Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil and Environmental Engineering


Benchmarking has been used for years in industry to improve performance and reduce costs. More recently, benchmarking has been used in the water and wastewater industry. In 1997, the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) completed a benchmarking study of the wastewater operations of utilities from across the United States. The WERF study provided valuable information on how to benchmark a utility and the data that should be collected. This thesis uses the methods set forth by the WERF project to benchmark the Brookings collection system, wastewater treatment, and biosolids management operations. This benchmarking study involved distributing a survey to utilities from across South Dakota and western Minnesota. The survey was used to collect performance and cost data from utilities that are comparable to the operations of Brookings in terms of size, method of treatment, etc .. The collected data were then analyzed to determine how cost effective and efficient the Brookings operations are. The main areas studied include: salaries, overtime, and fringe benefits; power, chemical, maintenance, and contracts costs; total annual operating costs; and many performance measures for each specific function (collection system, wastewater treatment, and biosolids management).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Brookings Municipal Utilities -- Evaluation Sewage disposal plants -- Management Sewage -- Purification Sewage sludge -- Management Benchmarking (Management)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University