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Making the Right Choices for Your Utility & Community

Examples of Multi-Benefit Investment & Community Engagement in Action

Case study originally published by the EPA


All across America, water utilities act as anchor institutions to safeguard public health, protect the environment, and sustain critical water infrastructure investments for their communities. To provide sustainable, cost-effective services, water utilities are regularly faced with the need to make large capital investments to increase levels of treatment, replace aging infrastructure, build major facility upgrades, or transform traditional treatment plants into more cost-effective “water resource recovery facilities” — all while keeping rates affordable for their customers.

These challenges translate into necessary, often costly capital program investments that require public understanding and support. Utilities and water organizations can build public support by effectively engaging their community, understanding community priorities, and demonstrating how those priorities have been incorporated into project decision-making. EPA’s Augmented Alternatives Analysis (AAA) capital project decision-making process is a step-by-step, sound, easily explainable, and transparent way to incorporate community values and best meet utility and water organizational needs as they evaluate and select infrastructure investments.

This [case study] describes how two very different organizations applied EPA’s AAA process to engage their community, incorporate and evaluate the full range of economic, social, and environmental benefits into their analysis, and identify a cost-effective investment approach that best suited their needs. The second case example profiles the Saco Water Resource Recovery Department (WRRD) in Maine, a wastewater utility within a city government organizational structure that is facing the need to make significant investments in infrastructure resilience to address increasingly frequent flooding events.

Read the entire EPA case study here.

Dan Bisson, Vice President at Tighe & Bond, Technical Consultant for Saco WRRD

“The WRRD found this iterative analysis process an asset that allowed them to address issues that may have been overlooked. This leads to an understanding of stakeholder needs, incorporated through a set of performance ranges, that can be fairly and impartially compared across all alternatives to find the optimum solution to fit community needs now and into the future.”