Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department (CMUD) has received local, state, and national awards. Below is a list of recent awards:
CMUD Earns National Recognition
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department has received the Platinum Award for Utility Excellence from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA).
AMWA consists primarily of water utility executives for larger public drinking water systems from across North America. CMUD was one of 10 utilities to qualify for the Platinum Award this year. Director Barry Gullet accepted the award on October 22, along with utility leaders from other communities including New York City, San Diego and St. Paul, Minnesota.
To earn this recognition, CMUD was evaluated on achievement of 10 Attributes of Effective Utility Management as established by the U.S. EPA in partnership with several professional associations. The 10 Attributes include: product quality, customer satisfaction, employee & leadership development, operational optimization, financial viability, infrastructure stability, operational resiliency, community sustainability, water resource adequacy and stakeholder understanding & support.
AMWA’s October 22 news release described CMUD’s specific achievements as follows:
“CMUD has shifted from a rapid-growth to maintenance focus, with a new emphasis on continuous improvement. Refusing to compromise essential services, CMUD earned a third AAA bond rating, continued building cash reserves, improved its debt service coverage ratio and maintained competitive rates. Customer trust was established through collaborative development of a 40-point action plan. Transparent stakeholder communications included a rate study involving public input, resulting in rate structure changes that provide more stable revenue while maintaining affordability and conservation incentives. As a founding leader in the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group, CMUD reaffirms its commitment to protecting shared natural resources.”
The entire CMUD organization shares credit for this distinguished honor, as do our professional colleagues throughout the City who support CMUD, our elected leaders, Advisory Committee, customers and other community stakeholders. We are fortunate to live and work in a community that values our natural resources and supports the continued delivery of high-quality drinking water and wastewater services.
Link to news article by Water World.
EPA Region IV Safe Drinking Water Act Excellence Award
This is a federal award recognizing Charlotte’s water professionals for providing consistently superior drinking water treatment and safe delivery to citizens. This is a particularly significant recognition because it highlights our community water system among nominees from EPA Southeast Region 4 (8 states). Our state regulators and industry peers in N.C. endorsed Charlotte-Mecklenburg as North Carolina’s nominee for this award in the large surface system category; ultimately our federal regulators in Atlanta selected Charlotte as the EPA honoree for the southeast US region.
The award recognizes the sustained, comprehensive team effort, commitment and expertise required to provide safe drinking water – including plant operation and consistently outstanding water treatment, and supporting services like quality control, distribution, maintenance, customer service, system capacity planning, financial management, rates & programs that encourage water efficiency and community outreach.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Peak Performance Awards
City of Charlotte Honors Employee of the Year
Charlotte City Council honored Don Gariepy, the 2010 City Employee of the Year, at their May 9th business meeting. Gariepy has worked as a Water Treatment Plant Mechanic with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities since June 2007.
“Don is dedicated to continuous improvement and has earned a reputation for going above and beyond, both off and on the clock,” said Barry Gullet, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Key Business Executive. “He is passionate about his job and is committed to helping others improve so they are at their best.”
When it comes to his own job performance, Don sets the bar high. He has successfully completed some of the most technical preventative maintenance courses offered and has taken a leading role to implement at least five new process changes that have saved the City money and materials.
Off the clock, Don serves as a youth pastor and is earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology through UNC Charlotte. The married father of two also volunteers in a leadership program that mentors at-risk students to consider careers in public service.
“This is overwhelming, I feel honored just for being nominated,” said Gariepy. “I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my team. It’s a dynamic and culture I’ve never worked in before. It’s great.”
The Employee of the Year award is a 48 year-old City tradition acknowledging an employee whose efforts, ideas, suggestions and courtesy in job performance entitle special recognition. The award is sponsored by The Employers Association and recipients are nominated by their co-workers and selected by an independent panel of judges consisting of local Human Resources professionals and educators.
The Employers Association provides human resources and training services to more than 860 member organizations of all sizes and industries, both public and private.
National Industry Award for Educational Water Video
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities (Utilities) earned national recognition among industry peers for its new educational video, called "Clean Water for a Healthy Community." The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) selected Utilities to receive their 2010 National Environmental Achievement Award in Public Information & Education Award - Video Category.
Each year, Utilities staff provide tours and speak to more than 7,000 children and adults at neighborhood association meetings each year. "From those meetings we saw an opportunity," said Cam Coley, spokesperson for Utilities, "to create a short video to show the value of clean water and how water and wastewater services are provided."
"This was a collaborative effort. We appreciate the significant assistance we received from the City of Charlotte's Corporate Communications, Charlotte Fire Department, Health Department, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Land Use and Environmental Services Agency, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Advisory Chairman, and coworkers.
"We are pleased to be recognized," Coley said, "and we plan to add more educational videos to our website."
The video is available here.
