Partnership for Clean Water

The Partnership for Clean Water is a global optimization and recognition program for wastewater utilities. It was established in 2016 as a parallel program to drinking water’s Partnership for Safe Water.

PWC’s Water Reclamation Facilities have joined the Partnership for Clean Water which focuses on wastewater treatment plant optimization.  Plant optimization improves effluent water quality, providing a margin of safety beyond current regulatory requirements. The goal is to achieve this in as energy-efficient a manner as possible, limiting consumption of the earth’s natural resources. This voluntary program was established “for utilities, by utilities” to provide wastewater utility staff with the tools and resources needed to comprehensively assess wastewater plant performance and develop plans to improve operations, performance, and efficiency.   The Rockfish Creek WRF is currently in the final phase of optimization within the Partnership for Clean Water. Upon completion of this phase the Rockfish Creek WRF will be eligible to be recognized throughout the wastewater community for their progress through the program’s milestones and optimization achievements.

Why Optimize?

With the increasing scarcity of high-quality raw water sources, drinking water utilities may be forced to consider treatment and use of alternative sources, such as impacted surface waters, aquifer recharge and recovery, or reuse. This new reality makes it increasingly difficult to define where “wastewater” ends and where “drinking water” begins, a sentiment echoed throughout the water sector. Optimizing the performance of wastewater treatment facilities to improve the quality of effluent water discharged to the natural environment can help to protect the quality of surface waters that may be utilized as a downstream drinking water source.  The steps taken to improve effluent water quality may also result in improvements in operational efficiencies and operating costs. The program’s unique self-assessment process can help to create a focus on results and a culture of excellence.

Utility Eligibility

The utility must operate a wastewater treatment facility to participate in the wastewater treatment plant optimization program. Plants of all sizes and process configurations are eligible to participate in the Partnership for Clean Water. There are four phases to the Partnership for Clean Water.  The first three phases are required. The last is optional:

  • Phase I – Commitment: Utilities complete the Membership Application.
  • Phase II – Baseline Data Collection: Wastewater treatment plants submit 12 months of effluent quality performance data to the Partnership. Data are submitted on an annual basis for as long as the utility wishes to participate in the Partnership. By continuing to analyze performance and submit data, the utility demonstrates the effect of their ongoing optimization efforts on effluent quality.
  • Phase III – Self-Assessment: Wastewater treatment plants complete a comprehensive self-assessment of plant performance and operations. The self-assessment process follows the EPA Comprehensive Correction Program framework and allows for the identification of Performance Limiting Factors and the development of targeted Action Plans to improve performance. Self-assessment results are peer-reviewed by utility optimization experts. Upon completion of a successful review, the utility receives the Directors Award. Submissions of annual data are required to maintain Director’s Award status, which is recognized by the Partnership at five year intervals.
  • Phase IV – Optimized System (Optional): This optional phase of the Partnership for Clean Water is currently under development. It is anticipated to recognize wastewater treatment plants that have demonstrated performance and operational optimization, subsequent to their receipt of the Director’s Award.

Subscriber Benefits

The potential benefits of Partnership for Clean Water utility participation are great and include many of the following:

  • Progress towards optimized operations, improved effluent quality, and increased operational efficiencies by applying the Partnership’s guidance and optimization tools.
  • Increased preparedness for current and future regulatory requirements.
  • Access to the Annual Report’s summary data to enable comparison with other program participants.
  • Employees demonstrate a sense of purpose and a personal and team commitment to achieving the highest wastewater treatment performance standards.
  • Receive networking and committee participation opportunities, receiving valuable industry exposure critical for professional growth and development.