BURLINGAME, Calif., Sept. 5, 2012 -- Veolia Water North America (Veolia) announced that today marks the 40th anniversary of its partnership with the City of Burlingame, Calif., for management of the city's wastewater treatment facility. This milestone represents both the first and longest-running public-private partnership in the U.S. wastewater industry. During this time, the partnership has improved the city's services to residents, generated millions of dollars in savings and garnered multiple awards for operational excellence and safety.
"It's been an honor to work closely with the City of Burlingame and its residents in this historic environmental partnership," said Bill Toci, Veolia project manager in Burlingame who has managed operations at the plant since 2001. "Veolia has been here 40 years, and we're proud of our record. Beginning with our first assignment in 1972, the partnership has been successful because of our commitment to the community first and foremost, and to the mutual respect and collegial collaboration we share with the city. We look forward to being part of Burlingame for many years to come."
Forty years ago, the bayside city of Burlingame, a city of approximately 36,000 located south of San Francisco, suffered from a range of problems at its wastewater treatment plant. In response, city officials turned to a private-sector partner to help alleviate their issues, forging the first U.S. public-private partnership for the operation of a wastewater treatment facility and municipal wastewater services in the process. After assuming responsibility, Veolia worked closely with the city to implement focused operations, maintenance and management processes, and began to roll out programs to help solve the plant's problems.
As a result of these efforts, the facility has received numerous awards and recognition from leading industry groups. The partnership was granted the State of California Safety Award from the California Water Environment Association in the small plant category five times, and won the George Burke Safety award for best safety program in the State of California twice. Further, the facility has not had a single lost-time accident in the past 16 years and Veolia has been able to reduce energy costs by approximately $100,000 annually.
Under its groundbreaking contract, Veolia oversees the city's wastewater treatment facilities, which includes a 5.5 millions of gallons per day (MGD) activated sludge treatment plant, a lift station, landfill gas collection and treatment, the land application of 475 dry tons per year (dtpy) of biosolids, and a stormwater pollution prevention program. Additionally, Veolia oversaw the installation of a new co-generation power system that creates electricity onsite by using methane gas naturally produced by the wastewater treatment process.
The company has also assisted in the management of significant capital improvements to the plant infrastructure, including an $11.2M reliability improvement project, a $6.5M storm water retention basin installation and a $330,000 centrifuge installation.
Of the partnership, City Manager Jim Nantell remarked during Burlingame's Aug. 20 City Council meeting that "If you take a look at all of our cost centers in the City and you take a look at how they have grown or not grown, Veolia has kept the costs down bar none - beyond anything else we've been able to do in the City. They've been a great partner and we appreciate it."
In addition to operational excellence, Veolia has lent strong philanthropic support to the community of Burlingame.Local plant staff and leadership have worked with Burlingame High School to establish a Sewer Science Course and awarded $30,000 in scholarships to school students. For the past 11 years, the company has sponsored the Bay Front Clean-Up which has resulted in the removal of more than 70 tons of debris in that period. In August of this year, Veolia presented a $5,000 check to sponsor Burlingame's free Music in the Park Concert Series.The company stepped in nine years ago to support the popular event on an annual basis when finances threatened to shut it down.
"This anniversary marks a very important moment in the history of water treatment," said Laurent Auguste, president and CEO, Veolia Water Americas. "Burlingame literally pioneered an entirely new model for providing important environmental services to cities. This partnership has helped establish greater synergies between public employees and the companies that are constantly creating and evolving new technologies and services. The public-private partnership model that was launched there in 1972 has since expanded in many directions, ensuring a wide range of solutions-driven partnership models designed to meet the different needs of cities. From New York City to Honolulu, the public is benefitting from these collaborative partnerships. We're obviously very pleased to say that it all began in Burlingame."
Based in Chicago, Veolia Water North America is the leading provider of comprehensive water and wastewater partnership services to municipal and industrial customers, providing services to people in approximately 550 North American communities. The company is part of the Veolia Environnement companies in North America, with 30,000 North American employees providing sustainable environmental solutions in water management, waste services, and energy management.
Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, is the world leader in water and wastewater services and technological solutions. Its parent company, Veolia Environnement (NYSE: VE and Paris Euronext: VIE), is the worldwide reference in environmental services. With more than 315,000 employees, Veolia Environnement recorded annual revenues of $38 billion in 2011. Visit the company's Web sites at www.veolianorthamerica.com and www.veoliawaterna.com, or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/veoliawaterna.