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Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Sanitary Sewer Spill Response Kaizen Event

Contact Information

Pollution Prevention and Innovation Team
U.S. EPA Region 4


The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Wastewater Management is responsible for permitting, compliance, and enforcement of Florida’s regulations for wastewater treatment plants. Ensuring that these plants properly dispose of the billions of gallons of wastewater produced daily in Florida is vital to sensitive estuary, bay, river, stream, and wetland ecosystems.

Unfortunately, wastewater treatment plants that function properly under normal conditions may be overwhelmed by the increased volume of water that infiltrates sanitary sewers during severe storm events. Under these conditions, raw sewage is released directly into the receiving body of water. Such dangerous sanitary sewer spills require a quick response to limit harm to human and environmental health.


Project Scope: The Kaizen event looked at the entire timeline of an overflow event, starting from the moment an emergency spill is reported through the completion of the response and receipt of paperwork from the wastewater treatment plant.

Project Team: 12 team members, including a champion and a team leader.

Facilitators: 4 facilitators-in-training from the Jacksonville Lean Consortium.

Goals: Standardize response process, identify a location for needed rapid response equipment, shorten response time by 50%, and decrease the number of steps in the process.

Solutions Developed

First, the participants engaged in a mock emergency event, which allowed them to map the current emergency response process. Next, the participants identified and eliminated steps in the process that did not add value to the response time or the quality of the response. Once the future response process was mapped, including all the suggested improvements, the process was accepted as a new standard operating procedure (SOP). Recommendations identified and implemented during the Kaizen event include:


The improved process allows responders to help treatment plants secure and clean up the site of the spill sooner, reducing harm to people and the environment. This time reduction also represents a significant cost savings for the Office of Wastewater Management. In addition to reducing response time, the spill response checklist and form increased consistency and timeliness of facility responses. The tools and processes developed during this Kaizen event could also be applied in other areas of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to improve compliance and decrease response time.

Time Saved: 71 minutes per response (28% decrease), adding up to 54 hours per year.

Environmental: Securing and cleaning up spill site can begin more than an hour sooner; vital time in an environmental emergency.

Cost Savings: $32,800 per year

Contact Information

Khalid Al-Nahdy, Champion
Phone: 904-897-3300
Fax: 904-448-4366
E-mail: Khalid.Al-Nahdy@dep.state.fl.us

Tom Kallymeyn, Team Leader
Phone: (904) 807-3300
Fax: 904-448-4366
E-mail: Thomas.Kallemeyn@dep.state.fl.us

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