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The Multi-Agency Benchmarking Project is a collaborative effort of seven West Coast wastewater utilities to compare their processes, performance, and costs.

By collecting and studying process and performance information, the participants intended to improve their own business practices, thereby reducing costs, gaining efficiency, and ultimately improving service delivery to ratepayers. Secondary goals were to develop and foster open communications among participating agencies, leading to an ongoing commitment to exchange information among participants.

The benchmarking effort was conducted in two phases.

Phase one

In the first phase, three participating agencies (EBMUD, OCSD, and SRCSD) performed detailed benchmarking analyses to accurately and completely compare their respective operating costs. The three agencies, collectively known as the Tri-Agencies, developed a methodology to collect and compare operational costs between plants with different configurations, thus addressing one of the largest challenges faced by the wastewater treatment industry in benchmarking and comparative analysis.

Phase two

The second phase, launched in mid-1997, expanded the project to include four more wastewater agencies (CCCSD, CLABS, CPBES, and KCDNR), which provided a more comprehensive collection of cost data. The Multi-Agencies collaborated to expand and refine the work done in the first phase of the project, allowing the participants to share information with confidence in the collection methodology used.