A partnership of water sector organizations—the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) and the WateReuse Association—with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—proudly announce the recipients of the inaugural Utility of the Future (UOTF) Today Recognition Program. The program celebrates the progress and exceptional performance of wastewater utilities while supporting the widespread adoption of the innovative UOTF business model.

Sixty-one public and private utilities from across the U.S., Canada, and Denmark selected from an impressive number of first year entries by a peer committee of utility leaders. The recipients will be recognized and honored during a September 27 ceremony that will be held in conjunction with WEFTEC 2016—WEF’s 89th annual technical exhibition and conference—in New Orleans, La. The recipients will receive a display flag and a special certificate to further identify and promote their outstanding achievement as a Utility of the Future Today organization.

The UOTF concept was first introduced in 2013 to guide utilities of all sizes toward smarter, more efficient operations and a progression to full resource recovery with enhanced productivity, sustainability, and resiliency. Since then many utilities have successfully implemented new and creative programs to address local environmental and community priorities.

The selection committee selected utilities for recognition based upon the adoption of UOTF principles (water reuse, watershed stewardship, beneficial biosolids reuse, community partnering & engagement, energy efficiency, energy generation & recovery, and nutrient & materials recovery) as the “Organizational Culture of the Future.”

“Many utilities optimize their operations, consistently meet or exceed their regulatory requirements, and engage their employees and communities in meaningful and productive ways,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “We are excited about this new opportunity to recognize the achievements of small, medium and large forward-thinking utilities that are providing sustainable, efficient, and value-added service to their communities.”

“EPA has been pleased to provide input to the partnering Associations on this important new program,” said Andrew Sawyers, Director of EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management. “We believe it will play an important role in EPA’s efforts to advance effective and sustainable practices that will help utilities across the sector on their journey to becoming the Utility of the Future.”

"NACWA applauds all the recipients of the inaugural Utility of the Future Recognition Program," said NACWA CEO Adam Krantz. "Utility leaders are engaged in unparalleled innovation and this recognition will inspire the sector as a whole to achieve still untapped economic and environmental benefits for their communities and the nation."

To learn more about the Utility of the Future (UOTF) Today Recognition Program, visit www.wefnet.org/utilityrecognition.