W&ter Utilities as Anchor Institutions 1
Impactingtheequity,social andeconomidabric of communities and 're<
United States
Environmental Protection
Waterand wastewatautilities areon the front iinesf safeguarding public healSmd protectindfae environment
in AmericaThe^ensure that our water is clean and safe for hundreds ofimiMpeoplein communities large
and small across the countf^anyutilitiesoperate in communitieihat include populations facirasponomic
hardships such as pover,Unemployment, atadjing infrastructurdJtilities arenot immune to the effects of
these hardshipfcutthey are uniquely positioned as anchor institutohelp address them araateate positive
economic, social, and environmental impacts in their comrrlOrrityeport shares examples of how utilities
promote environmental justicesfeaun critical infrastructure investments, and partner with others to advance
community goa|®ftenwith a focus oraitility leadershipbowardcommunity equity is a continuation of EPA's
long-standing commitment to work with utilities to promote anstefe management practicesBistainable
water workforce, and sustainable communities.
Anchor Institutions
Anchor institutios areorganizatioa rooted ire specific locatioithathave a lor^erm interest in the economic
and social vitality of the surrounding community.1 These organizations are often public service entities, such as
hospitals, utilities, or universities, who have missions tied directly to the provision of critical services that increase
the well-being of the community. Importantly, anchor institutions are also place-based; they often own or maintain
large physical infrastructure, such as a campus with multiple buildings, water treatment plants, or conveyance
pipe networks that provide drinking water and wastewater services. These physical assets root the enterprise in
What Are Anchor Institutions?
Public service entities-like hospitals, universities, or utilities-which are tied to
a location due to infrastructure or mission
Entities that provide critical services and vital assets to improve economy,
health, environment and well-being in communities
Organizations that provide active civic leadership and participate in and add
to the public life and character of their community
1 Taylor, Jr., H and Luter, G., 2013. Anchor Institutions: An Interpretive Review Ess ay. [online] Community-wealth, org. Available at:  [Accessed 11 Etc ember 2020]; https:// www.wealthworks. org/basics/ exp lore-regional-wealth-building/ wealth-eight-capitals

the community in both prosperous and challenging economic times. For this reason, anchor institutions have a
long-term stake and a vested interest in a thriving community. Anchor institutions, as a result of their physical
structures (built capital), economic and financial assets (financial capital), human or social capital, and
community mission have substantial opportunity to positively contribute to the environmental, economic, social
wellbeing, and resiliency of the surrounding community.2
Are all water utilities anchor institutions?
Water utilities, by the very nature of their core misopsirations^ndphysical assets, are anchor institutions
number of watentilities across the country are now actively communicating about their contribution and seekir
to better understantthebroader contributions they can make in their commuriTtiieseutilitieslookbeyond
fence linesand da>to-day operationsThey meaningfully contribute to the *toelhg of the communiitesby
leveraging utility operations and investmertateincrease economtoealthby inviting community involvement, and
byprovidngactive civic leadershijThe purpose of this report is to highlrgtifatsome utilitiesare doing-and
whata utility can do-to broadertheircurrentcontributbns totheenvironmental, economic, social \toeihg
and resiliency^theircommunities
Water utilities can bring a holistic, mutual-benefit approach to value creation.
Looks for additional opportunities to
positively impact the community
Seeks to create co-benefits in the
region or sector
Seeks value within utility operations
Water utilities that act as anchor institutioiften embed the following characterisirats their operational DNA
•	Not \fall or Me, but Wfe: Utilities see themselves as members of the community and approach challenges
or opportunities with a collaborative mindset: what will we - as the community - do to achieve or overcome?
Utilities can leverage partnerships with like-minded entities that are also invested in the community they
•	Thriving Today, Thriving Tomorrow: Utilities understand that they will operate in the community for the
long haul and can achieve positive, lasting impacts in the community.
2 US. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of University Partnerships, 2013. Building Resiliency: The Role of Anchor Institutions in Sustaining Community Economic Development,
[online ] hudus er. gov. Ava ilab le at:  [Ac cessedllDec emb er 2020].

