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Organizational Changes as a Reliability Process

IMC-2019 Learning Session 45:00 minutes

by Salil Kharkar, DC Water

DC Water through its groundbreaking Research and Innovation Programs, as well as cutting edge process technologies implemented at full scale, has achieved global recognition as a leader in treatment technologies. DC Water is also known for having an aggressive and expensive federally mandated Consent Decree to build tunnels and treatment for Combined Sewer Overflows. Global recognition is not adequate when dealing with local rate challenges. Several years ago, DC Water embarked on its reliability journey to reduce cost of ownership for its vertical assets. In doing so, DC Water teamed up with, joined the Reliability Leadership Institute, introduced a large cross section of staff to the Uptime Elements through in-person and on-line training, and had staff obtain CRL and CMRP certifications. Pumping Operations within DC Water embraced RCM and aggressively pursued its applications to the water, sewage, and storm pump stations. These efforts were geared towards long term sustainability of capital assets. One inescapable fact was that the debt service and operating costs of new assets while being optimized, were still on an upward trajectory and projected to double in a few years.

In the last 12 months, DC Water also underwent a change in leadership with the new CEO having a clear mandate from the Board to address this customer facing issue. One key decision made by the new CEO was that while the rate increases were inevitable, DC Water needed to be fully optimized regarding its capital and operational costs prior to asking rate payers to shoulder the increases. Couple of key organizational changes that impacted reliability were that he transitioned DC Water from being engineering led on capital projects to having operations take a leadership role. In order to meet the reliability targets, projects needed to meet the requirements of operations and maintenance staff who then had the responsibility to extract maximum value. This paradigm shift along with other changes were designed to create the organizational structure to support reliability.

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