Nutrient Smart Recognition Program

The Water Environment Federation (WEF), in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has launched the NutrientSmart (NSmart) program to help reduce nutrient loadings in waterways and recognize the water utilities that are leaders and innovators.

NSmart will begin as a pilot program and encourage the adoption of enhanced nutrient management practices by water utilities and distribute information on tools and methods for lowering nutrients.

Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus naturally occur in the environment. However, when present in aquatic environments at high levels they can cause several problems including; impacts to drinking water, ecosystem shifts, algal blooms leading to impacts on the ecosystem, local economy and potentially human and animal health. NutrientSmart (NSmart) is a voluntary recognition program aimed at reducing nutrient loadings of nitrogen and phosphorus to surface waters. NSmart seeks to: distribute information that will aid in the reduction of nutrients to local and regional watershed and to use tools and methods to reduce the nutrient effluent amounts.

To participate in the NSmart program, utilities must demonstrate intent or actions toward enhanced nutrient management. The program has a component for utility-community engagement through outreach and for reduction of nitrogen, phosphorus, or both. Additionally, the program recognizes utilities implementing an innovative strategy to achieve those reductions.

The recognition levels of NSmart are:

Advocate: Participants working toward active engagement for nutrient reduction within their watershed via outreach. The facility is working toward implementing a nutrient reduction strategy that results in reductions between 30-69.9%.

Partner: This level is for WRRFs with a fully implemented nutrient reduction plan and that have an active outreach program. The utility can choose to focus on reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, or both. Tiers are divided based on percent nutrient reduction - Silver 70-84.9%, Gold 85-89.9% and Platinum 90%+ reduction.

Innovator: This recognition is a competition for utilities that are currently in the partner level. The facility can earn additional recognition for innovation related to nutrient reduction. Facilities will be evaluated against one another based on subdivisions of design flow rate. Innovator recognition falls into the categories of Treatment Technology and Leadership in Nutrient Management.

Congratulations to our 2022 NSmart Awardees!


  • City of Greensboro
  • Centennial Water and Sanitation District

Partner - Silver

  • Narragansett Bay Commission
  • South Platte Renew
  • Waterbury Water Pollution Control Facility
  • American Bottoms Regional Wastewater Facility

Partner - Gold

  • Lancaster Area Sewer Authority
  • City of Boise, Boise, ID

Partner - Platinum

  • Freedom District WWTP
  • Rocky Gap State Park WWTP
  • Stafford County Utilities
  • Dorsey Run Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Town of Cary
  • Upper Occoquan Service Authority
  • Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District

Innovator - Treatment Technology

  • Small Utility - Town of Cary
  • Large Utility (Tie) - City of Boise
  • Large Utility (Tie) - Narragansett Bay Commission

Innovator - Leadership in Nutrient Management

  • Large Utility - Upper Occoquan Service Authority


View the NSmart Virtual Awards Ceremony here.


For more information, contact [email protected]



For more information, review the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact [email protected].