Biosolids Program Recognized by National Magazine
Utilities' McDowell Creek Plant Certification
The McDowell Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Huntersville achieved the prestigious ISO 14001:2004 certification, making it the third Utilities work team in three years to demonstrate environmental leadership and efficiency in this way.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) creates international standards for business and government entities to promote increased quality, environmental consciousness, safety and efficiency. The ISO 14001:2004 certification addresses various aspects of environmental management.
The framework to do that, called an Environmental Management Systems, is a tool to:
* Identify and control environmental impact
* Improve environmental performance continually
* Implement a systematic approach to setting and achieving environmental objectives and demonstrating those were achieved.
In addition to the McDowell Creek Plant, the Mallard Creek Water Reclamation Facility in the University area and the Utilities biosolids program also are ISO 14001:2004 certified. These have been accomplished solely through internal staff efforts, an uncommon and cost-saving achievement. As a result of implementing the ISO program, Utilities has seen significant savings in operating costs totaling about $290,000 in a year.
Utilities plans to continue the ISO program at its three other wastewater treatment facilities as resources allow.
Utilities Earns International GIS Award
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities was one of 180 worldwide recipients recently selected from more than 100,000 nominees to receive the Special Achievement in GIS award from the Environmental System Research Institute. The award recognizes the overall quality of our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program, which is used to help manage assets, improve business processes and ultimately enhance customer service.
The award was presented in August during the 28th Annual International GIS Users Conference in San Diego. Recipients were nominated and selected by industry peers. Our program was the only winner from North Carolina, and was recognized alongside top GIS programs including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the United Nations Joint Logistics Centre and the Hong Kong SAR Government Planning Department.
Local Water Utility Receives Three Environmental Awards
The Charlotte Business Journal and Centralina Council of Governments recently recognized Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities for its leadership in environmental initiatives. The Charlotte Business Journal today presented Utilities with two awards during its Green Awards luncheon held at the Convention Center. These honor the utility's work in two areas:
The Green Nonprofit Business Award recognizes Utilities as a whole for the variety of environmental programs and initiatives in place there.
The Green Commercial New Construction Project Award recognizes the new Utilities Environmental Services Facility off
Billy Graham Parkway
that includes numerous environmentally sound features. Utilities is seeking LEED certification, which would make it the first of City government buildings to be certified.
Utilities recently received a third award from the Centralina Council of Governments. The Region of Excellence Award in Environmental Planning and Conservation honors the water department's commitment to the environment and sustainable business practices.
Some highlights of the utility's environmental initiatives include:
* Incorporating sustainable products and features in the Environmental Services Facility. The building saves water and energy and includes daylighting, recycled materials and products that improve indoor air quality.
* Water reuse equipment and construction of rain gardens installed during the McDowell Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion.
* Our biosolids recycling program, where solids from the water and wastewater treatment processes are safely land-applied rather than landfilled.
* Programs to protect land for water quality and wildlife preservation.
* Earning certification and operating under IS0 14001 Environmental Management standards at the Mallard Creek Water Reclamation Facility.
* Award-winning environmental education programs, including the Blue Planet Water Environmental Center and our WaterSmart conservation and community awards program.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities is a department of the City of Charlotte, providing drinking water and wastewater services to more than 750,000 people in Mecklenburg County.
2007 National Gold Award for Competitiveness
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities earned national recognition among industry peers for its competitive business strategies and sound fiscal management. The Gold Award for Competitiveness Achievement was formally presented to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) in October 2007.
Since 1995, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities has engaged in managed competition practices and was among the first public water agencies in the U.S. to successfully compete against the private sector. Over the years, Utilities has formally competed for, optimized or privately contracted the operation of various internal services including water treatment plants and wastewater plants, meter reading, residuals management and other activities.
To date, Utilities has never lost a competitive bid, and the competitive efforts are among many tools used by Charlotte-Mecklenburg to earn and retain AAA utility revenue bond ratings and, in turn, maintain economical water/sewer rates and fees for customers. All of these accomplishments were cited as part of the AMWA award.
Environmental Management Nets 'Above & Beyond' Award
Honor recognizes employer support for guard members on active duty. Since 9/11, Utilities has had several in our family called to duty as members of National Guard or Armed Forces Reserves.
In 2005, the N.C. Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve and the N.C. Air National Guard (ANG) presented the Utilities Environmental Management Division with an "Above and Beyond" Award for supporting its employees who also happen to be citizen soldiers.
Blue Planet Earns National Award
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities received the 2004 National Environmental Achievement Award from the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA). The award specifically recognizes excellence in the Public Information & Education - Educational Program Category for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities' development of the Blue Planet Water Environmental Center . This hands-on water education facility is located in a 9,800-square foot room inside the Lee S. Dukes Water Treatment Plant in Huntersville. The Blue Planet was mostly funded through a federal EPA grant and opened to the public in December 2003.
Utilities Receives National Award
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities received the 2004 national Excellence in Management award from the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA). The award recognizes progressive management tactics by Utilities in areas including finance, watershed based activities and win-win partnerships.