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Since September 2002, the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) has been developing new international standards for the definition and measurement of service activities relating to drinking water and wastewater systems. The project wzas initiated, in part, to address conclusions reached by agencies of the United Nations, national government officials, international non-governmental organizations, and industry professionals, concerning the major challenges facing the water supply and sanitation sector in the years to come, including: 1) keeping pace with a net population growth of more than a billion people over the next 15 years; 2) closing the coverage and service gap; 3) ensuring sustainability of existing and new services; and 4) improving the quality of services. The challenges of making capital investments and maintaining sustainable infrastructure on an international scale, have highlighted the potential benefits of implementing quality management principles for drinking water and wastewater systems that can help maximize service reliability, customer acceptance, and protection of public health and the environment.

To craft the new guidelines, ISO has formed a new technical committee (ISO/TC 224) with representatives from 23 countries. The U.S. is an active participant on the ISO/TC 224 with the American Water Works Association (AWWA) serving as the leading U.S. delegate to the overall effort. The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) is also providing support through its Targeted Action Fund to U.S. delegates serving on the ISO/TC 224 workgroup charged with developing standards for service activities related to wastewater systems.

This paper discusses the work of the ISO/TC 224, the development of the emerging standard, and its relationship to other ongoing quality, environmental, and utility management initiatives. Key elements of the standard as well as several issues still under debate, such as the inclusion of a set of core performance indicators into the standard, linkages with the ISO 9000 and 14000 series, and the involvement of the U.S. technical advisory group (U.S. TAG) in the ISO/TC 224 are also discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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