The City of Murfreesboro Water & Sewer Department (MWSD)
is embracing a new name to reflect the future of how water is utilized. MSWD has become the Murfreesboro Water Resources Department. The concept reflects the evolving approach of “one water” to describe how water is reclaimed with emerging technologies for a variety of special uses.
“We are excited to be among the leaders embracing change in the water and wastewater industry in more than name only,” said Murfreesboro Water Resources Department Director Darren Gore. “As a Water Resources Utility of the Future, the old name (MWSD) no longer applies to a department that makes full use of advanced technologies to deliver the right water for the right use.”
While the concept of “one water” generally emerged in the western portion of the U.S. where water shortages altered the uses of wastewater, innovative approaches and new technologies are changing the industry’s entire approach to water use more broadly.
In October 2016, Murfreesboro was recognized as having a Utility of the Future (UOTF) by a consortium of national water sector organizations. The program celebrates the progress and exceptional performance of wastewater utilities while supporting the widespread adoption of the innovative UOTF business model.
The consortium noted that Murfreesboro was one of only two utilities in the Kentucky-Tennessee region honored with this prestigious accolade. The Murfreesboro Water Resources Department “organizational culture” was recognized for organizational excellence that embraces positive change and empowers the workforce to imagine, create, test, and implement innovative approaches from every day work to extreme challenges.
It enforces a culture of managing and recovering valuable resources, rather than one of the disposal of “waste.” As a Water Resources Utility of the Future, the Murfreesboro Water Resources Department is recognized as an industry leader for accomplishments in water reuse and watershed stewardship. Murfreesboro’s Reuse System is the largest and most sophisticated system in Tennessee. It enables the city to maintain expansive and beautiful landscapes, enhance the environment, and deliver a valuable resource at a rate that is double the national average. Murfreesboro’s watershed stewardship has produced dramatic water quality improvement through multiple stormwater management initiatives, elimination of illicit discharges, and process and operational improvements at the Sinking Creek Treatment Plant. Under the rebranding, the plant will be renamed the Murfreesboro Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF). The Stones River Water Treatment Plant will remain unchanged.
In 2015, Murfreesboro’s Sinking Creek Treatment Plant received the Beneficial Reuse of Effluent Water Award from the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association. Examples of Murfreesboro’s Sinking Creek Treatment Plant’s beneficial reuse water include irrigation of Old Fort Golf Course, VA Golf Course, Shoppes at Murfreesboro, Shoppes at Gateway Corner, Oaks Shopping Center, The Avenues, Siegel High School, Siegel Soccer Parks, and the Rutherford Chamber of Commerce.
“Water Reuse and Watershed Stewardship are areas in which we have enjoyed tangible rewards from the professional and courageous efforts of staff,” added Director Gore. “We have measured improvements to our community surface water streams and are beneficially reusing a precious resource.”
The UOTF concept was first introduced in 2013 to guide utilities toward smarter, more efficient operations and a progression to full resource recovery with enhanced productivity, sustainability, and resiliency. That same year, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) formally began using the term “water resource recovery facility” in place of wastewater treatment plant and other conventional names. The name change reflects a changing paradigm in the water sector, focusing on resource recovery.
A partnership of water sector organizations promoting the Water Resources Utility of the Future include WEF, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)