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This paper describes the transition of a wastewater treatment facility with radically changed expectations for performance. The plant was to be taken from a “plant-to-hide” to a show place for the community. As part of this new expectation, plant staff was expected to further implement Best Business Practices throughout the facility operation. The Best Business Practices were to be refined through the ideas and experiences of the public employees in partnership with a private contract operations firm. This was the second phase of an earlier Best Business Project done with the same partnership that led to 9 million a year savings. The partnership between Pinellas County Utilities and United Water was an unusual merging of talents and experiences. One reason to use a private operations firm was to make the Utility more competitive and prevent privatization.

In the initial partnership the utility implemented a far-reaching cross training program, setup a benchmarking system, installed a computerized maintenance management system and began to change the mindset to a more competitive nature to achieve Best Business Practices. The second phase of the partnership began in 2002 and is completing initial stages of implementation in 2003. Best Business Practices require continuous improvement and so there will be no end to implementation. The paper describes many elements applied over the last several years to develop and refine Best Business Practices for the New Expectations. The areas addressed included organization, training, operations, maintenance and technology. The partnership is an example of a structured improvement program using an outside change agent that may apply to other situations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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