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There is no shortage of challenges facing today's water and wastewater utilities. The demand to increase efficiency and productivity comes from many factions, including elected and appointed officials, management and ratepayers. The workforce and customer base are changing as a result of an aging population, different attitudes and perceptions, and dramatic shifts in demographics. New and more stringent regulations are requiring more resources, demands for greater monitoring and innovative solutions. The infrastructure that utilities operate and maintain is aging and will require a greater level of investment than in the past. With all of these challenges, customers still expect safe water, effective wastewater treatment, and rates that hold steady and remain relatively inexpensive compared to other vital commodities.

Over the last ten years, waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States and Canada have challenged the confidence of the public to the extent that new laws have been enacted and additional ones proposed requiring accreditation of water service providers. Confidence questions have, in part, spurred bottled water sales and achieving customer satisfaction is more challenging than ever. At the same time, the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) is developing new standards specific to water and wastewater utility operations. The combination of these events may suggest the beginnings of a trend toward more certification or accreditation of utilities. Utility continuous improvement programs are crucial to meet growing demands for demonstrable accountability.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-01-01

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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