Oakland County WRC Awarded 2020 ‘Utility of the Future Today’ Recognition

The Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s (WRC) Office has been named a 2020 “Utility of the Future Today” facility by the Virginia-based Water Environment Federation and other national agencies. The award recognizes innovative water utilities that provide value-added services that advance resource efficiency and recovery and establish sustainable, livable communities. The WRC was one of only 65 utilities in the United States to be recognized.

Thermal Hydrolysis Pretreatment. Photos courtesy of WRC

“The 2020 ‘Utility of the Future Today’ recognition is a testament to our ‘Purely Resourceful’ innovative thinking that allows our team to see the long-term vision we have for Oakland County,” said Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash. “All of the programs and initiatives that have been completed and are still in development would not have been possible without the collaboration of public and community stakeholders, as well as our trusted partners that include local and state municipalities and utilities. This ultimately keeps in mind our focus on protecting public health and natural resources while contributing to our region’s economic prosperity.”

The WRC was recognized for its organizational culture that embraces teamwork and cooperation and develops and enhances community partnerships inside and outside of its 742-square-mile jurisdiction.

Four projects that highlight these efforts include:

  • The Clinton River Water Resource Recovery Facility Rehabilitation Project: Investing millions to upgrade and rehabilitate the aging Pontiac Wastewater Treatment Plant to transform it from a facility serving only the City of Pontiac to a regional asset serving the city and its 12 neighboring communities.
  • MDOT I-75 Stormwater Storage Tunnel: Constructed by the Michigan Department of Transportation and operated by the WRC, the storage tunnel will capture stormwater runoff from the highway’s surface to prevent it from entering local storm drains, resulting in additional capacity for the surrounding communities’ infrastructure.
  • Oakland-Macomb Sewer Interceptor System: In partnership with the Macomb County Public Works Commissioner’s Office and the Great Lakes Water Authority, the project will replace aging pumps with energy-efficient models and rehabilitate the pipe to extend its useful life by several decades.
  • Evergreen-Farmington Sewage Disposal System: Through regional partnerships, this project will secure additional capacity for the Evergreen-Farmington Sewage Disposal System to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows.
I-75 MDOT partnership.

Through this process, WRC maintained a consistent metered ratio of 95 percent for the municipal systems maintained and operated. This critical measure verified accurate billing meters for which most sewer revenue is based. Other factors included managing operating project budgets, reports and tracking with area municipalities.

The WRC will be recognized during a pre-recorded awards ceremony for virtual viewing during the Utility Leaders Morning at WEF’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference Connect on Friday, Oct. 9.

The “Utility of the Future Today” recognition program is a joint initiative led by the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the WateReuse Association, and is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Wastewater Management, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

About the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office

The Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office is dedicated to protecting public health and safety, preserving natural resources and a healthy environment, maintaining reliable, high quality service, ensuring the value of investment and contributing to economic prosperity. We set goals that encourage efforts to meet or exceed local, state and federal water quality standards, environmental regulations and safety requirements within our control. To learn more about us, visit www.oakgov.com/water.