American Society of Civil Engineers

Process Modeling Approach to Privatization of Wastewater Treatment

by Sharon deMonsabert, M.ASCE, (Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Envir. and Infrastructure Engrg., George Mason Univ., Fairfax, VA 22030), Dennis Buede, (Assoc. Prof. of Sys. Engrg., George Mason Univ., Fairfax, VA), and Eleni Vasilakopoulou, (Grad. Student, Program of Envir. Sci. and Public Policy, George Mason Univ., Fairfax, VA)

Journal of Management in Engineering, Vol. 15, No. 1, January/February 1999, pp. 54-61, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: The management of the privatization of wastewater treatment services is a complex process. The wastewater plant is subject to a variety of financial, technical, and legal constraints that must be met to ensure public safety and well being. Currently documented methodologies for use in privatization ventures are imprecise and qualitative; they are based on successful case studies that may be difficult to repeat under different circumstances. The preponderance of the literature is focused on the financial aspects of the privatization process as opposed to the engineering challenges. The extension of systems engineering methodologies to the functional decomposition of a wastewater treatment facility is the contribution of this work. Identification of the wastewater functions that satisfy business and technical constraints is vital to the privatization process. An IDEF0 model of the municipal wastewater treatment plant was developed to identify the functional elements of the treatment process and their interrelationships. The components of the IDEF0 model are developed and the use of this model as a tool in the privatization process is defined.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Water treatment
Systems engineering
Wastewater management