DOE is partnering with a group of leading water and wastewater treatment agencies, including Better Plants partners, to demonstrate the energy and efficiency benefits of implementing the  Superior Energy Performance® (SEP™) program through the SEP Water and Wastewater Pilot Project.

Building on the SEP experience in the manufacturing sector, this pilot project will test the implementation of ISO 50001 and SEP with water and wastewater treatment partners. Through the pilot, facilities will integrate energy management into their business operations and culture through a systematic approach to managing energy. This approach enables continual improvement in water and wastewater treatment facilities, reducing costs and lowering demand for energy.

Why Water?

Water and wastewater treatment facilities recognize energy efficiency as an essential strategy to continue meeting their critical mission of delivering clean drinking water to the community. Water and wastewater treatment are energy-intensive processes, representing about 2% of U.S. energy consumption (valued at about $4.7 billion) and generating up to a third of the energy bill for the average municipality. By increasing the energy efficiency of operations, the more than 75,000 water and wastewater systems across the country could collectively have a significant impact on energy use and the associated CO2 emissions. 

Improving energy performance through SEP helps partners take big steps toward improving their sustainability while establishing best practices for operations in their field and reducing costs.

How it Works

Partners agree to implement SEP at one of their water or wastewater treatment facilities, provide resources to implement SEP, consider use of combined heat and power (CHP), and share data and provide feedback to DOE. DOE will offer tools and provide energy management experts to train and assist the partner’s energy team with 3 multi-day training sessions over 12 months. Assistance through regional Technical Assistance Partnerships will help partners explore application of CHP.  

Once SEP is implemented, a third party verification body will audit the partner’s facility to verify that SEP requirements are met and will issue the SEP and ISO 50001 certificates. SEP-certified water/wastewater treatment partners will receive national recognition by DOE for achieving the SEP certification. DOE will also develop case studies to document and share partners’ successes and experiences. To learn more, contact Bruce Lung.

Participating SEP Water/Wastewater Treatment Partners

  • California: Delta Diablo Sanitation District (Better Plants partner)
  • California: Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority (Better Plants partner)
  • Delaware: Kent County Department of Public Works (Better Plants partner)
  • Iowa: Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority
  • Iowa: Des Moines Water Works
  • New York: Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility (Better Plants partner)
  • Virginia: Alexandria Renew Enterprises