New York — The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was awarded the inaugural Utility of the Future (UOTF) Today Recognition from a partnership of water sector organizations including the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) and the WateReuse Association, with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The program celebrates the progress and exceptional performance of wastewater utilities while supporting the widespread adoption of the innovative UOTF business model.
“We are honored to be a recipient of the inaugural Utility of the Future Recognition Program,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “Our nearly 6,000 employees work every day to protect public health and the environment with innovative programs that ensure a reliable supply of high quality drinking water for nearly 10 million New Yorkers as well as the proper collection and treatment of wastewater to continue to improve the health of our harbor.”
“Many utilities optimize their operations, consistently meet or exceed their regulatory requirements, and engage their employees and communities in meaningful and productive ways,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “We are excited about this new opportunity to recognize the achievements of small, medium and large forward-thinking utilities that are providing sustainable, efficient, and value-added service to their communities.”
“EPA has been pleased to provide input to the partnering Associations on this important new program,” said Andrew Sawyers, Director of EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management. “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.”
“NACWA applauds all the recipients of the inaugural Utility of the Future Recognition Program,” said NACWA CEO Adam Krantz. “Utility leaders are engaged in unparalleled innovation and this recognition will inspire the sector as a whole to achieve still untapped economic and environmental benefits for their communities and the nation.”
Public and private utilities from across the U.S., Canada, and Denmark were selected from an impressive number of first year entries by a peer committee of utility leaders. The recipients were recognized and honored during a September 27 ceremony held in conjunction with WEFTEC 2016 — WEF’s 89th annual technical exhibition and conference — in New Orleans. The recipients received a display flag and a special certificate to further identify and promote their outstanding achievement as a Utility of the Future Today organization.
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 environmental and community priorities.
The selection committee chose utilities for recognition based upon 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.”