George Hawkins serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and General Manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water), was named to the post in a unanimous vote September 3, 2009 by the board of directors. With an operating and capital budget of nearly $1 billion, DC Water provides drinking water delivery and wastewater collection and treatment for a population of more than 600,000 in the District of Columbia, as well as the millions of people who work in or visit the District. DC Water also treats wastewater for a population of 1.6 million in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. The Authority operates the world’s largest advanced wastewater treatment plant at Blue Plains, with a capacity of 370 million gallons per day and a peak daily capacity of more than a billion gallons. DC Water’s service area covers 725 square miles.
Hawkins has launched an ambitious agenda at DC Water that complements a vast 10-year program to improve aging infrastructure and comply with ever more stringent regulatory requirements. DC Water is designing and implementing a $2.6 billion program, the Clean Rivers Project, to nearly eliminate overflows of sewage and stormwater to the Anacostia, Potomac and Rock Creek. DC Water is also investing $950 million to achieve the next level of nutrient reductions and help restore the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, DC Water is implementing a $400 million digester program to help manage solids being removed from reclaimed water that will become the region’s biggest source of renewable energy, reduce the volume of biosolids by almost half, and disinfect the biosolids to be clean enough to sell as fertilizer at retail stores. The digester project will be the first in North America to use the CAMBI treatment process, and the largest installation of CAMBI in the world. Finally, Hawkins has gained approval from the board of directors to triple the rate of DC Water’s program to replace water and sewer infrastructure frequently installed generations ago.
In parallel to these capital expenditures, Hawkins is leading a cultural change within DC Water. He has launched the Team Blue program to engage front line staff in improving the enterprise, connected to the BlueStat process to evaluate business processes with benchmarks and performance statistics. DC Water recently rebranded the enterprise to strengthen connections to the public, and has launched a Facebook page, Flickr and YouTube pictures and videos, and a customer-oriented Twitter account. Hawkins is also building a new and strong relationship with local and national environmental advocates to work in tandem to achieve the next generation of water quality improvements.
Prior to joining DC Water, Hawkins served as director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), a $110 million dollar agency with 300 employees. DDOE performs city, county and state environmental functions for the nation’s capital. The agency is responsible for providing energy assistance to District residents; reviewing development applications for compliance with environmental requirements; monitoring and enforcing air and water quality standards; regulating the use and disposal of toxic substances; preserving the District’s natural habitat for fish and wildlife; and developing and implementing stormwater management regulations to minimize runoff pollution into District waterways.
Hawkins implemented the Anacostia 2032 Plan to transform one of the most polluted rivers in the country into an environmental gem that will drive economic revitalization. Hawkins also led the District’s efforts in reducing childhood exposure to lead hazards, negotiated the nation’s most stringent federal permit to reduce pollutants from stormwater runoff andmanaged the nation’s most successful low-income energyassistance program, including conservation and weatherization. He launched and chaired the Mayor’s Green Team, which coordinated the District Government’s sustainability program across more than 40 agencies. In 2008, Hawkins launched the Mayor’s Green Summer Job Corps, a group of several hundred District youth engaged in environmental cleanups and public education. In 2009, the program grew into the largest green jobs program for youth in the country, serving more than 5,000 young people with a focus on energy and stream ecology and in neighborhood based clean-up programs.
Prior to coming to the District, Hawkins was executive director of New Jersey Future, a non-profit organization which, under his leadership, came to be recognized as the state’s foremost advocacy group promoting smart growth. While there, he worked with the governor’s office to focus development on transit stations and urban areas. Hawkins also served as executive director of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, where he built an award-winning program to improve local zoning and master plans to both target growth and protect critical ecosystems. Mr. Hawkins held senior positions with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including Senior Assistant Regional Counsel and Special Assistant to the Regional Administrator. He served Vice President Gore on the National Performance Review, playing an integral role in streamlining and strengthening environmental protection programs at EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Mr. Hawkins began his career practicing law for the Boston firm Ropes & Gray, and is a member of the Bar in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton University in 1983 and Cum Laude from Harvard Law School in 1987. Since 1999, Mr. Hawkins has taught Environmental Law and Policy for the Princeton Environment Institute at Princeton University. He lives in the District of Columbia.