In June 2016, the American Water Works Association
launched the Partnership for Clean Water (PCW), an
optimization and recognition program for wastewater
utilities. The PCW was established as a parallel program to
the Partnership for Safe Water, which has helped drinking
water utilities optimize performance for over 20 years.
The initial focus of the Partnership for Clean Water is
wastewater ( WW) treatment plant optimization. In the
future, programs for the optimization of reuse facilities
and collection systems will be launched. The wastewater
treatment plant optimization program seeks to optimize
plant operations to improve effluent water quality while
providing a margin of safety beyond current regula-
tory requirements. Most importantly, participants should
strive for these goals with energy efficiency in mind, lim-
iting consumption of the earth’s natural resources.
The PCW is a voluntary program established “for utili-
ties, by utilities,” to provide wastewater utilities with the
tools and support needed to carefully assess wastewater
plant performance and create strategies to improve opera-
tions, performance, and efficiency. Another cornerstone of
the PCW is recognition: Utilities are praised throughout the
wastewater community for their achievements as they work
through the program and improve their energy efficiency.
WRF sat down with Matt Vaughan and Clayton
Edwards at the City of Tulsa Water and Sewer
Department to discuss Tulsa’s experience as a char-
ter member of the Partnership for Clean Water.
Water Research Foundation: What is your role at the
City of Tulsa Water and Sewer Department, and how
long have you been working there?
Matt Vaughan: I am the Water Pollution Control Manager for
the four wastewater treatment facilities that the City of Tulsa
Water and Sewer Department operates. I have worked for the
City of Tulsa for over 21 years. I obtained a Civil Engineering
degree from Oklahoma State University and started working as
a project engineer in the Wastewater Design section of Public
Works. I predominantly worked on
large wastewater collection and
treatment projects for 15 years, and
then I moved to the Operations
side of Public Works as the Water
Pollution Control Manager. I have
been in this position for 6 years.
Clayton Edwards: I am the Director
of Water and Sewer. I have been at
the City of Tulsa for over 31 years.
I started at the City in engineer-
ing and shifted to operations. I
have worked in the Operations
Division for about the last 15 years
Since the Partnership for
Clean Water (PCW) is an
optimization program, what
are some of the biggest
Vaughan: Here at Tulsa, our
greatest optimization challenge is to maintain high
quality service for our customers at the lowest possible
rate. Infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement costs
are driving up rates and we are trying to minimize the
impact by effective managing our assets and operations.
Edwards: In my opinion, our largest optimization challenge
really pertains to budgeting and cost and how to address budget pressures and funding issues. Optimizing our operations is
seen as a strategy to improve processes and reduce costs while
still maintaining high quality treatment. With cost savings from
operational expenses, we can balance the capital needs we
have due to aging infrastructure. We are looking to leverage
funds between the operations and capital funding needs.
Q&A with Matt Vaughan
and Clayton Edwards
New Opportunities for Wastewater Treatment Plant Optimization