First water utility in North America to earn ISO 55001 accreditation

The Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department (PBCWUD) has achieved the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 55001 certification for its asset management system. Stantec guided PBCWUD towards becoming the only water utility in North America to receive this distinction.

The British Standards Institute ISO 55001 has become the global benchmark for utilities to effectively manage the balancing of costs, opportunities, and risks over the whole life cycle of an organization’s infrastructure assets. ISO certification signals an organization has proactively ensured that the people, systems, processes, and resources are present and will perform when needed. 

The utility serving nearly 600,000 residents in southeastern Florida, invested in its asset management system with the assistance of the Stantec Client Enterprise Solutions team. In partnership with PBCWUD, Stantec developed a roadmap to support its vast array of physical assets covering 1,300 square miles of service area. The third largest water utility in the state, PBCWUD undertook this journey to assure regulators, customers, and stakeholders, they are efficiently managing their assets to ensure an abundant supply of fresh, high-quality drinking water for the future and keeping average household service fees low.

PBCWUD staff are driven by a common purpose to truly embrace our core values of delivering the best water, best service, and best environmental stewardship. Gaining ISO55001 certification shows a clear commitment to best practice and continual improvement in core business functions. This is a great accolade for the organization,” said John Acton, assistant director for Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department.

The certification roadmap was broken down into actions, categorized into documentation, people, processes, systems, data, risk, and supply chain. Employees from across the business – including PBCWUD’s executive, operations, maintenance, engineering, customer service, procurement, finance, IT, and HR teams – were trained on a wide range of asset management topics. A framework was put in place to support the definition of organizational arrangements, setting out roles and responsibilities across the Institute of Asset Management’s 39 subject areas.

“Organizational transformation is not easy and requires significant perseverance to achieve success. Once senior leadership shared their vision, the rest of the organization embraced the challenge and demonstrated the needed commitment to achieve the goal. This accomplishment is a testament to the character of all of the individuals involved in this endeavor from its inception through its completion. We are proud to have been their partner,” said John Visconti, Stantec program manager.

Implementation of these standards prompts better data-driven decision-making, including more proactive maintenance, leading to fewer failures, less waste from leaks, and improved customer service. Stantec’s baseline improvement program can be tailored and adopted by any organization looking to pursue the ISO55001 asset management approach.

“It has been a privilege supporting PBCWUD with their asset management journey. This transformation has increased engagement across the business, moving functional teams out of siloed thinking to one of asset management as an enterprise discipline, aligned with the right culture and behaviors,” said Ken Gedman, director of business consulting at Stantec.

A sustainable water future is complex and dynamic. By viewing water as an integrated system, Stantec is helping to confront global water challenges and accelerate the pathway to a more sustainable, reliable, and affordable future that provides improved water, energy, and infrastructure solutions. Learn more at stantec.com/water.

Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department (PBCWUD) provides safe, affordable, high-quality water and wastewater services for more than 600,000 residents throughout Palm Beach County. The utility draws water from underground aquifers into 5 regional water treatment plants to produce an average of 60 million gallons of drinking water per day. Operating two wastewater treatment plants, PBCWUD can clean up to 4 million gallons of wastewater per day so that it is safely returned into environmental flows. PBCWUD also manages more than 150 acres of wetlands that are home to more than 250 species of wildlife.

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