May 1, 2003



OAK CREEK – May 1, 2003 – Clean, plentiful, safe drinking water sustains life, yet many take this resource for granted. National Drinking Water Week (May 4-10) presents an opportunity to share information about what is being done at the Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility.

The utility is proud to announce it completed the peer review portion of the American Water Works Association QualServe program today. QualServe, a national quality improvement program, provides the utility another means to ensure continuous improvements in operations and service. The quality improvement program is based on a series of “best practices” compiled from the experiences of utilities nationwide. The peer review process uses visiting teams of trained utility professionals to conduct on-site evaluations to uncover strengths and opportunities for improvement. The peer review team reviewing the Oak Creek utility included members from Iowa, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

“Every part of the utility operation affects our ability to supply water,” said Steven N. Yttri, Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility general manager. “Continued improvement is imperative to the system operating at peak performance. Our participation in the QualServe program centers on increasing consumer satisfaction and improving efficiencies throughout the utility as we continue to provide a quality product at reasonable rates for consumers.”

In addition to its QualServe accomplishments, Oak Creek is the only Wisconsin utility to complete phase three of the Partnership for Safe Water. This program is a water quality improvement system that targets optimized treatment plant operation beyond what is required by regulations. The Partnership for Safe Water is a cooperative effort of six organizations including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and American Water Works Association.

“Even though the utility is recognized by the Partnership for Safe Water program, we always seek ways to improve,” Yttri said. “Input from the visiting QualServe peer review team is another means to set the agenda for continued improvement at the utility.”

A Reminder for Consumers
During National Drinking Water Week May 4-10 the Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility encourages consumers to repair dripping faucets and leaky toilets. Dripping faucets can waste about 2,000 gallons of water each year. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day. See the amount of wasted water and money caused by leaks in the accompanying graphic entitled “Costs of Leaky Pipes.”

Water Fast Facts
Source: American Water Works Association

  • The average household uses 350 gallons of water a day
  • Americans drink more than 1 billion glasses of tap water every day
  • Approximately 65 % of residential water is used outside the home
  • The average quarter acre lawn can use more than 3,000 gallons of water a week
  • One inch of rainfall over a one-acre lot produces more than 2,400 gallons of water
  • About one-fourth of America's renewable water supply is withdrawn each year
  • Only 1% of the Earth's water is fresh water available for humans to drink (97% of the Earth's water is salt water, 2% is frozen).
  • About one-fifth of the world’s freshwater resides in the Great Lakes Basin.
  • The U.S. has fresh water resources totaling about 660 trillion gallons.
  • Americans tap into about 341 billion gallons of those resources every day.
  • Of the amount withdrawn in the U.S., only 1% is used for drinking water. About 41% is used for agriculture, 39% for hydroelectric power, 6% for industrial use and 6% is used for household purposes.
  • There are 54,000 community water systems in the U.S. They provide about 90% of Americans with their tap water.
  • About 3,000 of these community systems provide more than 75% of the nation's water. 
  • Eighty percent of those community water providers are municipally owned. Twenty percent are investor-owned.
  • According to a survey conducted by the American Water Works Association, 82% of large water utilities have their own water laboratories on site.
  • Water utilities monitor for more than 100 contaminants on a regular basis.
  • More than 94% of American water utilities are in full compliance with health-based federal regulations annually.
  • Every year, water utilities provide their customers with detailed information about the quality of their drinking water, the contaminants found in the nation's source water, the treatment techniques used to remove them, and the parties most likely to be responsible for contaminating the water initially.
  • Water utilities contribute millions of dollars every year to independent research efforts and research partnerships with U.S. EPA and other interested parties.

The Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility is nationally recognized for producing some of the highest quality drinking water. Always seeking ways to improve, utility employees conduct thousands of water quality tests annually to ensure the cleanest, safest drinking water possible flows to customers. The utility tests nearly three times more than the 970 quality controls required by government regulations. The utility is proud to announce its water meets and exceeds all federal and state drinking water health standards.


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