April 2010, Vol. 22, No.4

From the Editors

Operations Forum Editor's Note

Stretching a Buck

Since the economic bubble burst, doing more with less has become a more common mantra. In our personal lives, we might eat out less often, cancel or scale back the family vacation, or clip coupons. Let’s face it, at home most of us waste at least a few bucks a week. By skipping the little indulgences such as a premium cup of coffee or doing things ourselves such as changing the oil in the car, we even could find lasting ways to wind up with more cash in our pockets.

But at work, it’s a different story. The processes you maintain and operate and the services you provide aren’t luxuries or things that can easily be cut back. On top of that, wastewater treatment plant budgets were never very fat to begin with. As one operator told me last week, “It’s not like we were spending money like crazy before the economy went south.”

There’s no easy answer to finding where to cut. Just as at home, savings probably will come in little bits from many different places. This issue highlights ways to stretch your dollars as far as possible.

For example, “Factoring Condition Assessment and Asset Management Into Capital Planning” explains how asset management can help direct resources to where they’ll do the most good. From getting a handle on which equipment needs the most maintenance to determining what pieces of equipment can’t be allowed to fail, properly organized information can be a useful tool during tight times.

Speaking of tools, sometimes when a specialized or seldom-used tool is needed, the cost-effective answer might be to not buy it. “The Right Tool, The Right Way” looks at the advantages of renting equipment.

Even though this issue offers various ways to stretch a dollar, it can stretch only so far. Operators and managers know that the safe and effective operation and maintenance of their treatment systems are essential to the economic development that will help our economy recover. That’s why it’s important for water and wastewater professionals to share the importance of proper funding with local budget-makers to help ensure the proper investment in water and wastewater services.

 

— Steve Spicer, editor 

sspicer@wef.org

 

 

 

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