Orange County Sanitation District Recognized as Utility of the Future Today

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The Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) has received national recognition as a Utility of the Future Today for Energy Generation and Recovery. OCSD is one of 65 water utilities being recognized for transformational work in community engagement, watershed stewardship, and recovery of resources such as water, energy, and nutrients.

OCSD is being recognized for a third year and in a new area of performance – Energy Generation and Recovery.

As a resource recovery agency, OCSD works to reuse all aspects of the wastewater treatment process including biosolids, water, and energy. Protecting the environment is a key tenet of our organizational mission, which means that we look for ways to diversify our efforts. The energy costs to run our treatment plants are a significant part of our annual operations and maintenance budget. As such, we continuously strive to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of our operations, while ensuring compliance with strict environmental regulations and conservation of natural resources.

By incorporating energy production in its Strategic Plan, OCSD has committed to strive to be a net energy exporter, through its concerted efforts to maximize electrical, thermal and digester gas (a biogas) generation, and minimizing energy utilization.

“It is an honor to be recognized by national water associations for our efforts and commitments to the industry,” stated Jim Herberg, OCSD General Manager.

The Utility of the Future Today concept is being promoted as water systems face challenges such as aging infrastructure, water pollution, workforce shortages, and impacts of climate change, including drought, floods, storms, and sea level rise. The Utility of the Future Today program was launched in 2016 by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the WateReuse Association, with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The recognition celebrates the achievements of water utilities that transform from the traditional wastewater treatment system to a resource recovery center and leader in the overall sustainability and resilience of the communities they serve.

“The innovations coming to the water sector present an opportunity for a paradigm shift in the way utilities think about and solve long-standing challenges to clean and reliable water,” said Jackie Jarrell, WEF President. “WEF is excited to recognize OCSD for embracing innovative ways to better serve their communities.”

OCSD will be recognized during a pre-recorded awards ceremony on Oct. 9 at 11 a.m. ET during WEFTEC Connect.
For more information about the Orange County Sanitation District, please visit To learn more about the Utility of the Future program, visit