United Water Signs DBO Contract with East Providence, R.I.

United Water has reached agreement with the City of East Providence, R.I., for a 10-year, design-build-operate (DBO) contract for the city’s wastewater collection and treatment facilities, which provide service to roughly two-thirds of East Providence’s 50,000 residents.

The contract calls for United Water to begin operational responsibility for the system immediately, while also implementing $52.5 million worth of infrastructure and treatment process upgrades necessary to bring the collection system and plant into compliance with new state Department of Environmental Management mandates.

As a part of the agreement, United Water will manage plant operations and improvements. This is expected to save the city $13 million over what was budgeted to be spent under a traditional project delivery approach. Construction is slated to begin at the plant, which was built in 1954 and upgraded in the mid-1970s, before the end of the year with a completion deadline of September 2012. In addition to the renovations at the plant, United Water is scheduled to build a new pump station at Watchemoket Cove and a wastewater pipeline by August 2013.

“We’re excited to be part of the solution that helps East Providence meet its goal of providing efficient and sustainable wastewater service to its residents,” said Bertrand Camus, chief executive officer of United Water.

The treatment plant will undergo extensive upgrades including odor control systems and a biological nutrient removal (BNR) process to reduce nitrogen levels in the treated water. The new BNR process will provide an added level of treatment that will improve water quality in the Pawtucket River and Narragansett Bay.

“What the city and United Water have done is nothing short of spectacular,” said Joseph S. Larisa, Jr., mayor of East Providence. “The city and its residents receive a new wastewater treatment plant, a new pumping station and professional wastewater service, and we retain the right to set our rates and keep jobs for our workers.”

United Water already operates the Bucklin Point Wastewater Treatment Facility, which serves about one-third of East Providence, for the Narragansett Bay Commission as well as the Westerly, Newport and Warren wastewater treatment facilities.

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