NARRATIVE: Applying for recognition in the Utility of the Future Today program has shone a light on 
what we have already accomplished, what we still need to do, and the role organizational culture plays 
in embracing the attributes of a utility of the future. Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District 
(Regional San) has always been dedicated to protecting the environment through its primary mission of 
conveying and treating wastewater before releasing it to the Sacramento River. Already a visionary 
during design of the regional wastewater treatment plant in the 1970s, Regional San purchased 2,650 
acres of land surrounding the plant to not only provide a buffer between future neighbors and plant 
nuisances, but also to protect this rich riparian and wildlife habitat from urban intrusion. Further, 
Regional San has been recycling methane, water, and biosolids for more than a decade while supporting 
other regional environmental programs and activities in response to our clear mission.   

As the largest wastewater treatment agency in Northern California, Regional San leadership prides itself 
in embracing opportunities to be a regional leader in environmental stewardship. We always keep an 
eye on innovative opportunities to improve environmental health and overall long-term resource 
sustainability and have partnered with myriad other agencies and environmental stakeholders to 
achieve larger regional and watershed-conservation goals. Yet, according to our mission statement, our 
foremost commitment has been to convey and treat wastewater in the most cost-effective manner 
possible. Certainly, the recent recession, when belt-tightening became the budgetary mandate, required 
close scrutiny of program costs resulting in temporary reduction or postponement of non-primary 
objectives. However, with economic recovery, a new vision has arisen focusing on sustainably energizing 
our employee culture, refocusing our strategic plan, and updating our mission and vision.  

While Regional San as an organization has embraced its environmental role, staff hasn’t always been 
eager to commit limited resources to often costly sustainability programs. Seldom is “doing the better 
thing” the cheapest or easiest course of action, and with approximately 480 employees, Regional San’s