Water and sewer utilities supplying our homes and businesses today are not the same as those of the past.
The single biggest challenge facing these operations is financing.
Reimagining these business models is what spurred the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the Water Environment Federation, the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation, and the WateReuse Association, with guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to create the Utilities of the Future program.
This international recognition program focuses on resource recovery and reuse by utilities of all sizes. Utilities honored with this designation must also demonstrate community leadership of social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
The program nomination and awards help guide organizations toward smarter, more efficient operations, aiming to achieve full resource recovery.
To be selected as a Utility of the Future is one of the highest achievements within the water and wastewater utility sector. Operators showcase fiscal responsibility in tandem with environmental stewardship.
Two of RETTEW’s clients were named Utilities of the Future in 2016: The Hermitage Municipal Authority and the University Area Joint Authority. These utilities were the only two in the state of Pennsylvania to receive the honor.
Several other RETTEW clients are working toward enhancing their long-term planning and reuse capabilities.
- In Bloomsburg, PA, the wastewater utility is working toward a better way to digest its sludge, potentially recovering power in the form of methane. Leaders are simultaneously applying long-term capital planning principles to operations. A completed 20-year capital plan will help the system minimize inflow and infiltration.
- In Manheim, PA, the local utility has been recycling biosolids for farming uses for many years. Recently, the facility instituted capital planning and reserve policies to improve and shore up its long-term financial viability. The Manheim site will continue to exceed treatment requirements, actively participating in the state’s nutrient trading program for additional income. The agency also plans to use existing systems and equipment to treat additional waste coming in from third parties, adding another revenue stream.
- At the Upper Montgomery Joint Authority, the utility has begun a major wastewater treatment upgrade. These changes left one tank spare, which will be used to research freshwater mussels, an endangered species statewide. This authority also practices biosolids reuse, has an aggressive inflow and infiltration reduction program, and has been working on its long-range capital planning.
While these operations have not yet applied to receive the Utilities of the Future designation, RETTEW is proud to be working with so many clients focused on operating with a long-term community and environmental focus.