40 years of sustainable partnership

In September 2012, North America celebrated a major milestone: The 40 year anniversary of North America's first and longest running public-private partnership in the wastewater industry.

Sustainable partnership
This successful partnership, signed by the City of Burlingame and Veolia Water North America in 1972, represents 40 years of success and commitment to the community.Forty years ago, the bayside city of Burlingame, a city of approximately 36,000 located south of San Francisco, suffered from a range of problems at its wastewater treatment plant. In response, city officials turned to a private-sector partner to help alleviate their issues, forging the first North American public-private partnership for the operation of a wastewater treatment facility and municipal wastewater services in the process. After assuming responsibility, Veolia worked closely with the city to implement focused operations, maintenance and management processes, and began to roll out programs to help solve the plant's problems.

Fast-forward 40 years and the partnership can point to numerous awards and recognition from leading industry groups. The partnership was granted the State of California Safety Award from the California Water Environment Association in the small plant category five times, and won the George Burke Safety award for best safety program in the State of California twice. Further, the facility has not had a single lost-time accident in the past 16 years and Veolia has been able to reduce energy costs by approximately $100,000 annually.
The partnership has improved the city's services to residents, saved millions of dollars and garnered multiple awards for operational excellence and safety.

Under its groundbreaking contract, Veolia oversees the city's wastewater treatment facilities, which includes a 5.5 millions of gallons per day (MGD) activated sludge treatment plant, a lift station, landfill gas collection and treatment, the land application of 475 dry tons per year (dtpy) of biosolids, and a stormwater pollution prevention program. Additionally, Veolia oversaw the installation of a new co-generation power system that creates electricity onsite by using methane gas naturally produced by the wastewater treatment process.

In addition to operational excellence, Veolia has lent strong philanthropic support to the community of Burlingame. Local plant staff and leadership have worked with Burlingame High School to establish a Sewer Science Course and awarded $30,000 in scholarships to school students.For the past 11 years, the company has sponsored the Bay Front Clean-Up which has resulted in the removal of more than 70 tons of debris in that period. In August of this year, Veolia presented a $5,000 check to sponsor Burlingame's free Music in the Park Concert Series.The company stepped in nine years ago to support the popular event on an annual basis when finances threatened to shut it down.

Burlingame pioneered an entirely new model for providing important environmental service to cities, and it is expected to be a continued success for years to come.

“This partnership helped establish greater synergies between public employees and the companies that are constantly creating and evolving new technologies and services. The public is benefitting from these collaborative partnerships. We’re obviously very pleased to say that it all began in Burlingame.” – Laurent Auguste, President and CEO of Veolia Water Americas. 


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