EPA Publishes Sustainability Handbook for Water Utilities

EPA has released a comprehensive handbook to help water sector utilities build sustainability considerations into their planning. “Planning for Sustainability: A Handbook for Water and Wastewater Utilities” will help utilities ensure that water infrastructure projects across the nation, including those funded through the state revolving fund programs, are sustainable and support the long-term sustainability of the communities these utilities serve.

The handbook represents an important milestone in EPA’s ongoing efforts to help ensure the sustainability of the nation’s water infrastructure based on the Agency’s clean water and safe drinking water infrastructure sustainability policy, which was issued in September 2010. In developing the handbook, EPA worked closely with a number of utility and state program managers around the country. The handbook describes four core elements where utilities can explicitly build sustainability considerations into their existing planning processes and identifies key benefits that utilities may realize because they will be better able to:

  • Optimize environmental, economic, and social benefits by setting goals and selecting projects through a transparent and inclusive process with the community;
  • Consistently assess a range of alternatives that address both utility and community goals; and
  • Enhance the long-term technical, financial, and managerial capacity of the utility.

You may view the handbook at http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/sustainable_systems.cfm.