Peter D. Binney, a water resources engineer noted for achievements in sustainability, including an instrumental role in the creation of Envision, the national sustainable infrastructure certification and rating system, has died. He was 70.
Raised adventurously on New Zealand’s North Island, his life by the sea would later propel him to such challenges as an innovative “drought-proof” plan for the water needs of Aurora, Colorado, at the start of severe drought in the American West. It was there, in 2002, he conceived the Prairie Waters Project. At its heart is the Peter D. Binney Water Purification Facility, a $660 million treatment plant described as a marvel of engineering.
Binney, P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE, devoted his entire career to water resources and sustainable infrastructure. His leadership positions included director of sustainable planning for Black & Veatch and national director, water resources for CH2MHill. In 2010 he became Merrick & Company’s national director of sustainable infrastructure and was responsible for expanding the Denver firm’s water infrastructure business across the United States.
With his expertise in sustainable infrastructure ratings and performance as well as mediation and resolution of issues on complex public infrastructure projects, Binney was key in the development and launch of Envision, co-created by ASCE, the American Council of Engineering Companies, and the American Public Works Association through the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.
A life member of ASCE, Binney formed a consulting company in 2018. He received ASCE’s President's Medal in 2011.
For years he had traveled domestically and internationally to negotiate, design, advise, and acquire government approvals and permits. If this required shots of a country's signature beverage in the early morning, or touring a prospective site while supervised by armed militia, Binney was all in. In more secure surroundings he wrote and published the countless papers and studies he presented around the world.
He received ASCE’s President's Medal in 2011. He was also presented with the General Palmer Award (outstanding engineer in industry) by the American Council of Engineering Companies, Colorado Chapter in 2008.
Binney accomplished much of this while battling multiple myeloma, diagnosed in 2006. Everyone who knew Binney knew how much he enjoyed discussing water, history, science, politics, or literature. He was frequently interviewed for his opinions and to inform audiences about projects.