Local municipalities often do not have the bandwidth to manage their water utilities effectively. As a result, the wear and tear to water distribution and wastewater systems can create quality issues, poor service and health risks. With needed upgrades to the water and wastewater infrastructure in the United States potentially exceeding $1 trillion by 2020, local utilities need a targeted renewal plan to address aging drinking water and wastewater treatment infrastructure.
As well as the size of the poor water infrastructure issue, the lack of highly skilled staff to conquer the problem can often slow things down. Budget restraints force utilities to be reactive, and focus on emergency repairs to aging water infrastructure, rather than proactively investing in their future. In addition to aging water infrastructure, we also have an aging workforce, resulting in an even higher demand for licensed operators, and a loss of knowledge and expertise in these areas.
According to a June 2018 Brookings Institute report, a lack of public visibility, combined with declines
in career and technical education, has reduced interest and experience among prospective workers who could fill positions crucial to operating and maintaining aging water and sewer infrastructure. Those workers who remain are aging, and increasingly, retiring, leaving vacancies of up to 50 percent at some municipal utilities.
Employees in some water occupations are significantly older than the national median. These include water treatment operators, whose median age is 46.4 years old.
SUEZ has designed our water utility acquisitions program to relieve pressure on local municipalities, while elevating their water distribution and wastewater infrastructure to the level needed to run smoothly and efficiently. With over 150 years of industry experience, we pride ourselves on being on the cutting edge. With our licensed water treatment professionals working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to manage and safeguard your resources, our global experience and technical capabilities can be put to work to serve your local constituents.
The benefits to placing your water utility in SUEZ’ hands include:
• A trusted provider with a long and reliable track record in the water industry
• Experienced to resolve compliance and quality issues, tracking upcoming regulations and acting ahead of time to maintain compliance
• World class expertise and resources
• Planned maintenance and upgrade costs, eliminating severe rate spikes
• Innovative problem solving for issues a municipality can’t solve on their own
We can help optimize existing water treatment facilities, establish preventative maintenance plans for aging water infrastructure, and provide the right staff to get the job done. Combined with our smart technology and automation designed to better conserve precious resources, we can take the steps needed to better run your utility now and into the future.
Contact a SUEZ representative to learn more about water utility management acquisitions for your aging water infrastructure.
Proudly Serving West Milford, New Jersey
Due to ever more stringent environmental compliance standards and the cost to ensure that the standards are met, the West Milford township mayor and council agreed to sell their water distribution and wastewater systems to a company that has the expertise and capital necessary to operate them going forward. On November 7, 2017, West Milford residents approved the sale of their municipal water utility to SUEZ.
West Milford has eight water systems serving 1,727 customers, and six wastewater systems serving 1,496 customers. The distribution system includes 26 miles of water mains, 20 miles of sewer mains 25 wells, and seven pump stations. Meanwhile, Highlands has 19 water systems serving 3,620 connections, and two wastewater systems serving 1,144 connections. Its distribution system includes 47 miles of water mains, 38 wells, and six pump stations.
The expected acquisition of the West Milford MUA will provide a boon to residents there. “This sale is truly the only solution to the product delivery issues, customer service deficiencies, economic burdens & environmental plights of the MUA throughout its 53-year history. There are zero downsides to our community and its residents,” Mayor Bettina Bieri told residents before the successful November 2017 referendum and sale of the municipal water utility.
Following the construction of a comprehensive five-year infrastructure plan, SUEZ is planning to invest $30 million in repairing and replacing aging water and wastewater facilities along with their respective distribution and collection systems. But a raft of other asset management, optimization, supervision and regulatory tools will follow, raising the capabilities of both operations. For example, a planning tool, and mobile workforce management app used in other SUEZ-owned properties, will be expanded to include the integrated West Milford and Highland operation.
Another key aspect of the integration has been the ongoing communication with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to develop a work plan to bring the failing wastewater treatment systems and poor water infrastructure of West Milford into compliance. Moreover, the sale allows the MUA to avoid bankruptcy, avoid $8 million of additional taxpayer debt and fines, offset $4 million of existing municipal debt using surplus sale proceeds, and ensure aging water infrastructure is compliant with environmental regulations.
After the 12 to 18 month cycle for regulatory approval, SUEZ stands ready to begin our work to ensure that the West Milford aging water and sewer infrastructure is brought into compliance and costs to all township residents are minimized, ensuring the highest standards for customers, the environment and all West Milford residents.