• Focus on Building Workforce Capacity and Skill Development: Utilities can improve their workforce
capacity by developing skills that achieve professional success, not just for individual staff within the utility,
but for their contractors and other businesses that operate within the broader community.
EPA's Sustainable Utility Management
This report is a continuation of EPA's ongoing commitment to help support water utilities across America achieve
sustainable, effective operations. Effective Utility Management, a collaborative initiative ofEPAand professional
associations across the water sector, takes a broad look at ten attributes of effectively managed utilities - from
product quality to customer satisfaction to community sustainability. For more information on Sustainable Utility
Management, including the Effective Utility Management Primer and other resources, visit:
Anchor Utility Activity Areas
A number of wter utilities around the country are working to create mutual benefits with their community throu
five strategicactivityareas The activity areas highlighfedthis reporfelign with the Community Sustainability
attribute of effectively managed utilities.3 Under the Community Sustainability attribute, the utility takes an active
leadership role in promoting and organizing community sustainability improvements through collaboration with
local partners. For example, utility leaders can manage operations, infrastructure, and investments to support the
broader economic, environmental, and social health of its community. By integrating water resource management
with other critical community infrastructure, utility leaders aid social and economic development planning,
community-wide resilience, and support for disadvantaged households, community sustainability, livability, and
access to greens pace and waterways.4
These five activity areas are explored in greater detail in the following section. Each activity area includes a range
of practice, an example from an anchor utility, and a discussion on equity. Additional resources are included in the
conclusion of this document.
3	EPA, 2017, Effective Utility Management Primer, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-01/documents/eum_primer_final_508-january2017.pdf
4	https:// www.epa.gov/sites/ production/ files/2017-01/ documents/ eum_primer_final_508-january2017.pdf

Figurel: A visual representation of the five anchor utility activity areas
5. Multi-Benefit
Investment: Utilities are
creating investment
policies, programs, and
practices that achieve
community benefits
across the broad range
of social, economic,
and environmental
community goals.
1. Job Creation: Utilities can seek to maximize employment
opportunities in their communities as employers, through
contracting and procurement, and through education,
training, and strategic investment programs.
4. Environment & Public
Health Enhancement: Utilities
protect public health and the
environment by providing safe
drinking water and protecting
our natural ecosystems.
2. Economic Health &
Water Services
Affordability: Utilities
are looking to leverage
the impact they have
on the economic
health of their
community. They seek
to provide affordable
services and can also
contribute to the
growth and prosperity
of new and existing
businesses and
3. Convening and Collaboration: Utilities can show leadership
in cultivating collaborative community partnerships and
serving as community conveners to advance shared goals and
expand the collective impact of decisions and investments.
Following eacbtility highlighteachactivity areaalso includesxampls of practicesa utilitymay implement to
positively impel the community's seen in Figure 2iet practices are organizedo a rangefrom baseline to
advancedThis range begins wijtfnactices ability may implement when they fiueused primarily on achieving
value within utility operatioiasid providinglean and safe water to comnrtiffs. Therangethenmoves outward
ard includes more advancpdactices a utiy mightimplenent to positively impatitie community directly,
where they may seek to increase the positive impact to their custeroneiraynity, or region more broadly.

Figure2: A visual representation of the range of practice within an activity area
H «
Scope of
Value Creation
Seeks value within
utility operations
Looks for additional
opportunities to
positively impact
Creates co-benefits
in the region or
Utility Highlights
The concepts in this document are based on the evwy.sdapf utilitiesand this document ihides highlights
from the following utilities:
Beckley Sanitary Board (Beckley, WV)
Capital Region Water (Harrisburg, PA)
Greater Cincinnati Water Works
(Cincinnati, OH)
•	City of Saco Water Resource Recovery Department
(Saco, ME)
•	High Line Canal Conservancy (Denver, CO)
•	Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (New
Orleans, LA)

Across the United States, some communities are rt^e^tliian the general population to experience disparities
in health, income, education, lifespan, environmental conditions, and many other factors that negatively impa
well-being. Theseommunitiesnay include tribal and indigenous populations and caitiesuof coloiandare
often geographically clustered due to inequitable land use and development patterns and practices, including
disparities in the distribution of water and other critical infrastructure. These communities are more vulnerabk
during ad after catastrophic events (e.g., flooding, tornadoes,dmdspaJevel rise), as well as during public
health and economic crise&iese disparities are the result of structural inequality in the distribution of social,
economic, and environmentalists.
Utilities recognize that they have a vested interest in thtetamgveHbeing and resiliency of their entire
community. While these institutions are forvtoautting, they also examine the historic and ongoing inequities in
their policies, prairies, siting, and services so that they can work towards creating change and ensuring that t
are not exacerbating disparities but seeking to reduce them. Water utilities have a role in addressing deep ar
persistent community inequities and doing sbnaffanchor utiles' ability to create meaningful and lasting
change regarding the economic, social, and environmental conditions in their communities.
Utilities can help address structural inequality in their community by implementing equitablffsaradirirtelrial
policies evaluating how utility programs may disproportionately penalize or bur-cterotaw communities or
communities of colpand integrating an equity and social justice framework to inform staffing, operational, and
investment decisn-making.
Utility Equity Highlight: The Greater Cincinnati W&ter Wforks
The Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) provides water, stormwater, and water-related services to the City of
Cincinnati, Hamilton County, and adjacent Ohio and Kentucky counties. Wth rapid growth in surrounding
communities, a decline in water consumption, and the need to diversify revenue streams, GCWW expanded its
service areas and provided additional core services (including for stormwater, wastewater, solid waste and yard
waste billing, call center operations, lab analysis, professional engineering, and monitoring and
maintenance services).
For the past 20 years, GCWWhas developed and implemented strategic business plans designed to provide its
team with a roadmap for excellence in operations and customer service. Akey goal of GCWWs 2018-2022
Strategic Plan was to modernize daily business practices and deliver improved solutions to customers. To create
a solid understanding of the current practice and identify areas to improve, GCWW spent time reviewing current
business practices and gathering input from community members, including local councilmembers. During this
process, GCWW analyzed multiple data sets and determined that the utility was performing more water shutoffs in
predominantly black neighborhoods in comparison to predominantly white neighborhoods. GCWW concluded that

