Veolia Water to assess Watershed

4/4/2014, 5:59 a.m.

DeKalb County has hired Veolia Water to do a comprehensive assessment of the operations of DeKalb Watershed Management.

The energy, water and environmental services company will work closely with DWM employees to conduct a thorough review of the utility’s administration, planning, operations, maintenance and capital programs, and customer service, billing and collections, and identify opportunities to achieve measurable cost savings in the county’s water and wastewater operations.

The assessment is expected to save the county $8 million in recurring annual savings for ratepayers.

The county says the savings will be achieved through potential operational and process changes and through the application of industry best practices.

Veolia Water, based in Chicago, won a $3.4 million DeKalb County contract in November 2013 to do the assessment. The five-year contract runs Jan. 1, 2014, to Jan. 1, 2018.

DeKalb interim CEO Lee May said finding efficiencies and making improvements within the day-to-day operation of county government upholds the county’s commitment to provide quality services today and in the future and to keep water rates affordable.

“The county must take the necessary steps to ensure efficient operations that will deliver tangible benefits to DWM’s employees, its customers and the entire community,” May said. “A key part of our long-term success includes the finding of efficiencies while at the same time maintaining high service levels.”

DeKalb Watershed Management serves 700,000 residents with its system of drinking water treatment and distribution, customer service, and wastewater collection and treatment.

The county says that Veolia’s consulting model, known as Peer Performance Solutions, or PPS, has produced or identified significant savings through similar assessments and implementation in New York City, Pittsburgh, and Washington.

Terry Mah, president and CEO of Veolia Environment North America, praised county leaders.

“DeKalb’s leaders represent a new vision for utilities, where government and private-sector companies work together to ensure high performance levels and excellent service that is provided in a cost-effective manner,” he said.