Fall River, Massachusetts

The challenge

Long-term relationship provides cost-effective and reliable wastewater treatment services for this city of 95,000.

The project challenges are:

  • In the early 1990s, Fall River contacted Veolia North America after the city's second contract operator failed to achieve consistent compliance; and, in 1994, signed an operations and maintenance contract with Veolia.
  • Under the O&M contract, Veolia assumed responsibility for the city's water facilities: a 30.9-MGD pure oxygen secondary-activated sludge wastewater treatment plant, 15-dry-to-per-day multiple hearth furnace, 14 pump stations and a regional collection system.
  • In addition, Veolia conducts industrial pretreatment program analyses and river sampling, and performs collection system rehabilitation, CSO tunnel management and 5,000-dry-tons-per-year sludge incineration and disposal.

The solution

Innovative solutions

  • Mobilize team of specialists to evaluate the plant and provide suggestions for improving operations: increasing oxygen flow to the biomass; controlling biomass levels; monitoring concentration levels; and conducting analyses on a more frequent basis.
  • Implement a combination of process controls for increasing plant efficiency and new operational procedures which together had a dramatic impact on reducing odors and noise.
  • Develop proactive community relations program to keep residents informed about activities at the wastewater treatment plant through newsletter, periodic meetings and 24-hour telephone hotline.
  • Become active member of Fall River community, providing plant tours, making donations to local organizations and lending project personnel to help the city during snowstorms.
  • ​Maintain three-mile deep rock tunnel to capture 600 million gallons of rainwater and wastewater that would otherwise overflow into Mount Hope Bay each year.

Benefits for our client


  • Contract for lengthy collection system renewed a second and third time.
  • Conquered historic odor problems.
  • High-quality effluent playing an important role in recovery of Mount Hope Bay whose ecosystem had suffered over decades of misuse.
  • Project won 2007 and 2008 Operations Excellence Award from the U.S. EPA.
  • Received numerous Gold and Silver awards for perfect and near-perfect compliance from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.
  • Received Laboratory Proficiency Award in 1994 from the State of Massachusetts' Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators Association.
  • ​Nominated for National Council of Public-Private Partnerships Award.