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QualServe is a voluntary, continuous quality improvement program designed specifically for water and wastewater utilities. QualServe uses proven quality management tools (self-assessment survey and on-site peer review) to assist utilities with the continual improvement of both overall utility operations and customer satisfaction. QualServe was developed originally by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the AWWA Research Foundation (AWWARF), and pilot tested in 1996. The program was launched in 1997 for use initially by large water utilities (25,000 customer connections and greater), and then modified for medium water utilities (5,000 to 25,000 connections) in mid 1998. AWWA teamed with the Water Environment Federation and the Water Environment Research Foundation, and then modified/launched the program for wastewater and joint water/wastewater utilities in late 1998. Concurrently, the program has been evaluated for delivery at smaller utilities, defined as those serving between 1,000 and 5,000 connections or a comparable population. A pilot test for this size utility was conducted in late 1999 and early 2000. Presently under consideration is the appropriate mechanism for affordable delivery of the peer review to utilities of this size.

This paper will explain the basic components of the current QualServe program (selfassessment and peer review) and those components under development (including a benchmarking clearinghouse and a North American-based accreditation program). The paper will also explore how utilities in small communities can participate in QualServe and the role that local organizational units of both the Water Environment Federation and the American Water Works Association might play in facilitating the delivery of the program.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-01-01

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