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A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO OPTIMIZING WASTEWATER OPERATIONS: RUNNING A UTILITY LIKE AN EFFECTIVE BUSINESS

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Abstract:

In planning for the next century, the Bergen County Utilities Authority (BCUA) committed to implement improvements that would lead to a more cost-effective operation of their wastewater treatment system (System), which includes a 109 million gallons per day (mgd) wastewater treatment plant (Plant), nine pumping stations and 171 metering stations serving 46 Bergen County municipalities. The first step was an assessment of whether modifications to internal operations or privatization of structures within the System could enable the BCUA to provide more cost-effective service to its ratepayers while maintaining its high quality level of treatment. In order to achieve the projected cost savings as soon as possible, the BCUA undertook the simultaneous optimization of its operations through “in-house” improvements while soliciting contract operation proposals from the private sector. Unlike many other public agencies, the BCUA was not investigating potential privatization of its System to fund capital improvements or another use, but rather was interested in providing more cost-effective services to its ratepayers and implementing an advantageous long-term management program. Modifications made to optimize Plant performance and reduce operating costs could be financed less expensively through public financing and would still benefit either private or public operators.

This paper highlights the steps the BCUA undertook in its comprehensive approach to optimize System operations, discusses the benefits and problems encountered along the way, identifies the results of the cost analyses and provides an up-to-date status report of project activities.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864700784545865

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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