Water Intake, Quality a Vital Issue at Boeing

Exploring Boeing's top environmental priorities
Sep 18, 2017 11:15 AM ET

**This is the 15th article in a series focusing on The Boeing Company's environmental performance and progress in 2016. Visit www.boeing.com/environment for more information.**

Boeing is a careful steward of one of the planet’s most precious natural resources: water. In our operations, we focus on innovative ways to protect and improve water quality for the benefit of the environment and the communities where we live and work.

Boeing applies a wide range of water-management strategies in keeping with our unique and longstanding legacy of applying innovative technologies to water conservation. In the early 1970s, for example, Boeing was a pioneer in developing practical, large-scale water purification systems that are still in use around the world to supply clean water to some of the most arid regions on the planet.

That tradition continues today, across our enterprise.

For instance, a Boeing team based in Huntington Beach, California, recently took on the challenge of reusing available water for site irrigation. The team found a way to use the filtered and treated water from the site’s groundwater extraction and treatment system to irrigate the grounds. About 80 percent of the 188-acre (76 hectare) campus is now irrigated with this nonpotable, repurposed water.

Boeing has also continued to develop many innovative technologies for natural biofiltration of stormwater. We have considerable experience in various types of water treatment, ranging from advanced treatment like reverse osmosis to sustainable green infrastructure such as biofilters. We also work with experts outside of Boeing to help guide innovative and effective solutions to stormwater management challenges and to improve water quality.

Boeing selects partnering opportunities that generate benefits in the following ways:

  • Advance the science and innovative technology of green infrastructure.

  • Provide employee and community engagement opportunities.

  • Leverage past projects, other partnerships or both.

Projects in 2016 include:

  • Continued the research with Washington State University and the Washington Stormwater Center to strengthen permeable pavement with cured carbon fiber composite material.

  • Partnered with The Nature Conservancy by funding several green infrastructure application projects in Puget Sound as well as water-wise plant research at an outdoor laboratory in Southern California.

  • Funded a rain barrel project for the Snohomish Conservation District (SCD) in Snohomish County, Washington, where the Boeing Everett site is located. The project to assemble rain barrels encouraged water conservation throughout the region and also created an environmentally focused volunteer opportunity for Boeing employees.

Partnering with SCD has resulted in direct improvement of stormwater management at Boeing sites. For example, SCD shared its expertise in the design and construction of a rain garden at Boeing’s Auburn facility.

SCD honored Boeing with the 2016 Conservation Business of the Year award to recognize Boeing’s leadership in stormwater management and the company’s permeable pavement research.