Southwest Water subsidiary wins Public-Private Partnership award

A Southwest Water Co. subsidiary has received an award for its work with the El Paso County Water Authority in financing, managing construction of and operating a state-of-the-art water treatment facility.

WEST COVINA, Calif., Nov. 1, 2001 — Southwest Water Company today announced that its subsidiary, ECO Resources, Inc., received an award from the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) for its work with the El Paso County Water Authority in financing, managing construction of and operating a state-of-the-art water treatment facility.

The NCPPP honored ECO Resources for this project at its annual awards dinner in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2001.

The El Paso County Water Authority provides water and sewer services to approximately 16,000 residents in a 91-square-mile service area just east of El Paso, Texas. ECO Resources has operated water and wastewater facilities under contract with the Authority since 1994. In the summer of 1999, peak customer water usage began to exceed the system's capacity, and the need for enhanced water supply capabilities became evident.

Complicating the issue was the quality of the local groundwater. Extremely high in mineral content, the brackish water is undrinkable without extensive treatment. Working closely with the Authority and other officials, ECO Resources assisted in drilling four new wells and constructing a reverse osmosis (RO) treatment plant. The facility went on line in February 2001, and can provide up to four million gallons of high-quality water per day.

Peter J. Moerbeek, president of ECO Resources, said, "The award from the NCPPP is gratifying. We are proud of our partnership with the El Paso County Water Authority. The RO treatment plant has become a showcase facility for us, and we look forward to helping other communities on similar projects."

The plant uses a reverse osmosis membrane filtration system designed and built by Osmonics, a manufacturer of high-technology water purification and fluid filtration equipment. Since 1969, Osmonics has helped communities around the world comply with drinking water regulations by engineering, manufacturing and supplying membrane-based water treatment equipment.

The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships is a non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1985. The Council is a forum for the brightest ideas and innovators in the partnership arena. Its growing list of public and private sector members, with experience in a wide variety of public-private partnership arrangements, and its diverse training and public education programs, represent vital core resources for partnering nationwide.

Southwest Water Company provides a broad range of services, including water production and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, public works services and utility submetering. The company owns regulated public utilities and also serves cities, utility districts and private companies under contract. More than 1.5 million people in 29 states from coast to coast depend on Southwest Water for high-quality, reliable service.

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