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Capacity, Management, Operations, and Maintenance (CMOM) Programs help utilities get a fresh perspective of what works and what does not work in all areas of their utility organization. Through workshops, interviews, and meetings, a schedule of suggested improvements is prepared that not only focuses on immediate sanitary sewer overflows (SSO)-related issues, but also on what“business”process improvements are needed. For instance, performance objectives may not be clear at multiple levels of the organization. Sewer operations and maintenance (O&M) departments may not have clear performance objectives regarding the annual extent of sewer cleaning because management staff is not clear about how sewer cleaning ranks compared to other utility activities.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) recently published the Guide to Managing Peak Wet Weather Flows in Municipal Systems (Guide) that outlines a stakeholder-based planning process called a Risk Management Approach (WEF, 2006). It was developed, in part, to use a broadbased interest group to help utilities define or confirm their organization's values, goals, and performance objectives and to help ensure that they are representative of community interests. Once these guiding criteria are established, they provide the benchmarks for integrating within the organizational structure through a CMOM Program.

The WEF Guide includes a discussion of how a CMOM Program would interface with the sixstep Risk Management Approach. The Guide's Risk Management Approach also provides a process that should help many utilities determine what capacity the conveyance and treatment system should be by revealing the breakpoint between feasible and non-feasible capacity rates. The capacity decision is an important CMOM Program component, and many performance objectives“trickle down”into the utility organization to support the capacity decision. For instance, one performance objective may be to convey and treat wet weather flows without SSOs. The extent or measure of this performance objective is developed in a structured process between the utility and the stakeholders. Once the performance objective is established, the utility's CMOM Program has a much better picture of what the various departments need to do to support the performance objective.

Utilities may find themselves under an enforcement action such as a Consent Decree, where they have to both develop a CMOM Program and a stakeholder group to respond to wet weather issues. Sometimes the compliance schedule does not allow utilities time to develop performance objectives that link with the values and goals established or confirmed by a stakeholder group. In these cases, the utilities will need interim measures and a process such as a Risk Management Approach to develop consensus-based performance objectives.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2007

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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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