Nation's Largest Wastewater Partnership in Milwaukee

The challenge

North America's largest wastewater partnership has achieved new levels of compliance, service, communication and innovation and offers a model for the Great Lakes region.
Veolia signed on as Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s operations and maintenance partner in March 2008, creating the largest public private wastewater partnership in North America.  Veolia operates and maintains two water reclamation facilities with combined capacity of 660 MGD, the 320-mile collections system, biosolids production, and the 500 MG “Deep Tunnel” storage system. 

The project challenges are:

  • With a history rich in innovation in both wastewater treatment and biosolids management, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) facilities require an O&M partner with asset management reliability combined with operational expertise. Also, that partner must shares MMSD’s overarching commitment to environmental compliance and sustainability.  

Veolia’s solution

Impressive solutions:

  • In addition to an impeccable record of environmental compliance and state-of-the art asset management practices, over the term of its first 10-year contract with MMSD, Veolia North America has also delivered on multiple other fronts.  These include: technical innovation, best-in-class community outreach, successful Small/Women/Minority Business Enterprise (SWMBE) purchasing programs, collaborative process control, and work plans aimed at controlling potential wet-weather overflows. 
  • In 2016, MMSD renewed its successful partnership with Veolia for a second 10-year contract agreement.


Surpassed goals:

  • Since the contract start in 2008, Veolia has operated the MMSD water reclamation complex in complete compliance with the Clean Water Act (NPDES permit) adhering strictly to more stringent water quality contract standards.
  • Production of “Milorganite” — MMSD’s signature biosolids product — routinely meets quality standards 95+% of the time. Keeping a continual eye on cost savings, Veolia has saved MMSD and its ratepayers millions of dollars since the contract start in 2008.
  • The partnership conducted the first-ever Water Carbon Footprint Study to measure the environmental impact of carbon, water and costs, and the Water Impact Index that establishes the impact of human activity on water resources.
  • Veolia is well into its $1.5 million R&D program to support Great Lakes clean water initiatives, including research into the impact of pharmaceuticals on area watersheds, as well as potential wastewater treatment process improvements.
  • Comprehensive training programs result in industry-best employee safety records.
  • Veolia’s Milwaukee minority supplier programs have achieved yearly averages of 36% SWMBE purchasing of total spend — close to $40 million and counting.
  • ​The Jones Island facility consistently ranks as one of Historic Milwaukee’s most popular “Doors Open” tour attractions, with an event that now draws over 2,000 visitors in a single day, and 4,000 visitors annually.
  • ​The excellence of the partnership is recognized through prestigious honors, including: U.S. Water Prize from the Clean Water Alliance; Platinum Awards from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies; Distinguished Service Award from the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships.​