WSSC Honored by Leadership Montgomery for Vision, Innovation and Integrity
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Laurel – June 13, 2014: WSSC was recognized for visionary thinking, innovation, courage and integrity by Leadership Montgomery at its annual gala last night. The Public Sector Award was accepted by Commission Chair Gene Counihan and WSSC General Manager/CEO Jerry N. Johnson.
Leadership Montgomery CEO and Founder Esther Newman said, "WSSC plays a vital role in all of our lives, which is why it is so encouraging to see the organization taking such a proactive and innovative approach on so many fronts. Leadership Montgomery honors WSSC's devotion to its customers, as well as their commitment to the environment." Leadership Montgomery celebrated its 25th year at last night's dinner. Newman also presented WSSC with a certificate of congratulations from Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski.
"This recognition from Leadership Montgomery is a great honor, and reflects the progress WSSC is making towards realizing our vision for the organization's future," said General Manager/CEO Jerry N. Johnson. "Our first priority is delivering world class service to our customers. In order to meet that goal, we are striving to improve our aging infrastructure and substantially transform our technology platform—all while undertaking numerous efforts to reduce cost wherever possible."
WSSC provides water and wastewater services to residents of Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Its FY'14 budget is approaching $1.5 billion, of which more than 90 percent comes from ratepayers. Johnson adds, "We have been transparent with our customers, showing that higher rates are necessary for investment in a resource that is too often taken for granted because water is delivered almost invisibly."
Brian Gaines, Executive Director of the non-profit Maryland BioLabs nominated WSSC for the awards. "I want to thank Mr. Gaines and Maryland BioLabs for recognizing WSSC's efforts," said Johnson. "Our two organizations have many common interests. They do a fantastic job in STEM education for high school students which align with programs that we offer such as Sewer Science and Engineering Academy. We have partnered on several projects and look forward to doing more." Johnson also thanked Jeffrey Slavin who presented the award which was sponsored by the Slavin Foundation.
About 10 years ago WSSC took on the challenging task of replacing and repairing its aging infrastructure, particularly the 5,600 miles of water pipes serving 1.8 million residents. WSSC has increased the miles of water main replacement to a 55-mile annual target every year for the foreseeable future.
Enhancement of the sewer system is a 12-year parallel strategy, expected to cost $3 billion. Systemic improvements include improved disposal procedures for fats, oils and grease from food service establishments…enforced by WSSC.
Solar and wind electricity have been added to WSSC's power mix, which can reduce costs in addition to greenhouse gases. Wind power provides 28 percent of WSSC's energy needs. Solar power provides approximately 17 percent of the electricity for two wastewater treatment plants.
WSSC continues to embrace new technologies. WSSC was the first water utility in the nation to release a mobile app for smartphones. Customers can pay bills, receive service alerts, monitor usage and report problems; they can also send photos. Maps at www.wsscwater.com show planned and emergency WSSC work. When rushing to a fire, fire departments in both counties now use a WSSC web application that points out the nearest fire hydrant. In order to increase transparency, the Commission began online streaming video of its meetings last July.
For 100 years, WSSC has proudly served the citizens of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties – providing drinking water that has always met strict Safe Drinking Water Act standards and protecting the environment through vital water resource recovery services. Our vision is to be THE world-class water utility, where excellent products and services are always on tap.