Wastewater partnership recognized for innovative renewable energy solution and pioneering infrastructure management program
The pioneering partnership of Gresham, Ore., and Veolia Water North America has been recognized nationally by securing the 2008 Public-Private Partnership Award from the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP). This prestigious award recognizes exemplary projects and services that illustrate best practices and innovative approaches in the use of public-private partnerships.
In 2005, Gresham City Council chose to partner with Veolia Water to implement a best-in-class operation for Gresham’s wastewater program, with the goal of protecting the community’s infrastructure assets while improving the environment. Under a seven-year, $21-million contract, Veolia Water manages all operations and maintenance of the city’s 20 million-gal-per-day wastewater treatment plant, a beneficial use biosolids management program, industrial pretreatment program analyses, cogeneration operation, laboratory services and 9 lift stations.
The NCPPP awarded Veolia Water the honor in the “Service” category for the company’s innovative technical and operations approaches in serving the Gresham community.
“The City of Gresham and Veolia Water have and continue to work closely together to implement a wastewater program that is improving the local environment while protecting the city’s valuable assets,” said Dave Rouse, Gresham’s city director of the environmental services. “We built this partnership with the interests—both today and for the foreseeable future—of our community in mind. We are pleased with the remarkable accomplishments we have made in our first several years.”
Since the public-private partnership began, Veolia Water has provided the Gresham community with innovative operations and environmental programs that have earned numerous regional technical awards and recognition.
Asset management, the technically based lifecycle operational and maintenance program, is key to Veolia Water’s success. The asset management process is gaining traction with many cities across the country as they increasingly understand how proactively managing water and wastewater assets ultimately leads to lower overall costs, longer asset life and improved reliability. Gresham city officials believe that Veolia Water’s asset management program is anticipated to reduce the capital maintenance and replacement costs of the city’s assets by 15% to 25% percent over the term of the agreement, saving the city several million dollars that can be used for other municipal priorities.
Additionally, the cogeneration power system at the wastewater treatment facility generates half of the plant’s daily power usage—or approximately $18,000 per month. This green-tech system has not only reduced emissions at the facility, it has saved the Gresham community $625,000—and counting—since it commenced operation in November 2005. The system efficiently generates electricity on site by using the methane gas that is produced naturally by the wastewater treatment process, thereby reducing demand from the local power grid.
“Working with the city to achieve its environmental and operational goals is rewarding, and this award validates the success of our partnership to date,” said Chuck Voltz, president, Veolia Water North America—West. “This is a great example of how a partnership between the public and private communities can work together to improve the local quality of life. We look forward to researching how we can further decrease our environmental footprint while increasing our operational efficiency.”