Veolia Water North America (Veolia) announced that today marks the 40 th anniversary of its partnership with the City of Burlingame, Calif., for management of the city’s wastewater treatment facility. This milestone represents both the first and longest-running public-private partnership in the U.S. wastewater industry. During this time, the partnership has improved the city’s services to residents, generated millions of dollars in savings, and garnered multiple awards for operational excellence and safety.
“It’s been an honor to work closely with the City of Burlingame and its residents in this historic environmental partnership,” said Bill Toci, Veolia project manager in Burlingame, who has managed operations at the plant since 2001. “Veolia has been here 40 years, and we’re proud of our record. Beginning with our first assignment in 1972, the partnership has been successful because of our commitment to the community first and foremost, and to the mutual respect and collegial collaboration we share with the city. We look forward to being part of Burlingame for many years to come.”
Forty years ago, the bayside city of Burlingame, a city of approximately 36,000 located south of San Francisco, suffered from a range of problems at its wastewater treatment plant. In response, city officials turned to a private-sector partner to help alleviate their issues, forging the first U.S. public-private partnership for the operation of a wastewater treatment facility and municipal wastewater services in the process. After assuming responsibility, Veolia worked closely with the city to implement focused operations, maintenance and management processes, and began to roll out programs to help solve the plant’s problems.
As a result of these efforts, the facility has received numerous awards and recognition from leading industry groups. The partnership was granted the State of California Safety Award from the California Water Environment Association in the small plant category five times, and won the George Burke Safety award for best safety program in the State of California twice. Further, the facility has not had a single lost-time accident in the past 16 years and Veolia has been able to reduce energy costs by approximately $100,000 annually.