resources well beyond their current careers, to take care of their grandchildren’s grandchildren. As entities concerned with global sustainability, local utilities need to be concerned about how to improve government thinking at the highest levels. There needs to be integration in how the utilities’ plans will affect the changes in how local, regional, and national governments will address these issues. Until society is able to look beyond the methods and begin to strategize about the larger impact, there will be little effect on true global sustainability.


Fairfax Water provides water services for approximately 1.5 million people and is a critical point in the public health system through the delivery of safe, reliable, affordable drinking water for one of out every five Virginians. This water is used for baby formula and bathing, as well as sanitation and hygiene for the region. The utilities play an important role in public health, yet there is a vast chasm between the public health, medical, and water resource treatment and delivery systems.

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was formed in 1970, it provided an essential and vital role in the protection of the environment, the air, wastewater, and many other vital resources. In 1974, Congress passed its first approach to protecting drinking water in the form of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Until this point, there had been a close marriage between water and public health in the form of the U.S. Public Health Service, but after this time, there was a shift. The shifting paradigm begs the question if the current regulatory framework is working. This workshop has been about global sustainability—looking for the best solutions of today’s water and sanitation problems. Many people in the field (academia, government, nongovernmental organizations, and industry) spend their time and resources looking for the most affordable ways to implement incremental risk reduction to what are, by global comparison, pristine water and wastewater systems. The question remains if enough has been done to protect public health and the waters of the United States and can we move on to a global standard. There may be room for refinement.

This is not a condemnation of the Environmental Protection Agency or the current regulatory framework. But perhaps a change is needed in how one looks at who regulates what. The services of environmental health officers and the Commissioned Corps ensure public health and safety in a variety of domestic and international roles, such as epidemiological surveillance, disease prevention, industrial hygiene, education, and emergency preparedness. During natural disasters and other emergencies, environmental health officers protect the public from environmental threats and help communities recover. However, is this the best use of the limited resources available to be able to solve the larger problems of global sustainability? It is not only money that is limited, but also people and water. J.B. Manion, the former executive director of the American Waterworks Association,

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