Recognizing and Providing
Incentives for Excellence in

        md Wastewater
   tility Management


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a growing number
of states have developed voluntary performance-based environmental
programs that recognize facilities with high levels of environmental com-
pliance and performance and provide incentives to encourage continuous
environmental improvement. Many water and wastewater utilities already
demonstrate these high levels of performance and could benefit from
membership in these programs. As a result, EPA and states are interested
in increasing the membership of  these utilities in these programs.

At the national level, EPA developed the National Environmental Perfor
mance Track program, which recognizes environmental leadership and
continuous environmental improvement of facilities from all sectors.
In addition, more than 20 states  have similar programs. The federal and
state programs share many criteria, of which one of the most important is
the  need to either have in place,  or commit to develop, an environmental
management system (EMS). An EMS is a powerful tool that can help utili-
ties address key issues like increasing energy efficiency, reducing operat-
ing  costs, ensuring effective  workforce transition, and reducing future
liabilities. EPA and states see an  EMS as a key driver for achieving and
maintaining high levels of performance and sustainability at utilities and
other facilities.

Read further to learn more about these programs and their incentives,
as well as  EMS benefits and tools to assist utilities in developing an
EMS. Contact information for Performance Track and the state programs
is also provided.

What Is an Environmental Management System:
An EMS is a comprehensive management system for identifying, monitoring, and
managing activities that have potential environmental impacts. EMSs provide
structure  and consistency for overseeing daily activities that shift the environmen-
tal focus from reactive to proactive and from focusing exclusively on regulatory
compliance to focusing on  continual environmental performance in all operations.
The implementation of an EMS at water and wastewater utilities can result in
increased efficiency, reduced costs, and greater operational consistency; improved
ability to  meet environmental compliance requirements; improved succession plan-
ning; and better relationships with regulators.
EPA recognizes that EMSs are a relatively new concept for many water and waste-
water utilities, and that developing an EMS is often the greatest challenge facing
utilities seeking recognition in Performance Track and similar state programs.
Working with utilities that  have successfully implemented an EMS, EPA has devel-
oped a number of state-of-the-art tools to help wastewater utilities understand
the benefits of adopting an EMS. These tools have been compiled in an EMS  Tool-
box, and are available free of charge at These tools include:
   EMS Handbook for Wastewater Utilities
   EMS Compendium for Wastewater Utility Managers
   Case studies on successful  EMS implementation at wastewater and
   water utilities
A similar  implementation guide for water utilities, Environmental Management
Systems: A Tool to Help Water Utilities Manage More Effectively, is available at

The "Bottom Line"—Why Should Your Utility Participate
EPA and state performance-based environmental programs can provide utilities with a
number of important benefits, including:
   Recognition at the national and/or state levels
   Regulatory and administrative incentives, such as permit flexibility and expedited
   permit reviews
   Improved relations with regulators
   Sharing information on successful approaches
•  Enhanced  reputation among peers
   Acknowledgement as community environmental leaders

What Is a  Performance-Based Environmental  Program?
Performance-based environmental programs are voluntary partnership programs support-
ed by EPA and states to recognize and provide various incentives to public and private
facilities that voluntarily identify and commit to goals for further environmental perfor-
mance improvement beyond compliance, and report progress toward these goals.
"As only the second wastewater treatment facility to participate in
Performance Track, we see participation as an important extension of
our efforts to  reach out to our constituents and educate them on our
innovative efforts to protect the local environment as well as further
our leadership in the wastewater industry."
                 — James Newton, Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility,
                                                      Kent County, DE

EPA's Performance Track Program
EPA's National Environmental Performance Track ("Performance Track") program
recognizes and drives environmental excellence by providing national recognition
and other incentives to both public and private facilities with strong environmental
records that go above and beyond their legal requirements. Performance Track is a
partnership between EPA and program members that encourages continuous envi-
ronmental improvement through EMSs, emphasizes measurable results, and supports
community outreach.
Members voluntarily identify and publicly commit to typically four (or two for small
facilities) measurable goals in an effort to further improve their environmental per-
formance. Currently, approximately 10 percent of the members of Performance Track
are public sector organizations. For more information about Performance Track and
member benefits, visit

State Performance-Based  Programs
More than 20 states have their own performance-based programs with similar
criteria, goals, and reporting requirements as Performance Track. In fact, states often
partner with Performance Track and provide similar benefits. In addition, many states
provide multiple levels, or tiers, of membership and thus may be more attractive than
Performance Track as a starting point for water and wastewater utilities interested in
membership in one of these programs.

