Streamlining Capital Projects for Wastewater Treatment near Seattle

Bill Wilbert has worked for the King County Wastewater Treatment Division for 17 years. He’s an Environmental Programs Supervisor for the division and manages the permitting and regulatory compliance workforce.

Sandy Kilroy was the Assistant Director for the King County Wastewater Treatment Division. She’s been with Wastewater for a little over 5 years but within the County working on water issues for the last 25 years.

Bill and Sandy set up a kaizen (rapid improvement) event with all the unit managers, subject matter experts and resource supervisors as well as the Capital Systems Team. The goal was to reduce the 3-6 month time-period for future capital projects to maintain the region’s precious water quality.

After the 3-Day Rapid Improvement Event, the group was able to implement solutions and then track the results for 6 months to ensure the fixes “stuck.”

As part of the improved process they made several targeted changes to the process:

  • Defined the Project Initiation Process
  • Assigned a clear owner of the Project Charter
  • Clarified the project objectives
  • Clarified the boundaries and staff resources
  • Clarified expectations and timing for Gate 1

They showed definitively that they could deliver this phase of a capital project in one month or less—actually 28 days—a 45% reduction of Lead Time.

Watch the 30 minute success story or read the transcript at