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certifications. The SBP program has clearly defined “steps” for each section within the department (ex. 
water distribution), that provide a pathway to develop effective leaders.   

• Utilities Department Strategic Plan. The strategic planning process, in which the entire Department is 
involved, lays out short-term and long-term goals for the department. As a group, each goal is defined 
and examined in order to make progress towards meeting the Department’s goals.   

In late 2013, the Utilities Department embarked on a journey to upgrade the City’s Water Resource 
Recovery Facility, fondly known as the WRRF Project. At the outset of the Project, the City developed a 
Program Charter to capture the vision and culture of the department. The Charter forms a set of 
guidelines for the WRRF Project team to continue to return to in order to actively engage with the 
public, transform the WRRF, and provide a sustainable and valuable community asset for San Luis 
Obispo. 

 The vision of the WRRF Project is to “create a community asset that is recognized as supporting health, 
well-being and quality of life”, and the mission is to “deliver a Water Resource Recovery Facility in 
partnership with stakeholders that provides economic, social and environmental value to our 
community”. The following Project objectives and performance measures from the Charter embody the 
Triple Bottom Line objectives of the WRRF Project and the overarching culture of the Utilities 
Department.  

Economic Objectives and Performance Measures  
• Optimize capital investment and life cycle cost  
• Maximize value for ratepayers’ investment  
• Incorporate flexibility and scalability to adapt to future conditions  
• Simplify process flow and make treatment more robust  
• Optimize application of appropriate technology  
Environmental Objectives and Performance Measures  
• Develop and implement a holistic strategy to maximize sustainable resource recovery and manage 
salts, nutrients and environmental pollutants in the Basin  
• Incorporate sustainability practices in planning, design, construction and operation  
• Maintain compliance and minimize impacts to operations and the community during construction 
• Sustain reliable compliance post-construction  
Social Objectives and Performance Measures  
• Create and sustain diverse partnerships that add value to the community  
• Provide an interpretive center and dedicated features to engage and educate the community  
• Be a good neighbor  
• Engender the trust of project stakeholders  
• Support the development and empowerment of City employees  
 

The Program Charter has been a guiding force in every project decision made so far, and encouraged the 
inclusion of operations, laboratory, and maintenance staff in the project process to foster innovation, 
ownership, and pride in the project. WRRF staff have attended almost every project meeting, and were 
integral in the decision to implement a membrane bioreactor (MBR) for the secondary treatment 
process. The WRRF Project also includes the development of a project website (slowrrfproject.org) that 
is managed by a website committee primarily comprised of City/WRRF staff. As will be discussed in the