Conference Agenda

Session 03A: Utility Management
Monday, 09/Sep/2019:
9:45am - 12:00pm

Session Chair: Bhargavi Ambadkar, City of Portland BES;
Location: D136

9:45am - 10:30am

Benefits of Regionalizing Sewer And Surface Water: The WES Case Study

Greg Geist, Chris Storey

Water Environment Services, United States of America; ,

Local governments are increasingly working together towards common goals, such as financing major infrastructure projects and achieving economies of scale through consolidation. There can be many benefits to these kinds of arrangements, most notably costs savings and regulatory benefits. There may also be many hurdles to implementation, including navigating intergovernmental agreements, local politics, combining assets, merging accounting systems, and complying with outstanding legal and financial obligations. This session discusses local government collaboration and the potential benefits and challenges through a case study of the formation of Water Environment Services (“WES”). In 2018, Clackamas County Service District No. 1, Tri-City Service District, and Surface Water Management Agency of Clackamas County contributed all of their assets, borrowings and operations to WES with the intent that WES become the operating entity for each of the parties and adopt a regional service delivery model. Will provide a discussion of key benefits and lessons learned from regionalizing services, the regulatory asset portfolio, and increased intergovernmental cooperation.

10:30am - 11:15am

Building Bridges: Clean Water Services and Corvallis Partner to Optimize Operations

Jamie L. Hughes1, Dr. Kenneth J. Williamson1, Jesikah Cavanaugh1, Rajeev Kapur1, Mark Poling1, Jennifer Brashnyk1, Mark Walter2, Max Hildebrand3, Tom Hubbard3

1Clean Water Services, Hillsboro, Oregon; 2Water Dude Solutions, Oregon; 3City of Corvallis, Corvallis, Oregon; ,

In the summer of 2018, the City of Corvallis (City), Oregon entered into a cooperative agreement with Clean Water Services (CWS), a water resources utility located in Washington County, Oregon, to conduct a comprehensive review of the operations of the City’s wastewater treatment facility. CWS was brought in to provide technical assistance, information and training to help improve present and future operations, maintenance and management of the City’s facility. The City was poised to employ a new wastewater treatment facility supervisor and the review was seen as a way to bring in an external perspective to examine operations and organizational structure, review regulatory compliance and permit issues, and provide needed training to City staff. This concept of two utilities partnering to review and optimize a treatment facility’s operations is an approach that could be used throughout the industry to promote workforce development and to assist small utilities that often lack specialized expertise. CWS and City personnel reviewed the facility’s discharge monitoring reports, present and future permit requirements, the organization chart and personnel skills, laboratory sampling and analyses, and potential changes in facility operations or infrastructure.

This presentation will provide an overview of how CWS and the City conducted the review of the facility and developed training for the City’s staff, the challenges and lessons learned from this process, and how a partnership builds upon the strength of networks to address present and future issues and opportunities.

11:15am - 12:00pm

Building Bridges With Your Power Utility To Meet Shared Efficiency Goals

Craig Norman1, Allison Grinczel2, Jim Conlan2, Layne McWilliams1

1Cascade Energy; 2Snohomish PUD; ,

Engineers from the Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1 (SnoPUD) and the Bonneville Power Administration’s Energy Smart Industrial (ESI) program recently collaborated to deliver a strategic energy management program known as Wastewater Efficiency Coaching (WEC) to a cohort of seven water resource recovery facilities in Snohomish County, WA. The program focused on teaching energy management techniques and principles to facility managers, operators, and other operations and maintenance (O&M) technical staff. The immediate goal of the program was to help staff learn to identify and implement low- and no-cost measures to reduce their energy consumption; the ultimate goal was to instill an energy-efficiency culture in each of the facilities to allow them to operate as sustainably and cost effectively as possible without negatively impacting safety or water quality. Through the program, participants developed energy teams and established energy polices, resulting in significant reductions in energy use at many of their facilities.

During a series of workshops and energy team meetings, participants were encouraged to provide updates on their progress, ask for help on specific issues, and interact with other water/wastewater professionals in a friendly and open environment. This type of interaction was commonly mentioned by participants as one of the highlights of the program.

This technical session will be presented by a panel composed of alumni of the program, energy engineers from SnoPUD, and strategic energy management practitioners from ESI to replicate the open environment of an energy team meeting. Panelists will discuss the program and describe both the difficulties and successes they experienced. Technical topics will range from wastewater-specific equipment upgrades and operational changes to energy model development and the measurement and verification (M&V) process to quantify energy savings. Organizational topics would include the development of an energy team, developing an energy-conscious culture, and effective communication strategies.