this was due to a policy that required residents to pay the entirety of their delinquent water bill at one time. GCWW
recognized the disparities in both their business processes and howthe utility was serving the customers. GCWW
concluded that this outdated business practice, coupled with other systemic inequities, disproportionally
penalized predominantly black neighborhoods.
To address the inequitable practice, GCWW worked with customers and openly communicated affordable payment
options, which offered to defer, if not avoid, shutoffs altogether.
As a result of modernizing its business policy and analyzing data, GCWW revealed disparities in its business
practices, recognized the problem, and changed its policy to ensure that historic practices would no longer
exacerbate disparities and marginalize black neighborhoods. GCWWs experience illustrates the importance of
reviewing current practices; using data to understand how those practices maybe leading to disparities in
outcomes; and of creating new, more equitable processes to ensure the utility is providing a high level of service
for all community members.
Sewerage and Water
New Orleans
Across the United States, 1.7 million workers work in the water sector to help design, construct, operate, and
govern the water infrastructure our communities rely on.5 Uilities directly employ half a million of those
individuals to provide clean and safe water for hundreds of millions of Americans.6 Water utilities of all sizes, in
both rural and urban settings, offer stable, competitive wage careers. Water utilities can make strategic hiring,
5	Tomer, J., 2018. Renewing the Water Workforce: Improving Water Infrastructure and Cheating A Pipe line to Opportunity, [online] Brookings Institute. Available at:
^lttps:/ / www. bro oking s. e du/ re s e arch/ water-workforc e/ > [Ac cessedl4Efec emb er 2020].
6	Gao.gov. 2018. Water and Wastewater Workforce: Recruiting Approaches Helped Industry Hire Operators, But Additional EPA Guidance Could Help Identify Future Needs, [online] Available at:
4ittps://www.gao.gov/products/gao-18-102> [Accessed 14 Etc ember 2020],

procurement, and programmatic education decisions that create job opportunities in and for their community.
This section is linked to EPA's commitment to work with utilities and other partners to ensure a diverse, resilient,
and sustainable workforce. EPArecently published a compendium of Water Workforce Case Studies describing a
range of practices utilities around the country are using to address their own workforce challenges. Many of these
case studies focus on ways utilities are reaching out to disadvantaged communities, women, and other groups not
historically present in the water workforce to attract them to a career in a utility. Other case studies focus on ways
utilities are cultivating their own workforce to provide reliable and effective service to their communities. In a
similar fashion, EPAsponsors an ongoing water workforce webinar series to highlight effective and sustainable
workforce practices. This information is available at EPA's Webpage on Water Workforce.7
Utility Highlight: Sewerage and W&ter Board of New Orleans
Every year, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans contracts with external firms to provide professional
services, construction, goods, and services that help the Board provide wastewater services to more than 300,000
people in the greater New Orleans area. The Board recognized that these contracts represent millions of public
dollars annually. While these contracts are critical to successful operations, the Board also sawthem as an
opportunity to develop a robust, thriving ecosystem of local businesses. In 1997, the Board developed the
Economically Disadvantaged Business Program fEDBP) to create a level playing field on which small businesses
and economically disadvantaged businesses (EDBs) can compete fairly for Board funded contracts. The program
requires that prime contractors utilize EDB subcontractors for at least 35%of the total contract value. The Board
theorized that these partnerships would provide exposure opportunities and increase capacity at EDBs and, after a
time, result in EDBs being able to act as prime contractors.
After the program had been in place for 20 years, the Board found that despite their efforts, many of these EDBs
remained unequipped to bid competitively for prime contracts. Particularly as the Board and the City of New
Orleans increasingly partnered to deliver innovative green stormwater infrastructure projects, there was a need to
provide additional support to create lasting, transformational change for these EDBs. To help local design and
engineering firms develop new skills, a mentor-protege clause was piloted within several request for proposals
(KFPs) to promote knowledge sharing and capacity building for disadvantaged businesses. This is done by asking
prime contractors to articulate in their proposal an approach for a continued, structured learning relationship with
their subcontractors. These two programs help ensure that public funds are allocated to local firms and that small
businesses and EDBs will develop the skills and capacity to successfully compete for and win large contracts now
and in the future. The Sewerage and Water Board's job creation and skill-building for EDBs highlight one of many
activities a utility undertakes as an anchor institution in its community.
Additional Example Practices
Similar to New Orleans, water utilities around the country are important job creators in their communities. Figure 3
includes examples of the types of practices utilities may implement. This range of practices starts with a focus on
internal workforce needs and opportunities and expands to a mutually beneficial approach that builds stronger
community involvement. The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans exemplifies this ripple effect by
7 https:// www.epa.gov/ sustainable-water-infra structure/ water-sector-workforce

