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P3 Awards Profile: Pittsburgh, Veolia Partner to Stabilize Water Rates

As the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) issued a request for proposal in 2012, the utility faced many of the same problems water and wastewater systems across the country confront every day: aging infrastructure, new environmental regulations and rising costs for providing services to rate payers.

After PWSA selected Veolia North America to provide interim management of the utility for a one-year term, Veolia implemented its Peer Performance Solutions model, embedding private sector consultants with the public sector employees charged with maintaining and operating the current infrastructure.

Veolia’s North American and international experts worked alongside PWSA’s longtime specialists to improve executive management oversight and implement a six-month fast-track diagnostic evaluation of 10 functional areas of PWSA operations.

By expediting the recommendations of the 10-point evaluation, Veolia and PWSA saved money by improving management of two water treatment plants, developing a wastewater conveyance to a regional treatment authority, improving storm water facilities and combining a sewer system.

By implementing cost-saving changes throughout the system, Veolia has helped PWSA identify $2.5 million in new revenue, $3 million in annual operating savings and an additional $2 million in savings from speeding the rate of debt refinancing.

Beyond the financial improvements, the partnership helped PWSA improve safety, training and communication. The partnership improved customer service by cutting in half the amount of time customers waited.

For their outstanding partnership to identify cost savings and improving customer service, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority – in partnership with Veolia North America – has been awarded the 2014 Public-Private Partnership Service Award.

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