The Challenges of Small Water Treatment Facilities

Like many industrial sites, wastewater treatment facilities rely on their insurers to protect them from property losses and liability claims. One issue that sets them apart from other industries is that accidents and compliance violations affect entire communities. Before extending wastewater treatment insurance, insurers need to understand their clients.

Small wastewater treatment facilities may seem less cumbersome and intimidating than large municipal providers, but smaller size does not mean fewer problems. Small and rural wastewater treatment facilities face several operational challenges that insurers must keep in mind.

Problems Faced in Water Treatment Plants

Most of the problems in smaller water treatment plants come down to a lack of resources. They operate within tighter parameters that make safety violations and compliance concerns harder to mitigate. They are also subject to many outside pressures, such as community conditions, political influence, and population size.

Geographical Isolation

The isolated nature of many rural settings limits the availability of equipment and raw materials that the plants need to run successfully. Even if the items are available, higher transport costs make them more challenging to obtain. Maintaining existing structures and replacing failing ones becomes much more difficult, especially if the staff has to wait days or weeks for supplies to arrive.

Inadequate Staffing

Small wastewater treatment facilities mainly exist in small towns with limited workforces. This makes hiring qualified staff difficult, especially if there are no appropriate training programs nearby. Recruiting and keeping the necessary employees requires incentives and pay that the company may not afford. High staff turnover makes management positions hard to fill.

Tight Budgets

A smaller population means less revenue, and wastewater treatment plants often feel the pinch. Combine that with inflexible rates and short-sighted financial planning, and there is the potential for serious monetary problems. Local leaders often pressure water treatment facilities to keep rates untenably low. Essential maintenance strains the budget, and significant repairs force companies into debt. As a result, there is little room for error.

Limited Technology

The lack of funding makes it difficult to pay for system upgrades, meaning many smaller wastewater treatment plants do not have the technology they need to meet modern demands. It also deprives these facilities of the automation that could address staffing shortages. Facility managers sacrifice efficiency to keep the system operational and provide a clean water supply.

The Bottom Line

The challenges of running a small wastewater treatment plant make adequate insurance coverage essential. Wastewater treatment insurance must protect the client from severe financial losses while also staying within their budget. Having a knowledgeable staff with a deep understanding of the industry helps insurers to build trusting relationships with wastewater treatment facilities and provide the coverage they need.

About Watercolor Management

Watercolor Management has insured the water industry for over 30 years. Our policies include unlimited defense cost coverage in the event of a lawsuit against you. Call us at (855) 929-0824 or email for a quick quote for your Water Business Professional, Products/Completed operations, Pollution and General Liability Insurance.