Milwaukee, Veolia Win Partnership Award

The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) recently presented a 2009 Public Service Award to Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and Veolia Water North American for their public-private wastewater partnership.

This award recognizes exemplary projects and services that illustrate best practices and innovative approaches in the use of public-private partnerships to serve communities.

The partnership earned the “Service” category award for its role in reliably and cost-effectively leveraging innovative technologies and improving wastewater processes to serve 1.1 million people, while developing community initiatives, sustainability programs, workforce development and R&D programs.

“In 2008, after a public competitive bid process, MMSD partnered with Veolia Water to help us carry out our core mission of protecting the environment and improving water quality,” said Kevin Shafer, MMSD executive director. “We’re pleased to have teamed up with a partner that shares not only our strong commitment to protecting Lake Michigan but also to serving the community.”

Veolia Water delivers technically adept wastewater treatment services. But MMSD and Veolia Water also work closely on community issues like workforce development, supplier diversity, sustainable development, community outreach, and funding for research and development.

“We are pleased that our partnership with MMSD gives us the opportunity to augment award-winning operations and maintenance services with programs that serve the public beyond pipes-and-pumps infrastructure,” said Scott Royer, general manager for Veolia Water Milwaukee.

During its selection process, NCPPP considered Veolia Water’s activities in Milwaukee, including:

  • Developing an Operator-in-Training program to address the gap between employment vacancies and a trained workforce;
  • Conducting educational facility tours for students and teachers to explain the environmental process of water treatment;
  • Launching a $1.5 million R&D program to support Great Lakes clean water initiatives, in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University and the Great Lakes Water Institute;
  • Achieving perfect environmental compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits.

The NCPPP is a non-profit educational institute that promotes public-private partnerships best practices. Membership is made up of both the public and private sectors.

MMSD is a regional government agency that provides water reclamation and flood management services for about 1.1 million customers in 28 communities in the Greater Milwaukee Area, covering 411 square miles that include all, or segments of, six watersheds. Established by state law, the district is governed by 11 commissioners. Besides its core responsibility, MMSD also handles water quality research, household hazardous waste collection, pharmaceutical collection, industrial waste monitoring, laboratory services, and Milorganite, a fertilizer trusted by professionals for more than eighty years.

Veolia Water North America began operations and maintenance of Milwaukee’s Jones Island and South Shore water reclamation facilities and the district’s conveyance and Deep Tunnel systems in March, 2008, as Veolia Water Milwaukee under contract to Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. The two wastewater treatment plants have a combined processing capacity of 630 million gallons per day. The project is the largest wastewater public-private partnership in North America.

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