Veolia and Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans establish groundbreaking partnership to reinvent wastewater treatment

Veolia and Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans establish groundbreaking partnership to reinvent wastewater treatment


  • New environmental challenges prompt iconic American city and leading global water company to reinvent treatment management to improve city’s environment and quality of life
  • Reinvented partnership will save city $2 million per year and eliminate 150 annual truck trips by developing sustainable oxygen supplies on-site
  • Modern oxygen system will reduce chemical costs and energy use by at least 10% and eliminate 12 metric tons per month of greenhouse gas emissions


New Orleans – Veolia North America, the leading provider of environmental solutions in the U.S. and Canada, and the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) have established a groundbreaking partnership to reimagine how the city collects, treats and manages its wastewater, turning the byproducts of wastewater treatment into environmental assets and improving the quality of life in New Orleans. The new partnership will save almost $2 million a year, reduce energy and chemical consumption, reduce carbon emissions and install new technology for better environmental performance. 

Karine Rougé, CEO of Veolia North America’s Municipal Water division, said, "Veolia has been proud to support New Orleans’ dedicated efforts to modernize its wastewater treatment infrastructure since 1992, and our partnership is now focused on implementing a new generation of physical and process improvements that reimagine this vital city service. We are glad to partner with SWBNO to envision a forward-thinking plan that is a major step toward delivering newer infrastructure and better public service.”

Veolia and the Sewerage and Water Board have worked together more than 30 years and have dramatically improved the environmental and financial performance of one of the city’s most vital services. The partnership has rebuilt and expanded treatment processes at the city’s two wastewater treatment plants, improving water quality and operational efficiency, while also providing extraordinary operational support during hurricanes and natural disasters. A new five-year agreement finalized this month will set the partnership on a new path toward reimagining what wastewater treatment can do for the future of the city.

Ghassan Korban, Executive Director, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, said, “As part of our utility’s commitment to infrastructure reliability and resiliency, as well as technology modernization, this investment will make our East Bank and West Bank wastewater treatment plants far more efficient and effective.”

Digital upgrades to optimize future operation

The comprehensive investment and upgrade program supports New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s goal of remaking the city’s infrastructure as a source of strength and a framework for growth and renewal. Veolia will install its cutting-edge digital monitoring and analysis tools to continually optimize the performance of New Orleans’ wastewater system, allowing it to perform better, use less energy, generate less waste, emit fewer greenhouse gases, and reduce the potential generation of unpleasant odors: 

  • New digital monitoring systems will make it easier for plant operators to manage changing conditions and optimize the treatment process, providing real-time monitoring of wastewater treatment for the first time.
  • A new system for receiving, storing and treating sludge at the East Bank facility will improve efficiency, provide more odor control and help generate additional revenue in the future.
  • New pumps, bar screens and other equipment will help both East Bank and West Bank plants improve operations, while new bleach storage capacity at the West Bank facility will upgrade its disinfection capability.
  • Veolia will also install a new system to dissolve oxygen into the aerobic digestion process of wastewater treatment, eliminating the need for three truckloads a week of costly liquid oxygen supplies delivered to the plant. The new system will save almost $2 million a year, reduce chemical costs and power use by at least an estimated 10%, and eliminate an estimated 12 metric tons per month of carbon emissions.

Veolia actively supports community needs and improvements  

These upgrades will continue the renewal of New Orleans’ wastewater infrastructure that has been a hallmark of Veolia’s partnership with the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. Veolia has steadily improved daily operations of the wastewater treatment system since 1992, while strengthening its long-term capacity, functioning and resilience. When New Orleans’ wastewater treatment system was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and later by Hurricane Ida, flooding the wastewater treatment plants, Veolia drew on its global resources to restore service for residents and recover from the damage without waiting for federal assistance. As the top-ranked company for environmental services, Veolia intends to make the most of its global expertise to help America meet its need for sustainable growth. Last week, the group announced its ambition to double its size in the country by 2030.

The renewal also provides Veolia the opportunity to continue its support of community, educational and environmental initiatives across New Orleans. Veolia has donated $35,000 to community groups in the last two years to support initiatives including producing the New Orleans East Festival, rejuvenating Joe W. Brown Memorial Park, and establishing the Sankofa Wetland Park and Nature Trail in the Lower Ninth Ward. Veolia employees volunteer with the Sankofa organization to support its community events, in alignment with Veolia’s corporate mission of ecological transformation to address the changing climate.

Veolia has also established teaming agreements with Delgado Community College and the Southern University System, one of the largest historically Black college and university systems in the nation, to create mutually beneficial partnerships that drive innovation, develop talent and maintain a network within the academic community. Veolia also partners with neighboring high schools to create STEM educational opportunities for students, and students in Veolia’s internship and apprenticeship program have used that experience to join Veolia’s New Orleans team. More than 27% of Veolia’s contract spending in New Orleans is disbursed to local disadvantaged business enterprises.



A subsidiary of Veolia Group, Veolia North America (VNA) offers a full spectrum of water, waste and energy management services, including water and wastewater treatment, commercial and hazardous waste collection and disposal, energy consulting and resource recovery. VNA helps commercial, industrial, healthcare, higher education and municipality customers throughout North America. Headquartered in Boston, Mass., Veolia North America has more than 10,000 employees working at more than 350 locations across the continent.


Veolia's ambition is to become the benchmark company for ecological transformation. With nearly 218,000 employees on five continents, the Group designs and deploys useful, practical solutions for managing water, waste and energy that help to radically change the world. Through its three complementary activities, Veolia contributes to developing access to resources, preserving available resources and renewing them. In 2023, the Veolia group served 113 million people with drinking water and 103 million with wastewater services, produced 42 terawatt-hours of energy and recovered 63 million metric tons of waste. Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE) generated consolidated sales of €45.3 billion in 2023.


DeShanon Cobb
Manager, Communications and Community Relations
[email protected]