In the land of 10,000 lakes, where water flows abundantly from faucets and hoses, it can be easy to take our precious resources for granted. A coalition of national water advocates, however, reminds us to recognize the good work that goes into keeping our water safe and protecting public health and the environment.
The Utility of the Future Today is a joint initiative of clean water agencies that is honoring Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) for being forward-thinking and innovative, and adding valuable service to communities.
MCES is among 65 entities recognized this year for stewardship, resource recovery, partnership, and engagement. It marks the second year MCES has received commendation for “Transformational Programming.”
“This is well-deserved recognition for the work that our Environmental Services division performs around-the-clock, 365 days a year,” said Council Chair Charlie Zelle. “MCES is nationally known for its excellent service at rates 40 percent below the national average for agencies of similar size.”
Out of sight, out of mind
You know MCES best for collecting and treating wastewater that flows from homes and businesses; 250 million gallons a day, in fact, from 110 communities in the Twin Cities metro area. A vast network of regional sanitary sewers serves the current population and provides capacity to support future growth.
But there’s so much more. The Council’s Environmental Services division is responsible for:
Water supply planning to ensure adequate water supply across the region
Monitoring and analyzing water quality in the region’s lakes and rivers
Reducing energy consumption at treatment plants and other facilities through energy recovery, energy conservation, and increased use of renewable energy
Engaging local officials in setting municipal rates and collaborating on capital investment projects and water resources initiatives.
“The work we do, in partnership with local, state, and federal governments, is critical to the region’s quality of life and our ability to sustain prosperity for our children and their children,” said MCES General Manager Leisa Thompson. “I’m so proud of the agency and our staff for their commitment and ability to be nimble and innovative for the betterment of the region.”
About the commendation
The Utility of the Future Today recognition program celebrates the achievements of water utilities that transform from a traditional wastewater treatment system to a resource recovery center and leader in the overall sustainability and resilience of the communities they serve.
Utility of the Future Today was launched in 2016 by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the WateReuse Association, with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Utility of the Future concept is being promoted as water systems around the world are transforming operations through innovation and technology. The 65 utilities recognized this year are recovering resources from wastewater, leading community engagement, forming unique partnerships, and building an internal culture of innovation.