American Water: Elizabeth, N.J. Earns USCM Award
Feb 13, 2012
American Water (NYSE: AWK), the nation’s largest publicly traded water utility, announced today the city of Elizabeth’s water and wastewater systems, operated by American Water, earned the 2012 Outstanding Public/Private Partnership Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. This award honors the outstanding achievements made possible through the combined effort of cities and the members of the Mayors Business Council and covers a broad spectrum of services and activities. American Water and the city of Elizabeth, N.J. were honored for the positive results of a public-private partnership and significant improvements to the city's water and wastewater systems.
“American Water is truly honored to receive such a prestigious award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and we share this honor with our colleagues from the city of Elizabeth,” said Jeff Sterba, president and CEO of American Water. “This unique partnership illustrates how public-private partnerships can help communities tackle an infrastructure challenge while maximizing efficiency and value.”
In response to upgrading the city’s 100 year-old water infrastructure and a wastewater system that was nearly 150 years old, the city of Elizabeth entered into two long-term contracts with American Water to maintain and operate the city’s water and wastewater systems. In 1998, after considering many possible solutions in the realm of public-private partnerships, the city selected a unique 40-year concession contract with American Water’s market-based subsidiary (a division that was then-named Liberty Water Company) to operate and maintain the water system. A few years later, the city entered into a separate 20-year operation and maintenance contract with American Water for the sewer system.
Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage added, “Both contracts have provided multiple benefits to the city and its residents. Beyond the financial benefits to the city, this public-private partnership has allowed the administration to focus its attention on other priorities in our ongoing commitment to Elizabeth’s future.”
During the course of the partnership, American Water has made more than $4 million in water related infrastructure investments to date, including system-wide meter replacements using automated meter reading touch pad capability thus reducing estimated readings and providing public safety by
eliminating the need for home entry to read meters; replacement of undersize water mains with new ductile iron pipe to increase volume capacity; and the replacement of old, existing cast iron mains that had numerous water main breaks over the past years.
The company also installed more than 700 new fire hydrants resulting in increased fire protection for the city residents. In addition to the hydrant replacement projects, a sophisticated vandal-proof cap was implemented to prevent water theft and preserve the integrity of the fire protection system. The hydrant upgrades resulted in the city’s fire insurance rating being increased and helping to reduce homeowner insurance costs.
The wastewater system is operated and maintained by E’town Services LLC, an American Water subsidiary, in conjunction with the Union County Improvement Authority. Under this agreement, E’town Services operates the city of Elizabeth Combined Sewer System for a 20-year period and receives a management fee under the terms of the contract. The project requires the company to invest $3 million to rehabilitate the brick sewer system, and to date, more than $1.4 million has been spent toward this effort. Additional maintenance requirements of the contract include cleaning all sewer mains, netting facilities and catch basins. Since 2002, E’town Services has responded to more than 400 such collapses.
About American Water
Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in more than 30 states and parts of Canada. More information can be found at www.amwater.com.