Clean Water Services Joins Leading Utility of the World Network

CEO Diane Taniguchi-Dennis, front left, represented Clean Water Services at the inauguration on November 13.On November 13, Clean Water Services joined the Leading Utility of the World network, considered the gold standard of utility innovation and performance. The network spans from Denver to Dubai, Scotland to San Antonio. Clean Water Services, founded 49 years ago, is the 49th LUOW member – and the first in the Pacific Northwest.

Launched at the 2017 Global Water Summit, LUOW aims to promote innovation within, and communication among, water utilities. It recognizes innovation and performance through 14 innovation areas. During the application process, each organization presents its most outstanding successes in three of these areas.

At the inauguration in Houston, Clean Water Services’ CEO Diane Taniguchi-Dennis opened with a focus on the Wastewater Treatment and Environmental Impact innovation area. “We’re transforming our used water into fertilizer, biosolids and renewable energy,” she said, highlighting examples such as:

  • Fernhill Natural Treatment System, which creates an ecological bridge for conservation between the Forest Grove Water Resource Recovery facility and the Tualatin River
  • Ever-evolving technologies for removing phosphorous from used water and transforming it into fertilizer for commercial and home use.
  • Embrace of a smart water approach, which marries data science with operational technology and information technology to optimize knowledge and decision-making
  • Tree for All, an innovative response to the challenge of cooling and cleaning the water in streams and the river
  • Pure Water Brew, which drives change in the national conversation about direct potable reuse

While discussing the second innovation area, Energy Efficiency, Taniguchi-Dennis noted, “Conveying and cleaning used water is very energy intensive. And we have a deep commitment to supporting the economic health of our region by keeping rates predictable and reasonable.” Energy Efficiency innovations include:

  • Meeting 40% of Clean Water Services’ energy needs through digester gas and solar.
  • A major upgrade of the cogeneration system at the Durham Water Resource Recovery Facility. Now fueled not only by used water, but also by fats, oils and grease, or FOG, from restaurants, the system is saving a million dollars a year on power bills and generating another $360,000 in FOG tipping fees from haulers.
  • Employee-led “energy treasure hunts” to identify possible inefficiencies and develop projects to address them.

Introducing the third innovation area, Business Development, Taniguchi-Dennis said, “We’re planning for key challenges, including water supply and security, climate change, increased regulatory requirements, urbanization and aging infrastructure.” Business Development Innovations include:

  • The integrated NPDES and MS4 watershed-based federal permit, the first of its kind when issued by the EPA in 2004 and a driver of business development innovation ever since.
  • Entrepreneurial approaches to modeling and measurement technologies such as drone, LiDAR and real time control.
  • The creation of the Clean Water Institute as a platform for sharing expertise within the US and abroad.
  • Strategies to break through traditional organizational silo and transaction-based thinking into multi-disciplinary and collective impact thinking.

A total of six organizations were named Leading Utilities of the World at the November 2019 inauguration: Clean Water Services, Great Lakes Water Authority, Orange County Water District, Philadelphia Water, Tucson Water and Unitywater.

Everything we do at Clean Water Services aims to protect public health, while enhancing the natural environment of the Tualatin River Watershed. Combining science and nature, we work in partnership with others to safeguard the river's health and vitality, ensure the economic success of our region, and protect public health for more than 600,000 people in urban Washington County.

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Mark Jockers
Government & Public Affairs Director
Clean Water Services
503.681.4450 (o)
503.701.4293 (m)

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