Buffalo, New York

Water P3 Streamlines Processes in Buffalo

The challenge

Operation and maintenance (O&M) of the city's water supply system under a 10-year public-private partnership that has streamlined processes, enhanced city revenues without overly burdening ratepayers while managing the city's water treatment and distribution staff.

The project challenges are:

  • The project, which began in 2010, includes O&M responsibility for the city of Buffalo's 160-MGD surface water treatment facility, serving a population of 280,000.
  • Veolia North America maintains 785 miles of water transmission mains, 22,120 valves and 7,800 fire hydrants.
  • Supplied from Lake Erie through the 6,600-foot-long Emerald Channel, the dual-train water plant was built in 1926. Most of the distribution system lines were built before 1935 and are subject to Buffalo's extreme weather conditions, where winter water main breaks can reach 40 in a month.
  • In addition, Veolia has implemented new programs and performance metrics to improve customer service and availability of information ratepayer expectations.

Our solution

Innovative solutions:

  • Provide project startup and evaluate structural integrity of buildings, tanks and systems.
  • Assess health and safety issues that could impact staff and residents.
  • Develop Process Control Management Plan to schedule and track preventive maintenance.
  • Provide automation systems that will allow for remote monitoring and computerized management systems that will improve and streamline facility maintenance.
  • Identify areas needing optimization, including energy conservation and collection system infiltration reduction.
  • Accept waste from other communities to increase digester gas production and generate an onsite fuel source to reduce reliance on natural gas.

Benefits to our client


  • Completed first year of contract without a lost-time incident.
  • Developed 20 performance metrics to track and determine accountability under the new partnership.
  • Improved inventory/parts management systems.
  • Received positive support in meetings with numerous neighborhood groups as part of the customer service improvement initiative.
  • Implementing Underground Asset Management platforms for both above-ground and below-ground assets.
  • Successfully partnering with Water Authority to build on successes and plan for the future.
  • ​Recipient of the Diamond Pin Award from the American Water Works Association.