WPCDWater Pollution Control Division
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The WPCD operations and maintenance costs were established, and it was determined that a private contractor could significantly reduce utility spending levels by implementing a private-sector style management system, enhancing personnel practices, and reducing onsite personnel requirements.
Finally, WPCD management worked to facilitate the staff's understanding and buy-in.
WPCD and union employees made a commitment to be competitive, and then set out to identify and refine concrete areas for improvement.
With Phase I complete, the WPCD, along with employee union representatives, presented the optimization plan to the Topeka city council, which endorsed the plan through a memorandum of understanding--a monumental event for the utility and the city, affording the WPCD the time and resources necessary to achieve competitive operations.
During optimization implementation, action items were identified to help the WPCD reach its optimization goals, including: improving internal communication; maximizing employee utilization; increasing employee training; enhancing process control; increasing accessibility to technical and management support; minimizing consumables expenditures; improving efficiency systems; refining the utility's design and operability; and maintaining periodic optimization progress evaluations.
The WPCD plans to reinvest the cost savings into capital improvements necessary for major rehabilitation of the Oakland treatment plant.
In February, the WPCD purchased automated samplers designed to provide flow-proportioned wastewater samples for the Oakland and North Topeka wastewater treatment plants.
Additionally, the WPCD initiated an employee incentive program to reward its employees as the utility becomes more cost-effective.
One of the WPCD's optimization goals was to reduce staffing levels from 116 employees to 75, without layoffs.
Staff support has been the biggest factor contributing to the WPCD's achievement of becoming cost-competitive.