establishing, evaluating, and strengthening its community's workforce through the strategic procurement of local
goods and services.
Figure3: Job Creation Range of Practice
Job Creation & Equity
On average, water workers tend to be older than the national average and lack gender and racial diversity in
certain occupations^ important job creators in their communities, utilities have the opportunity to create
meaningful job opportunities and address barriers to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce.
Innovative utilities across the country are creating progrartnr$tfnait, train, and cultivate target populations
(e.g., afrisk youth, formerly incarcerated individuals, pewztpxtepeak English as a second language). Many
water utilities are evaluating their procurement and hiring practices to understand wbear^cbenniployment
equity exist, as well as to create education, outreach, and apprenticeship programs to make their workforce
pipeline more equitable and diverse. As a utility broatSgob creation practice, will seek to understand and
to address pkicies, programs, and practices that underpin hiring, employment, and contracting inequities.
EPA is committed to ensuring that our water workforce is diverse, supported, and equipped to take on the
challenges facing the water sector. More inforanaibout EPA's Water Workforce Initiative is available at

2. Economic Health and
Water Services Affordability
Utility Highlight: Capital Region Water
Every day, more than 50,000 drinking water systems distribute 39 billion gallons of potable water to U S. homes,
industries, and businesses.8 As discussed in the preceding sections, utilities are able to impact the economic
health of their communities through the cost-effective operation and maintenance of their enterprise. Water
utilities spend $109 billion as part of their regular business costs each year, and those investments provide a
significant opportunity for community economic growth.9 Ihey also provide the most essential product needed for
economic development - reliable, high-quality drinking water and wastewater services. Simply put, access to
abundant clean and safe water is a central part of economic growth. Water and wastewater utilities, in their role
as water resource stewards, are key players in investing in, enabling, and sustaining the economic health of their
Utility Highlight: Capital Region Water
At Capital Region Water (CRW), located in Harrisburg, PA the provision of affordable water services is a key
consideration in all utility operations. Like many older communities across the country, aging infrastructure and
deferred maintenance have exacerbated CRWs need for significant financial investment to ensure that safe and
reliable services are provided. As rates increase to reflect the taie cost of service, affordability challenges
increase. Ihe median income of households within the City of Harrisburg is $39,685 with more than 30%of
residents earning a median household income less than $25,000. According to the American Community Survey
conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 30%of households receive supplemental assistance.10 To
ensure utility services remain affordable to low-income residents, CRWhas developed a suite of customer
8	"The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure." (Value of Water, 2020).
9	'Water Utility Pathways in a Circular Economy." (International Water Association, 2016).
10	US Census E&ta Harrisburg, PA 2015-2019. Available at: https:// www.census .gov/acs/ www/data/data-tables-and-tools/narrative -
profiles/2019/ report. php?geotvpe=p lac e<£state^42<£place=32800

assistance programs centered around equitable water service access. These programs include credit assistance,
payment plans, leak adjustment programs, and a winter shutoff moratorium for those unable to pay bills during
the colder months. In July 2020, CRWlaunched a Customer Assistance Program to help reduce monthly
water/wastewater bills for low-income residential customers and those facing hardships. The credit assistance
option supports residential customers whose income falls below 150%of the federal poverty level and provides an
annual $200 credit to residential customers that meet the qualifying income guidelines. To continually balance
customer affordability with deferred maintenance and improvements, the Service Line and Lateral Customer
Assistance program is shifting the responsibility of the public roadway portion of the sanitary sewer and water
service lateral to CRW11 As a result, if there is a leak, blocked pipe, or pipe break on the street portion of the
lateral, CRW will be responsible for repairs and associated costs, reducing the burden on low-income residents.
Through strategic investment and customer assistance programs such as these, CRWis striving to incubate
regional economic investment.
Additional Example Practices
CRWis a utility that seeks to invest in its community while also helping to ensure equitable and affordable rates to
all community members and customers. Additional example practices included in Figure 4 demonstrate the
different types of practices a utility may choose to implement, starting with setting rates and collecting fees to a
more holistic community approach that augments rate setting and fee collection through community-based
investment and community involvement. Practices such as these address equitable rate barriers and
infrastructure funding challenges. Through strategic investment, utilities are prioritizing equitable water access
for all residents.
Figure4: Economic Health & Water Services Afthrtfty Range of Practice
Provides sufficient and cost-effective water
services to support local economy
Leverages both private investment and low-cost public funding
to provide future opportunities for local economic growth; seeks grant
opportunities to provide low-income customer assistance programs
Incubates local and regional economic investment; understands and seeks to positively
impact community development; creates affordable baseline and/or tiered rates to provide
water access for all community socio-economic levels
Works with water associations, sister water utilities and the business sector to create changes
in state law that preclude utilities from charging different water rates based on affordability
11 Capital Region Water Drinking Water Service Line and Wastewater Lateral Assistance Program. 2021 .ZPiMI%bQ5darinkincM/atefServicd-ineand-WastewatetateralAssistance
ProaranfGuidance.pdf fcapitalreqionwater.com)

