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Municipal water systems: Getting by with a little help from their friends.

As communities evolve, so too do the demands placed on their infrastructure. It comes as no surprise that, with burgeoning population growth and urban sprawl taking place across the country, more municipalities are relying on trusted partners to efficiently manage complex water systems that meet both consumer needs and environmental standards.

Our members are being tapped as trusted operational partners by municipalities from New York to California and everywhere in between, whether they're addressing aging systems in need of upgrades to meet compliance standards, or helping to solve consumer concerns, private water companies deliver a wide variety of services as they help communities improve water quality.

SouthWest Water
El Paso County, Texas

Access to water in arid parts of the U.S. always presents a significant challenge, but not for the Horizon Regional Municipal Utility District east of El Paso, Texas. Home to the Hueco Bolson, one of the most reliable aquifers in the southwest, the region has an abundance of water, but it comes with a high mineral content that makes it undrinkable without extensive treatment.

The district first engaged SouthWest Water Company in 1995 to operate its water and wastewater systems. Shortly thereafter, with a need to improve its water quality and increase its supply, the district engaged their trusted partner to build new wells and a reverse osmosis treatment facility that would convert the brackish water into superior quality drinking water for their customers. The state-of-the-art plant was constructed in less than two years and began operation with the capacity to produce six million gallons of water per day and to expand as necessary. SouthWest Water also operates the district's wastewater collection system, collecting and treating on average 1.4 million gallons of water per day, the majority of which is recycled for local irrigation purposes.

The district's contract with SouthWest Water was recently extended through 2019. The partnership was also honored with a prestigious award from the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships.

Severn Trent Services
La Vergne, Tennessee

Located just outside of Nashville, with a rapidly growing population (more than 40 percent in the last 10 years) La Vergne's water system was meeting continually increasing demands for additional supply. But with these increases came a significant number of complaints regarding water taste and odor, and eventually citations from the state Department of Environment and Conservation. So in 2007, the city engaged private water company Severn Trent Services in a professional services contract to operate its facility and improve service.

Severn Trent immediately identified significant maintenance upgrades needed to provide high-quality water and service, and put the staff to work cleaning clarifiers, upgrading infrastructure to avoid costly leaks and backwashing, and implementing process modifications to improve water quality and help ensure compliance.

The quality of the Severn Trent improvements quickly brought the facility into compliance with environmental and workplace standards, for which the company was rewarded with an advanced extension of its operations contract and an expanded scope of work.

American Water
Fillmore, California

The City of Fillmore, California, like much of the country, has been considering ways to satisfy the water needs of a growing population while also continuing to meet or exceed increasingly strict environmental standards.

Working as a partner with the city, American Water was chosen to lead a design/build/operate project to develop a state-of-the-art, zero-discharge wastewater treatment plant for the region. The public-private partnership allowed city officials to ensure costs were managed effectively, and working with a single partner like American Water saved the city approximately $10 million.

Completed in 2010, the Fillmore Water Recycling Plant recycles 100 percent of the 2.4 million gallons of wastewater it can treat daily, and uses the water to irrigate school grounds and city parks while entirely eliminating any discharge into the nearby Santa Clara River. Working with the city, American Water will now manage the facility until 2029, ensuring that Fillmore continues to see great value from their partner.

Click here to download a PDF of this case study featuring images of the projects detailed within.

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