Burlingame officials honored a milestone Wednesday night, celebrating a 40-year partnership with Veolia Water North America as the City’s wastewater treatment facility provider.
The relationship marks the longest running—and also the first—public-private partnership in the wastewater industry throughout the country.
The partnership has been touted as a significant money-saver, as well as improved service to residents.
“If you take a look at all of our cost centers in the City and you take a look at how they have grown or not grown, Veolia has kept the costs down bar done—beyond anything else we’ve been able to do in the City,” said City Manager Jim Nantell during an August City Council meeting. “They’ve been a great partner and we appreciate it.”
Veolia oversees the wastewater facilities for Burlingame, including a 5.5 million gallons per day sludge treatment plant, landfill gas collection and treatment, a lift station, a storm water pollution prevention program and land application of 475 dry tons of biosolids per year.
Veolia has worked with Burlingame on capital improvements on the plant’s infrastructure. The improvements over the years include a $6.5 million storm water retention basin installation, a $330,000 centrifuge installation and $11.2 million reliability improvement project. It has additionally reduced energy costs by about $100,000 each year.
“It’s been an honor to work closely with the City of Burlingame and its residents in this historic environmental partnership,” said Bill Toci, Veolia project manager. “Veolia has been here 40 years, and we’re proud of our record. Beginning with our assignment in 1972, the partnership has been successful because of our commitment to the community first and foremost, and to the mutual respect and collegial collaboration we share with the city.”
Toci has managed operations at the plant since 2001.
Throughout the years, Veolia’s facility has been awarded as a leader in the industry. The Veolia-Burlingame partnership was granted the State of California Safety Award by the California Water Environment Association five times in the small plant category and the George Burke Safety Award for best safety twice.
Additionally, Veolia has strong philanthropic and community ties to Burlingame. Local plant staff work in conjunction with Burlingame High School to create a Sewer Science Course and award $30,000 in scholarships to students.
The company has sponsored the Burlingame Bayfront Clean-up for the past 11 years and provided $5,000 for Burlingame’s Music in the Park concerts.
“This anniversary marks a very important moment in the history of water treatment,” said President and CEO Laurent Auguste. “Burlingame literally pioneered an entirely new model for providing important environmental service to cities…We’re obviously very pleased to say that it all began in Burlingame.”