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Contract Operations and Maintenance – A Brief History of the Industry

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Abstract:

Contract operations and maintenance for municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities have been widely practiced in the US for almost four decades. During the tumultuous 1970's when many utilities were challenged with the requirements of the Clean Water Act, these services were generally accepted by municipal leaders and employees as a viable option for improved staffing and technical know how. During the 1980's the popularity of contract O&M services continued to grow with increased interest in project financing assistance, including larger facilities that were represented by labor unions. Throughout the 1990's additional facilities were contracted though traditional service agreements, full privatization agreements or design build, operate projects.

Today contract O&M services have appeared to reach a pinnacle as fewer municipalities are being faced with the many challenges of the past. However, are there similar challenges and problems emerging on the horizon that may call to order the services of the private sector? These challenges may include significant staff shortages resulting from planned retirements, increased regulatory pressure directed at buried infrastructure improvements and stromwater abatement programs and the financial wherewithal associated with these burdens.

Keywords: CONTRACT OPERATIONS; PRIVATE SECTOR SERVICES; PRIVATIZATION; PUBLIC OPERATIONS; REGULATORY COMPLIANCE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864707787168431

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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