The DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management (DWM) has hired Veolia Environnement, the world’s leading environmental and water services and technology provider, to help the county identify cost savings and help improve customer service by conducting a comprehensive and independent review of the county’s water and wastewater operations. DWM provides services to 700,000 residents in the Atlanta metropolitan region through its system of water treatment and distribution, customer service, and wastewater collection and treatment. The county and Veolia estimate that this review could produce as much as $8 million in savings annually for DeKalb ratepayers, reducing costs and helping mitigate rate increases. The partnership is also expected to improve customer service and reduce wait times for customers. As part of its scope, Veolia will work closely with DWM to conduct a thorough review of the utility’s administration, planning, operations, maintenance and capital programs, customer service, and billing and collections. “The Department of Watershed Management is committed to protecting public health by providing safe and high-quality drinking water and quality wastewater treatment services,” said DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May. “To uphold our shared commitment to providing quality services today and in the future, and to keep water rates affordable, the county must take the necessary steps to ensure efficient operations that will deliver tangible benefits to DWM’s employees, our customers and our community.” In partnering with Veolia, DeKalb County has selected a proven, innovative Veolia consulting model currently being used in Pittsburgh, New York City and Washington, D.C. Known as Peer Performance Solutions (PPS), this model blends a public workforce and embedded private-sector experts to deliver sustainable best practices that accelerate innovation and efficiency improvements at public utilities. In New York City, program implementation of this consulting model is on track to yield annual recurring financial benefits of more than $100 million by 2016. In Pittsburgh, Veolia’s PPS initiatives enabled a reduction in customer call waiting time of 50% after 6 months.