2006 Platinum Award for Sustained Competitiveness Achievement

Winners of the 2006 AMWA Platinum Awards for Sustained Competitiveness Achievement were:

  • Birmingham Water Works and Sewer Board
  • Chicago Department of Water Management
  • District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority
  • Green Bay Water Utility
  • JEA
  • Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department
  • City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department
  • Saint Paul Regional Water Services
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District

At the Birmingham Water Works and Sewer Board, comparative analysis using key benchmarks of performance, together with its Business Process Review Initiative, enabled the Board to improve the most important aspects of its business while restoring financial stability.Detailed departmental action plans support strategic goals, operating and business plans, and involve all staff in meeting customers' needs for safe, affordable water.

In 2003, Chicago's Departments of Water and Sewers merged to become the Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM).DWM is unifying procedures, visions and goals, including a comprehensive approach to protecting the city's water resources and incorporating performance management to focus on water quality and customer satisfaction.Utilizing people, processes and technology, DWM has developed, streamlined and reengineered its processes.

Since its inception in 1997, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority has implemented an internal improvement program for operational efficiencies and service enhancements. Its $2.1 billion capital improvement plan is addressing long-needed infrastructure upgrades and new regulatory mandates. WASA is also introducing technology improvements and customer service enhancements, coupled with peer review research and career development programs.

Green Bay Water Utility focused on training its people at every level and improving operations through participative management. The utility implemented cross-connection inspections on all customers, established a routine testing schedule for distribution hydrants and valves, and licenses and monitors private wells – all without an increase in staff and with a single 4-1/2 percent rate increase over the last five years.

At JEA, the TargetSmart program, based on Six Sigma methodology, has permeated its workforce, resulting in significant process improvements and cost savings. Production and infrastructure system investments were made to prepare for the future, and JEA is refining and streamlining its systems to ensure optimum performance in production, technology, productivity, reliability and customer service.

Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department has an aggressive water reclamation program that produces up to five billion gallons of reclaimed water annually for irrigation of golf courses and residential communities. A $250 million, seven-year capital improvement program is fully funded from internally generated funds and existing bonds. Returns on leadership, asset management, customer satisfaction and efficient business operations help secure the Department's competitive edge.

While experiencing rapid growth associated with mergers with water and sewer systems of nearby towns, the City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department remains committed to providing quality, affordable water to customers.Capital improvement projects to address the growth include a new utility operations center and water treatment plant.Through its Gainsharing Program, employees are rewarded for ideas on reducing costs, improving methods and increasing service quality.

Saint Paul Regional Water Services continually updates its capital improvement program and its strategic plan for technology and IT solutions. Water quality enhancement efforts are marked by replacement of the current filtering system with granular activated carbon and continuation of a corrosion control program.The utility reduced O&M costs by $2.4 million over five years without employee layoffs, undue increases in water rates, or a decrease in services.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District organizational vision includes managing for clean water and watersheds, managing environmental impacts, implementing management practices, and measuring efforts to reduce costs and resources without sacrificing quality or reliability.The District adopted the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Program Framework for improving organizational performance and has integrated a four-tier performance measurement dashboard, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and Green Business certifications.