Equity and Economic Health & Water Services Affordability
Across the bitedState^ low-income households often struggle to afford basic services and are three times moi
likely to have their water and/or sewer serviasodraected than other householdSome utilities are
addressing affordability concerns through inc-baB®d rate structures and incotrased water revenue
assistance programs. These programs help avoid water shutoffs and even home foreclosures dMjbitks unpa
through more affordable water and sewer rates. In turn, utilities benefit from reduced displacement, reductior
building vacancies, and less time spent in collections of unpaid bills and water dtafaaifer, in many states,
legislation mayestrict the ability of utilities to charge customers different rates based on income/poverty level.
Utilities with these restrictions may consider working with legislators to better understand and address these
Utilities across the country haw^Dlemented CAPs that focus on an individual customer's ability to pay for
drinking water and wastewater services. In 2016, EPA's review of 795 utilities showed that almost 30% offer
or more CAP options to their customers. These programs addresfyactfarBasons a customer may have
difficulty, from households on a fixed or lower income to those facing a temporary crisis, such as job loss, illn
or other domestic situations. CAPs may reduce a customer's bill, create more flexible terms fprcpagteait
subsidized rate for a fixed amount of water, help customers on-testiiDDlr onetime basis, or provide financial
assistance for leak repairs or wa&fircient upgrades. For more information on CAPs, visit EPA's 2016 report,
"Drinking Water and Wastewater Utility Customer Assistance Prbarams
12 Chinking Water and Wastewater Utility Customer Assistance Programs repa.gov)

Utilities are well-positioned to connect and collaborate with a broad range of partners, including organizations and
individuals. On a daily basis, utilities' operations and capital projects require close working relationships with
governmental agencies, such as local planning/zoning and transportation boards. As an active enterprise in the
community, they are also often large customers for local businesses and other utilities (e.g., gas, electric,
cable/telephone). These interdependencies and daily interactions provide a strong basis for utilities to collaborate
with stakeholders and partners to raise awareness of utility needs and interests, identify areas of mutual interest
or investment, and incorporate the voices of community members into decision-making processes. Meaningful
community engagement requires a long-term commitment to, and consistent investment of, time, effort, and
resources to listen to and incorporate residents' input. As trusted, long-standing community members, utilities
can also convene groups and facilitate building greater trust between community partners. Utilities that prioritize
collaboration can effectively harness the thinking, energy, and networks of partners to achieve a greater positive
community impact than what a single entity could accomplish alone
Utility Highlight: The High Line Canal Conservancy
The High Line Canal (Canal) was completed in 1883 as an agricultural irrigation system to support the growing
population of the Denver area. This 71-mile-long canal covers over 850 acres and spans 11 governmental
jurisdictions. Though the Canal is no longer needed to provide agricultural irrigation for the region, it has become
a valuable community resource that provides recreational opportunities to the over 500,000 individuals that use
the Canal each year. In addition to recreational and environmental benefits, the Canal has the opportunity to act
as an integral part of a stormwater management system for the region.
The collaboration began in 2014 with a feasibility study to determine the ability of the Canal to provide stormwater
runoff reduction and treatment and to reduce flooding during major storm events. Once the significant potential of

the Canal became evident, the sponsoring organizations funded the High line Canal Conservancy (Conservancy)
to act as a convener to develop collaborative management and a financial and operational model to advance
stormwater projects in the Canal. As of late 2020, the effort has completed design on two initial projects with
signed agreements in place to begin construction.
The Conservancy serves as a backbone organization for this multi-jurisdictional effort, managing the overall
program while providing technical and communications support to partners to ensure that project work advances.
This regional program is designed to facilitate a coordinated investment approach for the Canal that is in line with
community and regional goals. This master plan provides the multiple separate jurisdictions with a clear, shared
vision of the path forward and a concrete understanding of the costs and interventions needed to fully capture the
numerous benefits and economies of scale possible with a shared regional effort.
While improved cost-effective stormwater management for the wastewater service providers and jurisdictions is
the most tangible benefit of this collaborative effort, the regular project meetings have built strong relationships
among the many partners that live, work, and recreate along the Canal. These relationships keep them aware of
the needs, concerns, and priorities of their partners and identify additional opportunities to collaborate and share
information across jurisdictional boundaries. Collaboration in a regional program can also be a factor identified by
federal and state grants and low-interest loan programs.
Additional Example Practices
The High Line Canal Conservancy, a partnership of 11 jurisdictions, demonstrates how collaborative leadership is
key to realizing the potential of an existing 71-mile-long irrigation canal to provide stormwater conveyance in the
Denver area. Similarto the High line Canal Conservancy, water utilities across the county act as important
convenors and partners. Figure 5 includes examples of progression from direct actions an individual employee
may take to a broader approach that advances partnerships around specific initiatives and creates a more
sustained state of engagement to advance utility, partner, and community objectives.
FigureS: ConveningpndCollaboration Range of Practice
Focused on direct utility employee collaboration MjUvJfP 1
(e.g., serve on community board) .1

