Leonard F. Graziano, president and CEO of Severn Trent Services, has been named president of the Water Partnership Council for a one-year term, beginning June 1. The Council comprises companies that provide contract operation and maintenance services for water and wastewater systems. The organization's mission is to advance the cause of sustainable water quality in the United States by helping communities and companies operate their water and wastewater treatment facilities in the safest, most environmentally sound and cost-effective manner possible.
The Washington, D.C.-based Water Partnership Council promotes public-private partnerships to address America's water and wastewater needs of today and tomorrow. As the country's water infrastructure has aged, the need to upgrade facilities and services has become more acute. Partnerships between municipalities or water/wastewater authorities and private solutions providers bring much-needed industry expertise to communities' water and wastewater needs and can provide significant cost savings.
According to Graziano, many communities will be addressing long-overdue water and wastewater infrastructure improvements in coming years resulting from widespread state government surpluses in 2004, the first such surpluses since 2000. "State tax collections rose to a record $600 billion last year," Graziano said, "and some of those revenues will likely be slated for infrastructure improvements.” Increasingly, municipalities and water and wastewater authorities are turning to public-private partnerships to manage the ongoing operation and maintenance tasks. In fact, the number of such partnerships has tripled since 1997, and they now serve the needs of more than 1,500 American communities.
"Unlike privatization, in which ownership of municipal facilities is transferred to the private sector, public-private partnerships allow cities to retain ownership and control of their facilities,” Graziano said. “The private partner provides the operational expertise and assumes responsibility for regulatory compliance."
Graziano joined Severn Trent Services five years ago as vice president to manage its Contract Operations business and was named President and CEO in 2002. He currently serves on the executive committee of Severn Trent Plc, the parent company of Severn Trent Services.