As communities around the globe struggle to find drinking water, new solutions to this old problem must be sustainable, environmentally sound and economically viable. Even where water is plentiful, communities are faced with a myriad of challenges associated with the provision of high-quality, affordable and dependable water supplies.

Population growth, demographic changes and environmental influences are changing our approaches to water supply and treatment. Increased human activity impacts the watershed, challenging our water supplies. More frequent and intense precipitation events, and longer, warmer and drier summers are stressing our water systems. Added to these challenges is increasingly complex and, in many cases, aging infrastructure.

Whether planning, pilot and demonstration testing, providing conceptual design, final design through to construction, or supporting start-up and commissioning, our water team has the experience and capabilities to provide source to tap solutions for our clients’ most complex water challenges.

Water Supply

Every day, we all use water. Lots of it. As a result, we need water supplies that are safe, reliable and affordable. This starts with the water sources of supply including, where necessary, the identification and adaptation of alternative supplies to address water scarcity, reliability and redundancy.

AECOM has extensive experience with all types of water supply sources:

  • Surface water supplies (e.g., rivers, lakes, reservoirs and oceans)
  • Groundwater supplies (e.g., aquifers, groundwater-under-the influence and bank infiltration)
  • Reuse water supplies (e.g., gray water sources and stormwater runoff)
  • Seawater and brackish water (seas, oceans and brackish aquifers)

Brackish and seawater desalination, water reuse

When traditional water supplies are insufficient to meet demands, we bring the expertise to treat brackish and seawater sources and wastewater supplies for indirect and ultimately, direct reuse. We perform pilot studies, peer reviews, planning, design and construction of water treatment facilities involving microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis processes.

Water Treatment

Across the world, water treatment challenges range from public health protection to water quality concerns and meeting drinking water regulations. From planning and design of new water treatment facilities, improvements to existing plants, or creating sustainable operations and management strategies to address emerging contaminants, we deliver the full spectrum of treatment solutions.

Our water treatment design experience varies in complexity from conventional facilities serving a few hundred residents to large, advanced water treatment facilities with capacities greater than 1 billion gallons per day. We have performed studies, design, program management, design-build and construction management services for numerous water treatment facilities.

PFAS and emerging contaminants

More stringent regulations, a better-informed public, and concern about unregulated contaminants require innovated and cost-effective treatment and operational solutions. From chemicals such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to pharmaceuticals and personal care products to unregulated disinfection byproducts, our team of water treatment experts is helping our clients around the globe address their most difficult water quality issues with sustainable and resilient water treatment solutions.

Distribution System Water Quality

Optimizing the distribution system to protect public health

Aging infrastructure with pipes that act as a source for contamination or are in poor condition, threaten the ability of a utility to supply water and can place the public at risk. Through the replacement of unlined cast iron mains that are heavily tuberculated or aging ductile mains that have lost their iron, we minimize leaks, remove biofilm that can harbor bacteria or can exert a disinfectant demand, and can include work to replace lead services.

As the system is rebuilt, we take the opportunity to right size the pipes and improve water age and pressures, particularly in systems that have experienced significant changes in population of growth and decline. The result is dependable and safe drinking water supply for utilities and their customers.

Further, we work with utilities to provide the tools and strategies they need to successfully manage the distribution system to promote water quality during design, operations, and maintenance.

Lead in drinking water

One of the most pressing public health issues in the U.S. and the world today is lead in drinking water. We are working with water utilities throughout North America to minimize lead corrosion, remove lead service lines and reduce the risk to the health of their customers. From communities with a few hundred lead service lines to those with hundreds of thousands of lead service lines, we are helping to locate, plan, fund and manage the removal of those service lines and improve the lives of those in the community.

Awards & rankings

  • ENR #1 in Water Treatment and Desalination
  • ENR #2 in Top Design Firms
  • ENR #2 in Top Environmental Firms