with each other, they can more
effectively manage what they
are producing out of one plant,
which becomes the input to the
other plant. I often hear from our
water treatment professionals
that the more advance notice they
have about the raw water quality entering the plant, the more
effective they are in applying
appropriate treatment protocols.
Being able to most effectively
manage whatever material is
flowing into the water treatment plant is a big quality benefit.
What are the primary challenges to integrating water
and wastewater services?
Often there structural impediments to integrating. Many water
and wastewater utilities can’t easily collaborate on, or easily
integrate, a function they’re not legally tasked with managing.
Now if you have two different municipal entities or a combination of public/private entities, that doesn’t mean there are no
opportunities to collaborate and manage more effectively for
the benefit of both. However, they are generally two totally
separate legal entities, and that can be an impediment to
working together. Even though on its face it would appear that
collaboration should be easily accommodated, I have often
seen local politics play a role in impeding smart progress.
What kind of examples do you see of collaboration
between the public and private sectors?
Most of the collaboration I’ve seen between the public and
private sectors takes two forms. For one, sometimes there’s
an outright sale of a municipal system to a private entity.
Occasionally, there’s the sale of a private entity to a municipal
system. More common are public/private partnerships in the
form of a long-term lease arrangement, where the private
entity may have expertise in both water and wastewater operations, and possibly stormwater operations. The private entity
Q&A with Dennis Doll
CEO of Middlesex Water Company
On the Road to One Water
In an effort to more effectively manage water resources,
many utilities are beginning to integrate the operation and
overall management of water and wastewater facilities.
Commonly referred to as the One Water approach, utilities
recognize that water from all sources must be managed
holistically and cooperatively to meet social, economic, and
environmental needs. This also may include managing
energy as both an economic and environmental driver. But
for One Water to be fully effective, utilities need to collaborate with each other, government, and other industries.
Recently, the Water Research Foundation spoke with
board member Dennis Doll, CEO of Middlesex Water
Company, about the One Water approach, the opportunities and challenges of integrating water and wastewater
services, and the link between water and energy.
Water Research Foundation: What are the primary
benefits/drivers to integrating drinking water
Dennis Doll: When it comes to those entities that provide
both water and wastewater services, there are a number of
efficiencies and economies of scale that can be achieved. At
my company, the operators are trained in both water and
wastewater. This is effective in portions of our company where
we serve numerous remote, stand-alone water and wastewater
systems. Increasing “wrench time” on maintenance activities
and reducing travel time and cost have had a significant impact
on both cost savings and service quality for our customers.
Separate from Operations, a number of synergies can be
achieved on the administrative side. Examples include Legal,
Finance, Human Resources, Procurement, Customer Billing, etc.
Procurement policies and procedures alone provide a great
opportunity to obtain more favorable pricing from vendors,
many of whom serve both the water and wastewater industries.
There are many benefits/drivers associated with reducing
costs and improving service quality, but there can be environmental benefits as well. The water entering the intake at
a water treatment plant from a river or other surface water
source in some instances contains the effluent from a wastewater treatment plant. If the two entities are legally affiliated