Working together to deliver life's most essential element.
Public-private partnerships leverage the best practices and unique strengths of both government and private enterprise to meet the growing demands of citizens everywhere and deliver efficient results. As communities across the country grapple with the complexities of providing water and wastewater service, they are increasingly turning to private water companies as a trusted partner to build, maintain and operate these critical services.
More than 2,000 facilities from New York to California are operated in public-private partnership contract arrangements, allowing municipalities to maintain a critical role in the water services process while taking advantage of the extensive benefits that come with a private operator. Year over year, these contracts are renewed at an impressive rate — more than 93 percent — because of the superior service customers receive from these unique partnerships.
California is a global leader in environmental stewardship. So when the City of Burbank, known for swimming pools and movie stars, fell under orders from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve part of its wastewater management system, the city turned to a trusted partner to help identify and realize improvements and cost savings for its wastewater services. Since 1990, United Water has worked with the city to implement changes that drastically reduced or eliminated wastewater pollutants, while improving procedures across the board to meet the city's needs in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way.
Through a public-private partnership with the city of Burbank, United Water operates and maintains a nine-million-gallon-per-day water reclamation facility that serves 100,000 residents with tremendous success. Not only has the contract been continuously renewed, the partnership's safety record is better than the national average, has achieved EPA compliance for the once-troubled Industrial Pretreatment Program, and even assisted the EPA in the development of "Model Industrial User" study about the partnership's success.
Veolia Water North America works around the clock to protect Lake Michigan by providing high-quality wastewater treatment services to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD). Veolia Water was contracted to operate and maintain Jones Island and South Shore water reclamation facilities and the District's conveyance and deep tunnel systems. In doing so, they help provide wastewater treatment for 28 communities and over 1 million people in southeastern Wisconsin.
MMSD's agreement with Veolia requires higher performance than what's required in the state's discharge compliance permit which governs the removal of contaminants from wastewater effluent before being discharged into Lake Michigan. This fact makes the partnership between Veolia and the MMSD even more special, and one of the reasons why the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has recognized the perfect compliance history of both Milwaukee facilities with platinum performance awards for nearly 12 consecutive years.
In Milwaukee, Veolia Water is also committed to funding research into issues of emerging concern not just in the Great Lakes area but around the world, such as understanding the existence of pharmaceuticals in watersheds and their potential elimination through treatment, and determining improvements in wastewater treatment processes to generate methane gas as an alternative energy source and thereby reducing greenhouse gases.
Tampa Bay, Florida
Seventy percent of the earth's surface is covered in water, 69 percent of which is undrinkable largely because it is saltwater. With advanced technologies and systems, companies like American Water are helping communities convert these abundant natural reserves into drinking water.
The Tampa Bay region in Florida, like much of the continental U.S., has relied on groundwater to meet its drinking water needs. That served the region well until population growth and droughts led to consumer demand outpacing supply. An alternative source was needed, and as a result the largest seawater desalination plant in North America was built to remove salt from seawater and produce millions of gallons of treated drinking water per day.
While the original plant produced some water, Tampa Bay Water shut it down to form the joint-venture with American Water — Acciona Agua. Together, they overhauled the plant to achieve desired results. Within three years the partnership completed the milestone project designed to supply up to 25 million gallons of fresh water per day. Remarkably, the plant can supply the community with water at less than a penny per gallon for the next 30-50 years. American Water's engagement in Tampa Bay proved desalination is a viable solution to augment drinking water resources, and the plant is now a model for other coastal communities facing water challenges. The General Manager of Tampa Bay Water, Gerald Seeber, believes the facility "provides an important, drought-proof component to the region's water supply system and is a true example of a successful public-private partnership."
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