WSSC to be Honored by Leadership Montgomery
25th Anniversary Award Recognizes Vision, Innovation, & Integrity
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Laurel – April 24, 2014: WSSC, (Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission), is proud to receive the 25th Anniversary Award in the public sector category from Leadership Montgomery. The criteria for the milestone award included visionary thinking, innovation, courage and integrity. Awards will be presented at the Celebration of Leadership Gala, on Thursday, June 12th.
Leadership Montgomery CEO and Founder Esther Newman says, “WSSC is an organization in the midst of change, taking on and meeting new challenges and living by its values – Accountability, Integrity and Respect, Excellence, Individual Initiative, Environmental Stewardship and Cost Awareness – all this and they’ve never had a drinking water violation in their 95-year history.”
“I want to thank Leadership Montgomery for showing confidence in what we are doing here at WSSC,” said General Manager/CEO Jerry N. Johnson. “We are well into our strategic plan to improve our aging infrastructure and technology capabilities. We have done this with cost awareness and our customers in mind. Now we are going to focus even more on cutting costs, and we have some innovative strategies underway to do so.”
WSSC is a bi-county government agency providing 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.”
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 30 percent of WSSC’s energy needs. Solar power provides about 17 percent of the electricity for two wastewater treatment plants.
WSSC embraces 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 send a photo. Maps at 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. To increase transparency the Commission began online streaming video of its meetings last July.
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 teens. We have partnered on several projects and look forward to doing more.”
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.