"Our participation as a member of EPA's Performance Track program
was beneficial in confirming the value and principles of having an
EMS program, and in helping us to put our local environmental
improvement efforts into the national context. We also benefited from
the accessibility to  EPA experts, and their ideas and encouragement
for our activities."
                  — Peter Ruffier,  Wastewater Division,  City of Eugene, OR
"By achieving an EMS, we have provided a level of confidence to
credit rating agencies that the utility is being run as a business and as
efficiently as possible."
                 — John B. Cook, Former General Manager/Chief Engineer,
                                 Charleston Water System, Charleston, SC

     In order to participate in either Performance Track or a similar state program, water and waste-
     water utilities need to:
        Implement an EMS or commit to an EMS for some state tiers
        Commit to continuous environmental improvement
        Possess a record of sustained environmental compliance
        Conduct public outreach
     Below are brief summaries of three state programs. Utilities are encouraged to look for
     similar programs in their states. For additional information about these state programs, visit
     Indiana Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) is modeled after Performance Track
     and focuses on improving Indiana's environment and business climate through innovation
     and efficient resource allocation. Any regulated entity in Indiana is eligible to become an ESP
     member provided it can demonstrate a record of environmental compliance, implementation
     and maintenance of an EMS, and commitment to continuous environmental improvement.
     The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is actively pursuing water and waste-
     water utility participation in ESP through advertisement of free EMS development workshops
     and assistance with completing the ESP application.
     ESP offers a number of incentives, including expedited permits, flexible permits, reduced
     recordkeeping and  reporting frequencies, and reduced monitoring (where applicable and
     appropriate).  For more information about ESP and additional member benefits, visit
     "The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is actively working
     with water and wastewater utilities to encourage their participation in the
     Indiana Environmental Stewardship Program by providing free environmental
     management system workshops."
                          - Daniel Murray, Assistant Commissioner, Indiana Department
                                        of Environmental Management, Indianapolis, IN
     Performance and Sustainability            ~
     Utilities participating in Performance Track and/or similar state programs can also enhance their
     efforts to sustain the nation's vital water infrastructure. Through the Sustainable Water Infrastructure
     Initiative, EPA is collaborating with six national water and wastewater associations to promote
     effective utility management based on a series of Attributes of Effectively Managed Utilities and other
     Keys to Management Success. This initiative will facilitate the adoption of sustainable management
6    practices like EMSs, asset management, and performance measurement that ensure sustainable utility
     operations and infrastructure. Visit for more information.

North Carolina Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI) has three levels of mem-
bership: Environmental Partner; Rising Environmental Steward; and Environmental Steward.
Depending on the level of participation, ESI offers a number of incentives such as established
timeframes for permit decisions; opportunities to interact with regulators; a single point of
contact; and technical assistance. For more information about ESI and additional member
benefits, visit
"The city has recognized the value of EMS, wants to do more than what
is required, and move to sustainable levels. This is the road we have to be
on. The ESI  program puts the city and the state of North Carolina on the
same road."
                                         — Matt Jordan, City of Gas ton/a, A/C
Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP) offers three types of participation:
Environmental Enterprise (E2); Exemplary Enterprise (E3); and Extraordinary Environmental
Enterprise (E4). VEEP incentives to members include fee discounts for water and waste permit-
tees, alternate compliance methods, and flexibility in hazardous waste storage requirements.
VEEP has signaled its close alignment with  Performance Track by entering into a formal
Memoranda of Agreement with EPA Headquarters and EPA Region 3. For additional informa-
tion about VEEP and other member benefits, visit
"The development of the EMS and participation in VEEP has challenged our
employees to be more proactive in ensuring environmental awareness and
compliance at our facilities. Our employees have embraced the challenge
and this has helped us become better stewards of the environment in the
community we serve."
         — Parimal Patel, Newport News Waterworks, City of Newport News, VA

What Can an EMS Save You?
When the energy crunch hit California in 1999, the City of Eugene, Oregon,
Wastewater Division benefited from its EMS initiative by reducing energy con-
sumption. In addition to cost savings realized, the power company also gave the
Wastewater Division an energy credit. Combined, the cost savings and the credit
totaled more than $100,000.
By establishing Fuel Reduction Teams for their water and wastewater plants
and implementing RouteSmart software as part of an EMS improvement program,
the Charleston, South Carolina, Water System is saving $48,000 per year
on fuel costs.
Through EMS implementation, Camden County, New Jersey, realized a 25 per
cent reduction in operations and maintenance costs (including the treatment plant
and collection system) from $21.2 million in 1996 to $16 million in 2000.
"I highly recommend U.S. EPA's EMS implementation documents to any
utility interested in saving money for its ratepayers and improving its
performance. These guides include real life examples of EMS-related
successes that many utilities have already achieved and then provide
easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions to enable other utilities to realize
similar benefits."
                                     — Andy Kricun, Deputy Executive Director,
Next Steps
EPA and states are very interested in including more utilities in EPA's Performance Track
program and/or similar state programs. We encourage your utility to apply if you think you
qualify for membership. For more information on membership criteria  and how to apply
please go to: or
      United States
      Environmental Protection Agency
      Office of Water (4204M)
      Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation (1807T)

      August 2007
 '' I Environmental
     Performa nceTrack
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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