WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the eve of Earth Day 2016, a partnership of water sector organizations — the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and WateReuse — with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — announced a new Utility of the Future (UOTF) Today Recognition Program. The program will celebrate the progress and exceptional performance of the nation’s wastewater utilities while supporting the widespread adoption of the innovative UOTF business model.

The UOTF concept was first introduced in 2013 to guide utilities of all sizes toward smarter, more efficient operations and a progression to full resource recovery with enhanced productivity, sustainability, and resiliency. Since then many utilities have successfully implemented new and creative programs to address local wastewater technical and community challenges.

The UOTF Today Recognition Program will build on this success by celebrating these advancements and experiences; encouraging the adoption of UOTF principles (water reuse, watershed stewardship, beneficial biosolids reuse, community partnering & engagement, energy efficiency, energy generation & recovery, and nutrient & materials recovery) as the “Organizational Culture of the Future;” and enabling participants across a broad range of capacities and capabilities to collaborate, learn, and continue to evolve as a unified sector.

“WateReuse member utilities are often among the first to adopt innovative strategies to develop sustainable, climate-independent strategies for water,” said WateReuse Executive Director Melissa Meeker. “We are excited to be part of this joint effort to recognize the efforts of forward thinking communities of all sizes.”

“EPA is pleased to provide input to the partnering Associations on this important new program. We believe it will play an important role in EPA’s efforts to advance effective and sustainable practices that will help utilities across the sector on their journey to becoming the Utility of the Future,” said Andrew Sawyers, Director, Office of Wastewater Management, U.S. EPA.

Public and private wastewater utilities of all sizes are encouraged to apply by 5:00 p.m. EDT, June 17, 2016. Applicants must have no major permit violations in the past year prior to the submission date of their applications. Winners will be notified by July 29 and announced/officially recognized during an awards ceremony at WEFTEC 2016 — WEF’s 89th annual technical exhibition and conference — this September in New Orleans.

To learn more, visit www.wefnet.org/utilityrecognition or contact UtilityRecognition@wef.org.   

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