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Public-private water partnerships expanding

American Water, the largest water services provider in North America, begins 2007 determined to form more public-private partnerships with municipalities and other government agencies. American Water President and CEO Donald Correll says the company intends to build on relationships it has already formed in cities such as Phoenix; Tampa Bay, Fla.; New York; Seattle; and Fillmore, Calif.

"Communities are looking for sustainable solutions for their water quality and capacity needs, infrastructure management, and wastewater treatment. We believe that offering this assistance will be extremely valuable in 2007 and the years ahead," says Correll. "One solution to today’s water challenges lies in public-private partnerships that can implement total water management (TWM) programs. TWM takes into account social, environmental, and economic needs so that water resources can be managed in a balanced, sustainable manner."

Examples of American Water’s public-private partnerships underway in 2007 include the following:

Wastewater design, build, and operate (DBO)-American Water will design, build, and operate a new wastewater recycling facility for Fillmore, Calif., to replace a 50-year-old plant. Initially designed to serve approximately 15,000 residents and businesses, it will have the capacity to accommodate projected growth and to meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements.

Partnering with the U.S. military-American Water will operate and manage Fort Bragg’s 10.6 million gallons per day (mgd) water treatment plant and 8 mgd wastewater treatment plant. The company’s other military partnerships include Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; and Fort Rucker, Ala.

Desalination-American Water has largely completed remediation of the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant at Apollo Beach, Fla. According to the company, this is the largest desalination activity ever undertaken in the United States. When completed, it will provide a sustainable and drought-proof source of drinking water for many of the 2 million residents of the Tampa Bay area.

Green initiatives/water re-use-The Solaire high-rise apartment in New York’s Battery Park City now has the country’s first onsite wastewater treatment and re-use system in a multi-family residential building, designed and built by American Water. The company is also creating two additional wastewater recycling projects for the Battery Park City Authority. One will recycle 30,000 gallons of water per day at Millennium Towers and the other will treat 25,000 gallons per day at the River House. Both are expected to be operational in 2007.

The largest DBO in North America-American Water is currently managing the design and construction of a water treatment facility that will serve 400,000 households in Phoenix. The plant’s initial 80 mgd capacity will ultimately be expanded to 320 mgd. When completed in early 2007, American Water will operate the system, which it says will be the largest project delivered through a DBO on the continent.

Seattle and Buffalo projects-According to American Water, its operation of the Tolt Water Treatment Plant has saved Seattle taxpayers an estimated $70 million. The city of Buffalo reported saving $21 million and has recently renewed its contract for another five years with American Water. Services provided include repair and maintenance of the distribution system; water treatment and pump station operations; residuals management; customer service; billing and collections; and repair and installation of water meters.

"Partnerships between municipalities and the private sector will be an increasingly important strategy for dealing with the enormous challenges of upgrading and replacing the nation’s water and wastewater delivery systems and to do so in a way that protects our environment," says Correll.