Cranston, Rhode Island


Cranston, Rhode Island

The challenge

Veolia North America has served Cranston well since 1989, but through the landmark services agreement in 1997, the city transferred risk to Veolia and achieved even greater savings, improvements and efficiencies in its wastewater treatment system. This benchmark performance has resulted in numerous state and national awards.

The project challenges are:

  • In the late 1980s Cranston was under three separate consent orders and faced serious staff and maintenance problems as it prepared to upgrade its existing 23-MGD secondary wastewater treatment facility to a tertiary plant. 
  • The city contracted with Veolia in 1989 to provide full-service operations/maintenance/management (O&M) for the wastewater system and immediately began reaping the benefits of experienced leadership, technical expertise and staff training.
  • The contract expanded in 1997 when Cranston selected Veolia to implement a 25-year lease transaction for the city's entire wastewater treatment system. An additional five-year extension, to 2027, totals a 38-year partnership.

Veolia’s solution

Innovative solutions:

  • Restore compliance by implementing acclaimed O&M, safety, training and quality programs.
  • Improve odor control and community satisfaction by establishing a citizen's advisory committee to help identify times and sources of odors.
  • Implement program to improve facility's mechanical condition with emphasis on incinerators to ensure they could process biosolids from other sources.
  • Upgrade plant's SCADA system to improve monitoring and control of plant processes and equipment.
  • Develop and implement Veolia’s industry-leading Underground Asset Management Program (UGAM), a flexible, dynamic framework to improve and better manage the collection system, investigate capacity constraints and respond to sewer overflow events.
  • Manage the city's 20.2-MGD advanced activated sludge wastewater treatment plant, 44 dry-tons-per-day and 22 dry-tons-per-day multiple hearth incinerators, collection system rehabilitation, Industrial Pretreatment Program administration, septage receiving program, industrial meter reading and effluent reuse that supplies treated effluent to the local power company for cooling tower use.
  • Provide O&M services for the merchant sludge program that disposes of 17,500 dry-tons-per-year of wastewater residuals for Cranston and numerous surrounding communities.
  • Maintain city's 250-mile collection system by inspecting and cleaning lines, clearing clogs, evaluating new plat proposals and managing the design reviews, televising and flushing lines, operating 22 SCADA-monitored pump stations and maintaining diesel bypass pumps.


Surpassed goals:

  • Made great strides toward controlling odors.
  • Over $40 million in capital programs managed and completed, $21 million of which were funded by Veolia.
  • Generate a revenue stream for city through development and O&M of a merchant sludge facility.
  • Effectively managed $4 million in sewer improvements.
  • Implemented effluent reuse program that supplies high quality effluent to a local power company for cooling tower water.
  • Identified industrial contributor of significant nitrogen loadings to treatment plant. The city addressed this issue with industry, which reduced amount of consent-order required capital upgrades.
  • Reduced plant aeration costs by 20% through energy-saving innovations.
  • Received numerous awards, including: Most Efficient Large Advanced Plant; Most Improved Large Plant in the State; Best Large Plant in the State; A. Joseph Mattera Safety Award; Alfred E. Peloquin Award; James J. Courchaine Recognition; and a commendation for O&M excellence from the state Department of Environmental Management.
  • ​In 2011, the Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association awarded the city with the "Most Efficient Large Advanced Treatment Plant Award."  In 2015, Cranston received the "A. Joseph Mattera Award" for outstanding commitment to safety, “Most Efficient Large Advanced Treatment Facility Award” and Veolia’s underground asset manager/ collections engineer received the "Collections System Operator of the Year Award."