Partners to achieve specific organizational objectives and benefits
(e.g., community ambassador program)
• _
¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦
Actively participates in efforts that add to the social, cultural, or environmental
fabric of the community
I ^
Serves as a convener and collaborative leaderthat links community wellbeing to utility health
(e.g., community moderator)

Equity, Convening, and Collaboration
Anchor utilities often have access to resources that can be shared with others to advance equity within the
community. A utility may lend employees' time and skills or provide utility expertise to help cbaBBdnity
organizations that may not have neeetqntertise irtnouse, or a utility may offer the utility's buildings or meeting
rooms to provide a gathering space for community meetings. Anchor utilities can also expand their understar
of community perspectives through a structured engagement prAaebsr utilities understand that trust is
built on consistent, transparent communication, such as sharing what decisions have already been made anc
incorporating community feedback.
EPA recognizes that utility operations and investments are bfektian they meaningfully engage with the
community and consider community perspectives. EPA developed resources that can aid in community
engagement and relationship building. For more information visit: EPA's Environmental Justice Primer or EP>
Enviroimental Justice Collaborative ProblSarlving Model,14
13	EPA Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Model, cps -manual-12-27-06.pdf (epa. gov). (2008).
14	EPA Environmental J us tic e Primer Environmental Justice Primer for Ports: The Good Neighbor Guide to Building Partnerships and Social Equity with Communities fEPA-420-B-20-007.. March
2020). (2020).

Drinking water and wastewater utilities are on the frontlines of protecting human health and the environment, and
they play a pivotal role in the stewardship of local natural resources. Every year, scientific and technological
advancements help the water services sector better understand and measure the relationship between water
services, human health, and ecosystem function. Utilities that proactively enhance the well-being of their
community and the natural environment are better positioned to adapt when challenges arise, such as emerging
contaminants or increasing water scarcity. A wastewater utility may also be part of an "early warning system" to
the local health community and the public in the event of a pandemic. Finally, utilities may play a role in providing
recreational opportunities to foster community connection with the surrounding environment, spurring
conservation action and awareness.
Utility Highlight: Beckley Sanitary Board
The Becklev Sanitary Board (BSB) is a wastewater and stormwater utility serving the greater Beckley area in West
Virginia. In 2004, BSB began to think strategically about the most effective way to achieve compliance with
regulations that required them to develop and implement a stormwater management program to protect and
restore water quality. Gven the wide variety of pollutant sources and pathways impacting water quality, BSB knew
that a utility-only approach would fall short of achieving the mandated water quality goals. BSB knew that they
were only one part of a larger watershed, and stormwater runoff was impacting local streams and the surrounding
environment. BSB used this shared concern around stream health to build a relationship with the Pinev Creek
Watershed Association fPCWAi a local non-profit founded in 2004 by a small group of concerned citizens.
Together, BSB and PCWAreport that they were able to consolidate efforts, galvanizing volunteers and needed
funding to cleanup streams, monitor water quality, mark storm drains, and lead environmental education and
outreach programs. As the program evolved, more community members became aware of the way their watershed

functions and its environmental benefits, including enhanced recreational opportunities, resulting from the
cleanup effort. As part of this effort, PCWA and the City of Beckley, with the cooperation of private property
owners, developed a trail network of more than 20 miles of restored and connected recreational trails alongside
Piney Creek. BSB has also led strategic planning efforts to explore utilizing existing sanitary sewer rights of way
as trails to enhance recreational opportunities and better connect the community to its streams.
After BSB and PCWAcompleted the initial cleanup and trail restoration, the collaboration between the two
organizations has continued and PWCA remains a key partner to achieving BSB's water quality targets. In 2011,
BSB assisted PCWAin the drafting of a watershed-based plan to identify and address sites affected by sources
they identified as septic failures or agricultural pollution. As of 2020, BSB continues to provide funding and share
technical resources and expertise with PCWAto help it secure and manage grant funding for conservation
programs in the watershed. BSB's collaboration with the PCWA evolved out of a need to meet regulatory
compliance (MS4 permit) and engaged the public in the implementation of a stormwater management program.
Although the collaboration's original intent was to facilitate behavior change and address pollutants, the
partnership has provided much more than originally envisioned and has resulted in a wide variety of community
benefits. The effort generated multiple benefits, which in turn fostered goodwill and fundamentally improved the
value residents placed on water. Such changes created an atmosphere of success for BSB's watershed
improvement mission.
Additional Example Practices
The BSB harnessed the power of community participation to significantly improve watershed protection while
creating public recreation and education. While individual practices may vary with each utility's unique context,
utilities across the country have many opportunities to positively impact their community's environment and
public health. Arange of example practices are included in Figure 6, which show a progression from day-to-day
practice to inviting broader community involvement and a wider watershed-based approach.
Figure6: Environmental Enhancement Range of Practice
Addresses regulatory requirements
• 1

