Council Recognizes American Water for Public-Private Partnerships

American Water, the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company, received the 2008 Public-Private Partnership Award from the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP), according to an Oct. 22 press release.

This award recognizes exemplary projects and services that illustrate the best practices and innovative approaches in the use of public-private partnerships (PPP). The council awarded American Water the honor in the "Innovation" category for the company's innovative approach of a PPP with Tampa Bay Water.

"We are proud to receive the NCPPP Award, and we share this honor with our colleagues of Acciona Agua and Tampa Bay Water," said Don Correll, president and chief executive officer of American Water. "The success of the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant illustrates how public-private partnerships provide water services and solutions to water resource challenges. This project means Tampa Bay will have a reliable new supply of drinking water for decades to come."

American Water and Acciona Agua, known through their joint venture subsidiary American Water-Acciona Agua, LLC, has worked with Tampa Bay Water since 2004 and currently provides long-term operations after successful completion of facility modifications to the largest seawater desalination plant in North America, which is the first large-scale co-located seawater desalination plant with an existing coal-fired power plant in the United States.

The plant uses about 44 million gallons per day (mgd) of seawater from a nearby power plant's cooling system, which is pretreated to remove particles. Then, reverse osmosis filters separate 25 mgd of freshwater from the seawater. The unused concentrated seawater is diluted with up to 1.4 billion gallons of cooling water before it is discharged to the bay and that dilution is why environmental studies show no measurable salinity change in Tampa Bay related to plant production. Protecting the environment was a big concern for Tampa Bay Water and its two partners on this project. The plant was built to meet the stringent U.S. environmental regulations and overcame the challenges they presented.

The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant is now fully operational and has produced more than 6 billion gallons of clean drinking water from the sea and is designed to deliver a drought-proof, environmentally sound water supply. The plant creates a new source of drinking water by removing salt from seawater and when operating at full capacity, it produces a sustainable and continuous 25 mgd of new drinking water and can be expanded to provide 35 mgd in the future.

Presentation of the awards will be made on Nov. 20 at the annual Awards Banquet held in conjunction with the council's annual meeting in Indianapolis, Ind. The NCPPP is a non-profit educational institute with membership from both public and private sectors, that promotes the use of PPPs where appropriate and the use of their best practices.

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