By Sara Toustrup Kristensen
Your title is Drinking Water Practice Lead for Ramboll Water in the Americas. What does this entail?
This entails bringing client-tailored solutions to various municipalities across the US related to potable drinking water. While Ramboll has crossings to other markets too, my role mainly involves drinking water – studies and designs for potable supply, treatment, into the distribution system and ultimately to the tap. My role brings the clean-water solutions to the one-water cycle.
What overall trends do you see in the water market?
There’s always a focus on improving water quality. Alongside this, there is and will continue to be focus on sustainability, and the concept of ‘decarbonization’ is becoming more commonplace. Decarbonization not only considers direct energy use, but outside inputs such as treatment chemicals or hauling.
Optimized treatment solutions which reduce chemical use, treatment residuals production, and energy use will be a big first step in that process. Digital twins as well as smart water solutions will help us in this realm as well. These utilize higher end computing power coupled with advanced software to optimize our planning, design and operation of treatment and conveyance systems. They allow us to test solutions in a computer environment before they are implemented in the field. There is a lot of opportunity in smart water solutions, and this cutting-edge aspect is exciting for me.
In your opinion, what are the most pressing challenges facing the US water industry today?
The water industry is facing challenges with respect to aging infrastructure, legacy pollution, lead and copper, and emerging contaminants like PFAS and 1,4-dioxane – all of which bring growing attention to the quality of our drinking water. While evolving issues, these also present opportunities for our experts to create solutions that address the challenges and drive positive change for our clients.
Ramboll has more than two decades of experience developing PFAS management solutions for our clients, and our experts are currently engaged in broad-based research into a range of innovative and destructive technologies for PFAS in soil and groundwater.
What are your ambitions for Ramboll Water in the US?
Ramboll’s centres of excellence for advanced simulations and for digital enabled asset management – together with its innovative methods and tools like BloomOptix, which employs drone-based hyperspectral and multispectral remote sensing to assess harmful algal blooms, sediment plumes and other factors impacting water quality, and Opseyes, an AI-powered platform for rapid filaments testing – are getting me started with a terrific foundation to grow Ramboll’s drinking water market. Building on this portfolio of digital products, I see a lot of opportunity to expand Ramboll’s digital twin and smart water solutions.