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County Sanitation District 1 (CSD-1) in Sacramento, California provides wastewater collection services to approximately 750,000 people over a 268 square mile service area in Sacramento, California. In response to the anticipated promulgation of Capacity, Management, Operations, and Maintenance (CMOM) regulations, CSD-1 initiated an evaluation of its practices to identify improvements needed to meet these regulations. Based on the results of this evaluation, staff identified strategies to improve practices and performance, and outlined a draft Sanitary Sewer Management Plan (SSMP). This draft SSMP outline included budgetary level schedule, staffing plan, cost estimates, and revenue requirements. CSD-1's Board of Directors approved initial rate increases and staff initiated implementation of the highest priority strategies in early 2003.

Concurrent with implementation of the SSMP strategies, CSD-1 initiated a leadership development program to provide managers and supervisors with the skills necessary to lead a utility by focusing on performance measures. This program included training on various types of businesses and the need to align business strategy, culture, and leadership practices. Each manager and supervisor completed a 360-degree leadership assessment and, working with their supervisor, identified a leadership development plan based on the outcome of their assessment. Staff initiated development of measurable performance indicators. At the time, it was not possible to develop the data necessary to monitor an effective “library” of performance indicators due to an antiquated computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Replacement of the CMMS was initiated.

In late 2003, CSD-1 began integrating asset management principles into their business practices. This process began with an extensive assessment of current practices compared to “state of the art” practices in use in Australia and New Zealand. A few staff members toured utilities in Australia and New Zealand to learn about asset management principles as used in day-to-day activities. One of the key asset management principles is risk-based decision-making.

Staff immediately recognized that benefits could be maximized and cost to the rate-payers could be minimized by applying asset management principles to implementation of the SSMP. This paper describes the strategic business plan developed as a result of this recognition and the lessons learned during its development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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