Oklahoma City and USFilter Receive 2001 Public-Private Partnership Award for Wastewater Operations
National Council For Public-Private Partnerships Honors Exemplary Partnership
Oklahoma City's wastewater management program, managed by USFilter Operating Services, was recently singled out by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) for its innovation and efficiency when it received the NCPPP 2001 Public-Private Partnership Award. Over the course of a 17-year partnership, Oklahoma City and USFilter have provided substantial cost savings and quality service for over one million metropolitan area citizens.
The NCPPP, a Washington, D.C.-based organization, evaluated public-private partnerships of all shapes and sizes across the United States. Entries for the awards were judged on originality, quality, implementation and financial performance.
"Although I don't believe privatizing is always the answer for improving city services, our long-standing partnership with USFilter has proven to be an unqualified success," said James Couch, city manager, City of Oklahoma City. "By building state-of-the-art treatment plants with municipal revenue bonds and privatizing the operations, we were able to comply with the most stringent regulations and still keep our rates very reasonable."
The relationship between Oklahoma City and USFilter is one of the nation's largest and longest-standing public-private partnerships. Beginning in 1984, the partnership called for USFilter to operate a portion of the city's largest wastewater treatment facility. Today, USFilter is responsible for all four city wastewater treatment facilities, which together are capable of processing 101 million gallons of wastewater per day. Additionally, USFilter oversees the city's industrial pretreatment program and manages an award-winning land application program for the beneficial use of biosolids, providing area farmers with 24,000 tons of biosolids at no cost.
Throughout the partnership, Oklahoma City has reaped major economic benefits including savings of more than $60 million in operations and odor control program costs.
"Receiving this national award is important to USFilter because it provides public validation that we are achieving our mission of providing reliable, compliant and cost-effective services to Oklahoma City," said Chibby Alloway, vice president and general manager, western business center, USFilter Operating Services. "This partnership clearly demonstrates to other cities across the country how public-private partnerships allow communities to obtain significant savings while improving services and ensuring environmental compliance."
A strong commitment to community service is another aspect of this award-winning partnership. For example, USFilter helped the city develop a water reuse program for its Gaillardia Golf and Country Club. This successful program reduced Gaillardia's costs and potable water use needed to irrigate its golf course--a course that hosted the Senior PGA Golf Tournament this year.