Podcast: George Hawkins, General Manager of the DC Water and Sewer Authority

May 18, 2015

A summa cum laude graduate from Princeton. A cum laude graduate from Harvard Law. A senior leader with the Environmental Protection Agency. An advisor to Al Gore. The manager of one of the largest wastewater treatment facilities in the country. George Hawkins is my 11th guest on freshwater Talk.

To say that Hawkins has a huge job would be a gross understatement. With an operating and capital budget of nearly $1 billion, DC Water provides drinking water delivery and wastewater collection and treatment for more than 600,000 people who live in the District of Columbia and treats water for 1.6 million people in surrounding areas.

But the magnitude of what he manages is certainly not something he shies away from. In fact, he thrives and has taken some huge steps toward ensuring waterways throughout the DC area are cleaner and that wastewater problems are solved more efficiently. Hawkins has helped DC Water achieve major milestones – from a $950 million project to reduce nutrient loads in the Chesapeake Bay to implementing a $400 million program that will manage solids being removed from reclaimed water – a project that will become the region’s biggest source of renewable energy.

But his efforts don’t stop there. Hawkins recently led the charge to issue a $350-million century bond – the first public utility century bond. The 100-year bond will help pay for the $2.6 billion Clean River Project to eliminate sewage overflows in DC-area rivers. This massive infrastructure capital improvement project and its finance structure have been praised by Wall Street and ratepayers alike  – and George Hawkins and his innovative team at DC Water are to thank.

It was quite an honor to spend time with George Hawkins. I hope you’ll enjoy our conversation as much as I did. Download the latest episode here.


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