The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with UMass Lowell and its partner organizations, recently hosted a workshop on “Saving Money and Improving Performance at Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities” at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center in downtown Lowell.
The workshop, which attracted more than 100 water and wastewater professionals as well as students from the University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering program, presented an approach to managing utilities known as “Effective Utility Management,” or EUM.
EUM is structured to help utilities respond to current and future challenges - such as rising costs, aging infrastructure and increasingly stringent regulations - through the recognition and adoption of utility attributes that lead to an effectively managed utility. Guest speakers tailored their remarks to several of these attributes, including community sustainability, stakeholder understanding and support, operational optimization, infrastructure stability and financial viability.
Curt Spalding, EPA Region 1’s Regional Administrator, gave a timely speech about the Rhode Island floods in March and how critical EUM can be in ensuring the resiliency of water and wastewater utilities faced with such events.
“In addition to the many wonderful speakers we heard from, attendees benefited from a hands-on exercise designed to demonstrate how utilities can improve their energy management,” says civil engineering Assoc. Prof. Kenneth Lee, who is director of the Initiative for Sustainable Infrastructure at UMass Lowell.
Madeline Snow of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at UMass Lowell used a “spider chart,” or radar graph worksheet, to help utilities identify areas where they can direct efforts to reduce their energy usage.
“UMass Lowell would like to work with the EPA and our partners to conduct an annual workshop on utility management,” says Lee. “So if you missed this year’s workshop, stay tuned for a follow-up event in 2011.”