Anticipates and seeks to positively influence future regulatory requirements

Seeks to improve public health and ecological conditions with consideration
for historically overburdened communities

Watershed and community-based management approach

Seeks to create transformative technology or approaches that benefit public
health, the water sector, and ecosystem health broadly


Equity, Public Health, and the Environment
In the United States, rural communities^iitocsrrie communities, and communities of color can experience
greater environmental and health risks than the general population. These communities are mor©lihely to liv
areas with greater air pollution or in closer proximity to hazardous substances; also they can be less likely to
access to natural environments, such asiwalihtained parks. Water utilities can play an active role in reducing
existing environrrrtal and public health disparities by assessing and addressing the unequal benefits and
burdens of utility operations (e.g., siting of infrastructure, noise, odor, or air pollution). They can plan for futun
investments that address disparities and puqai©ns like green infrastructure that provide parks and rain
gardens for public use and help manage stormwater. Anchor utilities committed to working toward environme
justice will also seek to create meaningful relationships within communitiesrtotteiesLperspectives and
priorities are a part of the deciskuraking processes.

5. Multi-Benefit Investment
Utility Highlight: Saco Water Resource
Recovery Department
Utilities across the country are often faced with the need to plan for significant investments such as major facility
upgrades, long-term control plan implementation, and comprehensive master plans. These are typically necessary
to address environmental and public health regulations, aging infrastructure, operational optimization, as well as
to increase resiliency to the impacts of climate change. These capital projects often represent a significant
financial investment for a utility and community. They can also offer a valuable opportunity for a utility to support
multiple utility and community goals by considering the full range of economic, social, and environmental
benefits. Through collaboration with the community and a multi-benefit approach, utilities are better able to serve
the multiple needs of both the utility and the community to ensure the best use of often limited financial
Utility Highlight: Saco Water Resource Recovery Department
Saco Water Resource Recovery Etepartment (WRRD) is a utility on the Saco River in Maine that selves almost
12,000 residents and more than 375 businesses. The facility's location and gravity-dependent wastewater system
leave it vulnerable to intermittent flooding during high tides, periods of high precipitation, and storm surges. The
intermittent flooding threatens WRRDs ability to operate within regulatory requirements.
In 2019, following another high-water event, WRRD began the development of a Long-Term Resiliency Plan (LTRP)
to protect the plant from flooding concerns and to establish a resilient path forward to address site constraints,
aging infrastructure, and population growth. The overarching goal of the LTRP is to ensure that WRRD can provide
high-quality, reliable sewer services to the City of Saco. WRRD leaders hip recognized that the LTRP was an
excellent opportunity to engage with the community to gain an understanding of community priorities, to elevate
community understanding of the project, and to support a plan that will require a significant financial commitment
from the city and its residents.

To effectively engage the community in its technical planning process, WRRDused EPA's Augmented Alternatives
Analysis method.15 This method helps utilities evaluate the full range of social, environmental, and economic
benefits that investments can create, and provides a common ground for utilities and their communities to
communicate solutions. As part of this effort, WRRD created a Coastal Resiliency Committee (Committee)
composed of a diverse group of stakeholders, including, but not limited to, environmental groups, city council, the
maritime industry, and consulting firms - many of whom have roots within the Saco community. WRRD first
worked with the Committee to develop a set of community priorities. The priorities are to improve system
resiliency, ensure financial sustainability, improve ecological and environmental health, increase public awareness
and appreciation of the value of water services, and bolster community livability. WRRDused these community
priorities to develop specific goals for the LTRP.
In spring 2021, WRRDevaluated potential LTRP project alternatives based on their performance relative to the
community-informed project goals and presented their results to the Committee. WRRD further plans to bring the
Committee together periodically to provide updates and to gather input on the LTRP proces s. The community's
goal is to identify an investment package that addresses the technical and operational needs ofWRRDs system
while incorporating community priorities to implement a cost-effective solution with the greatest utility and
community benefit.
Additional Practices
The WRRD Highlight provides an example of a utility that has integrated community priorities and economic,
environmental, and social criteria as key decision-making criteria to guide long-term investment decisions. The
range of practices outlined in Figure 7 includes additional example practices a utility may implement to bolster its
investment decision-making to achieve a wider range of benefits for their community.
Figure7: Multi-Benefit Decision Making Range of Practice
Bases investment decisions on technical and/or operational performance and cost
Considers a broad range of economic, social, and environmental criteria to make
investment decisions	m b
Systematically integrates community priorities and economic, social, and environmental	. .
considerations to identify investment alternatives and leverage public funds to provide
the greatest benefit to cost ratio	n i

