Buffalo, N.Y.

Buffalo Case Study

WATER TREATMENT, DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM

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.
 

CHALLENGE

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.
 

SOLUTION

  • Implement new programs and performance metrics to enhance customer service, such as improved meter reading, billing cycles, management of delinquent accounts and other issues.
  • Implement customer service phone/information systems, including upgrading Call Center operations.
  • Create an Underground Asset Management (UAGM) program that includes a GIS data integration and an integrated IT solution in which data is entered once and a central database is updated with the new information.
  • Develop a comprehensive maintenance program to enhance service to Buffalo residents.
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RESULTS

  • 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.