United Water, a subsidiary of Suez Environnement, signed an agreement with officials of Nassau County for a 20-year contract to operate, manage and maintain the county’s wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations and sewers. The system handles the sewage from 1.2 million people on Long Island and treats it for disposal into environmentally sensitive estuaries. United Water will be responsible for the largest water-related public-private partnership to date in the United States with a value of more than $1.2 billion.
In addition to hiring United Water as a management and operations expert, Nassau County will invest more than $830 million in the sewer system over the next several years. The County will make that investment with support from a grant it has secured from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to permanently fix damages wrought by Hurricane Sandy, which devastated much of the eastern coast in 2012, and harden resilience to future storms. United Water will provide industry-leading technology and management expertise; improve the system’s operating efficiency and performance on environmental standards; clean discharges to meet New York State Environmental Protection Department standards; and eliminate odors from the Bay Park, Cedar Creek and the Glen Cove sewage treatment plants. United Water will also provide unprecedented transparency on its performance by posting operational data and live video feeds from facilities and outflow pipes on its web site – an industry first. United Water will guarantee cost savings of more than $230 million throughout the contract’s duration. More than half the savings will come from operational efficiencies and other benefits to the county.
These include reducing energy consumption, reducing chemical use, reducing sludge generation and disposal costs, and reinforced with industry-leading technology to control and manage the operations. The partnership between United Water and Nassau County is supported by a broad range of community and environmental advocacy groups including Operation SPLASH, the Point Lookout Civic Association, the Nature Conservancy on Long Island, Concerned Citizens for the Environment, Sludge Stoppers Taskforce and the New York League of Conservation Voters.