Equity and MuHBenefit Investment
Lowincome communities, communities of color, tribal communities, and rural communities can be more likely
experience lower quality public services, negative impacts on business and industry, and impacts of aging or
failing infrastructure. Anchor ui&fe routinely make investment decisions to ensure they can consistently and
effectively provide services. These investments represent significant opportunities to positively benefit their
community's social, economic, and environmental needs. As iW£ij|iasto expand deciskmiaking criteria to
encompass the full range of benefits, they may also consider how addressing equity can be incorporated intc
There is growing awareness that utility investments provide multiple benefitsotaittnaiity. Utilities have
struggled with a method to quantify and incorporate benefits that are more qualitative in nature, such as som<
environmental or social benefits. EPA's Augmented Alternatives Analysis method scales economic,
environmental, and soblsenefits to quantify and effectively compare on an "apples to apples" basis to
determine the alternative with the highest benefit to cost ratio for both the utility and the community. For more
information, visihttps://www.epa.aov/sustainab'teateFinfrastructure/planninqustainabla/vateF

Every day, water utilities act as anchor institutions rooted to their location and embracing a long-term
commitment to the success of their communities. They positively contribute to the environmental, economic,
social well-being, and resiliency of their communities. All across the nation, anchor utilities are creating shared
value through strategic activity in their approach to job creation, convening and collaboration, environment and
public health, investments, and economic health and water services affordability. Importantly, anchor utilities can
help to address inequality and economic, environmental, and social challenges through policies, programs,
and practices.
The utilities highlighted within this document provide examples of the meaningful relationships and positive
impact utilities achieve in their communities. Together with the community, anchor utilities seek to build capacity
and skills and community results well beyond the utility fence lines.

Additional Resources
EPArecognizes that there are many water utility leaders working to better understand and communicate the ways
in which water and wastewater utilities can positively contribute to the social, environmental, and economic fabric
of their communities. This document is meant to act as one piece of this much larger effort. Below is a starting
list of other resources available to those interested in learning more about innovative work being carried out by
anchor utilities.
EPA's Sustainable Utility Management Initiative:
•	Effective Utility Management
•	Making the Right Choices for Your Utility: Using Sustainable Criteria for Water Infrastructure Decision
EPA's Water Sector Workforce Initiative
•	Workforce Webin&eries
•	Water Utility Workforce Case Studies
EPA's Environmental Justice Primer or EPA's Environmental Justice Collaborativ€(glisriitKteModel
For more information on the case study utilities and programs, please visit the following links
•	Utility of the Future
•	BecklevSanitarv Board
o Pinev Creek Watershed Association
•	Capital Region Water
o CRWCustomer Assistance Programs
•	Greater Cincinnati Water Works
•	Saco Water Resources Recovery Department
•	High line Canal Conservancy
•	Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans
o Economically Disadvantaged Business Program

The creation of this document would not have been possible without the willingness of utility leaders to lend their
time, expertise, and feedback to this process. EPA would like to thank the following individuals:
Andy Kntun
US Water Mliice
GreateCincinnati Water Works
HighLine Canal Conservancy
Charlotte Katzenmoyer
Capital Region Water
Diane TanigucHDennis
Clean Water Services
EmilyC. Prescott
SacoWderResource Recovery Department
Howard Carter
SacoWderResource Recovery Department
Emily Roy
City of SacQommunications Department
Stacy Thompson
SacoWderResource Recovery Department
Jeremiah Johnson
Beckley Sanitary Board
Josh Phillips
High Line Canal Conservancy
Kevin Shafer
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
Tanya Dierolf
Capital Region Water
Todd Danielson
A von Lake Board of Municipal Utilities
Tom Sigmund
NEW Water
Tyler Antrup
Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans
Tyler Richards
Gwinnett County Water Resources Department
For more information on anchor institutions, please contact:
Leslie Corcelli, EPA Office of Wastewater Manage6tanote(li.leslie@epa.cDov
Michelle Madeley, EPA Office of Commft®tytalizationiyiadeley.michelle@epa.^ov
This product was developed with assistance with Ross Stra/egicontract BBPA1 &0001 with the Office of Wastewater Management
at U.SEP A

U. S. En vironmental Protection Agency
Office of WastewatesMkgement
DOC #832F21034