EPA, Associations Promote Effective Water Utility Management

The Environmental Protection Agency and six national water associations have signed a “statement of support” for a program...

The Environmental Protection Agency and six national water associations have signed a “statement of support” for a program that will promote the use of utility performance measures and management attributes by water utilities around the country.

The steering committee of the Effective Utility Management Collaboration recently issue the “10 Attributes of Effectively Managed Water Sector Utilities,” which will provide a reference point for utilities seeking to improve performance.

“This significant agreement advances the administration’s sustainable infrastructure initiative for America and charts a course, locally and globally, for wise management of water systems,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles.

The statement and supporting strategies formalize a comprehensive effort among EPA, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the American Public Works Association, the American Water Works Association, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the National Association of Water Companies and Water Environment Federation to encourage effective utility management. These associations, with about 80,000 members, represent some of the largest utilities in the country.

“We believe the committee’s work can play a pivotal role in promoting effective utility management over time, and we will work collectively and individually to encourage our members and the sector as a whole to make effective use of these findings and recommendations,” according to a statement of support signed by the organizations.

The 10 Attributes identified by the committee include product quality, customer satisfaction, employee and leadership development, operational optimization, financial viability, infrastructure stability, operational resiliency, community sustainability, water resource adequacy, and stakeholder understanding and support.

As a complement to the attributes, the steering committee identified Keys to Management Success that offer examples of successful management approaches and systems, including leadership, strategic business planning, organizational approaches, measurement, and a continual improvement management framework.

The committee highlighted the importance of measurement to effective management and identified a series of sample performance measures for utilities to consider.

For further information, visit http://www.epa.gov/waterinfrastructure/bettermanagement.html.

EPA Proposes Extensions CAFO Water Deadlines

EPA is proposing for public comment the extension of certain compliance deadlines for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

One extension applies to water permit application deadlines for facilities that EPA defined as CAFOs for the first time in 2003. The other extension applies to certain CAFOs that have to develop and implement nutrient management plans (NMPs). A NMP is a plan that specifies the amount of manure that can be applied to crops so the potential for nutrient runoff to water bodies is minimized.

EPA has been regulating CAFOs for more than 25 years. In 2006, EPA proposed revisions to the CAFO rule which, when finalized, would continue to require the proper management of manure. The 2006 proposal, in response to a 2005 court ruling, would revise the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting requirements and Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for CAFOs.

EPA is proposing to extend the dates for newly-defined CAFOs to seek permit coverage and for permitted CAFOs to develop and implement NMPs from July 31, 2007 to Feb. 27, 2009.

For further information, visit EPA’s Animal Feeding Operations Web page: epa.gov/npdes/caforulechanges

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