approach that may offer significant benefits for the region. For instance, rather than building a multimillion dollar reactor for enhanced nutrient removal from wastewater, these resources could be used to restore lost areas of wetlands which in turn become sinks for nutrients and for carbon.” Robert J.T. Martin, P.E.; Director Health, Safety, and Environment; Valero St. Charles Refinery
“When I was initially approached about the Water Synergy Project, I saw it as an opportunity for my members and others to discuss water issues and needs outside the typical day-to-day regulatory constraints. For Louisiana, this includes groundwater protection, wetlands restoration, hurricane protection, Mississippi River nutrient loading, historic industry growth potential, etc. I saw the Project providing a forum to explore these related, yet regulatory separated, issues to identify and explore innovative common sense solutions. It is allowing us to have conversations we otherwise would not have gotten together to discuss.” Richard Metcalf, Director of Environmental Affairs, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Assn.