Peterborough Utilities embarked on the QualServe Program, which was developed by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF). The QualServe program assists utility managers in assessing the current state of affairs at their water or wastewater utilities.
A self assessment survey and peer review was conducted for Peterborough; the self assessment survey canvassed 65 employees from across the utility about a variety of “best practice” statements; the peer review evaluated 12 of the 20 QualServe business process categories and was focused, in Peterborough’s case, on water utility operations.
The perspectives of the peer review and the self assessment survey differ but are complementary. The self-assessment organizes views of the utility’s staff. The peer review offers the neutral perspective of volunteer utility executives and managers from other similar North American utilities.
An internal utility team, made up of management and frontline staff, was formed to guide the utility through the QualServe process. These first two steps set the stage for the utility to prioritize areas for improvement and develop action plans to achieve these goals. The utility implemented action plans to achieve improvements in water utility operations.
In Peterborough’s case, a primary driver for implementing QualServe was the utility’s proactive approach in preparing for utility accreditation requirements in upcoming provincial legislation. This medium-sized utility saw advantages in identifying areas for improvement while leveraging discernible advantages to its customers.