Business Diversity and Inclusion FAQs

All firms are expected to meet performance standards as established by contract specifications. This relates to the quality of work done, the submission of reports and written information in a timely manner and the firm's compliance with applicable regulations and laws. Once a firm has been awarded a sub-contract, it is also responsible for submitting verification of all payments received to the contracting agency.  This includes the amount of payment and date received. Lastly, the firm is expected to stay engaged with DC Water’s Compliance Officer and alert them of issues.

Yes. Prime contractors must first demonstrate Good Faith Efforts to meet the certified firm goals established on a given project. Once work begins, prime contractors are responsible for all project activities including those of subcontractors and lower tier contractors. Regular monitoring assures that contractual items are performed in accordance with specifications. Invoicing and payment data must be submitted by the prime contractors to ensure certified firms are working as expected. When changes are needed, primes must get approval from DC Water. Any changes in the certified firm participation must be approved by Compliance prior to any actions take place.

For the purposes of the DC Water DBE Program, a firm performs a commercially useful function when it is responsible for the execution of the work of its contract and is carrying out its responsibilities by actually performing, managing, and supervising the work involved. To perform a commercially useful function, a firm must also be responsible, with respect to materials and supplies used on the contract, for negotiating price, determining quality and quantity, ordering the materials, and installing (where applicable) and paying for the material itself.

Pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR Title 40 Part 33.103), it is an entity owned or controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual as described by Public Law 102-389 (42 U.S.C. 4370d) or an entity owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual as described by Title X of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 7601 note); a Small Business Enterprise (SBE); a Small Business in a Rural Area (SBRA); or a Labor Surplus Area Firm (LSAF), a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone Small Business Concern, or a concern under a successor program.

Every DC Water project has a Compliance Officer assigned to it. If you suspect abuse or have a question, you should first contact the assigned Compliance Officer. Also, you can email Compliance directly at: All questions or concerns will be 100% confidential.

No, DC Water does not certify firms. If you are interested in becoming a certified firm, see Certifying Agencies for more information.

Progressive administrative sanctions may be applied when contractors abuse the Compliance Program. These sanctions include:

  • Suspension of work.
  • Withholding progress payment(s).
  • Default of the contract.
  • Suspension and Debarment.
  • Referral to DC Water’s Office of the General Counsel for review.
  • Referral to the US Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs or the US Department of Labor for investigation.
  • Other appropriate administrative actions within the discretion of the DC Water.

No, DC Water does not use quotas on projects.

For information on current and upcoming procurement opportunities, please visit DC Water’s Vendor Portal at:

For more information on related events or other opportunities, please visit the CECP outreach calendar.

Yes, firms can bid and perform as a prime contractor on any DC Water project.

Certification provides greater exposure for work opportunities on DC Water projects. The names of all certified firms appear in the DC Water Outreach DBE Directory, a reference manual which is accessible by procurement officials, contractors and to the public. Contractors use the DBE Directory as a basic resource for soliciting participation on projects. If a firm is not certified, a contractor cannot receive credit toward achievement of the utilization goals by using that firm.

Firms can receive technical assistance when experiencing difficulties in business operations. DC Water’s Compliance Program offers access to an array of support services including: business management, construction management and/or financial guidance. For more information, please see Capacity Building Initiatives.

Opportunities to participate in construction work, construction-related work and the procurement of goods and services are varied. Certified firm participation is encouraged on all projects. Although many contracts with certified firms are for sub-contract work, certified firms provide consultant services in technical fields and have been awarded projects as prime contractors, as well.

No. Certification does not guarantee work. However, certification enhances exposure to procurement officials, prime contractors, and the business community. To be successful, a firm must market itself, its personnel and its services, as any good business should.

Upcoming Meeting

Board of Directors Meeting

April 24, 2023

Monday 9:00 AM

Latest Blog Post
Leveraging Green Infrastructure for the Triple Bottom Line
Leveraging Green Infrastructure for the Triple Bottom Line
Leveraging Green Infrastructure for the Triple Bottom Line
Upcoming Meeting
May 23, 2024
Thursday, 1:30 PM