Water industry veteran, WF&M contributor Greg Baird joins BlueConduit

Water industry veteran Greg Baird is joining water analytics company BlueConduit as its executive director of national lead service line inventory and replacement, the company announced recently. BlueConduit says Baird’s leadership will combine water infrastructure asset management, artificial intelligence modeling and water infrastructure finance to help communities remove lead pipes.

Michigan-based BlueConduit detects lead service lines through its iterative, machine-learning methods. Experts estimate there are over 12 million lead service lines in use across the United States. Removing lead in drinking water pipes is a vital step in protecting public health and increasing trust in tap water.

“Greg has been an industry leader for two decades, addressing the aging water infrastructure funding crisis,” said Eric Schwartz, BlueConduit co-founder and University of Michigan professor. “Greg’s reputation, experience, vision and boundless enthusiasm will accelerate not only BlueConduit’s growth but also the industry’s work to reduce the public’s exposure to lead. And, we especially value his prioritization of environmental justice, such as his work aiming to get funding for disadvantaged communities.”

Baird joins the BlueConduit senior leadership team, which has recently expanded from a technical focus on data science, machine learning engineering to include a non-founder CEO as well as product, marketing, and customer success leadership.

“Lead service lines have been neglected in the water industry due to a historic lack of funding and other factors,” said Baird. “That’s all changing as the perspective of water quality extends from source water to the tap and all of the assets in between.”

The recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act earmarks $15 billion over five years for municipalities for lead service line removal. Yet with funding and new compliance requirements, the underlying challenge of locating the lead pipes remains.

Baird previously has served as a municipal finance officer and water utility CFO, worked for several large engineering consulting firms and many of the top water digital solutions tech companies. At BlueConduit, Baird will work with water engineering and environmental consulting firms, utilities, and water industry organizations to develop partnership strategies to improve drinking water quality.

BlueConduit’s data-driven SaaS software, which was originally used in Flint, Michigan, to save tens of millions of dollars, predicts the location of lead service lines. Accurate predictions expedite lead pipe removal and replacement, and prevent unnecessary digging to inspect pipes. The company’s platform supports compliance with the EPA’s Revised Lead and Copper Rule and addresses some of the environmental justice issues related to service line replacement.

BlueConduit is a water analytics company that has the most accurate predictive machine-learning methods to locate lead service lines, empowering local officials with the information to efficiently remove those pipes. Named one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2021, the company’s model enables utilities to focus their resources on digging where the lead is and accelerating the removal of this significant health concern, and save millions of dollars in avoided digs. Since 2016, BlueConduit has worked with more than 50 municipalities and inventoried over 1 million service lines, which serve more than 2 million people. Learn more at BlueConduit.com.

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