United Water, Jersey City agree to 10-year water contract

United Water has won a contract to operate the water system for the City of Jersey City, NJ, for the next 10 years. Under the agreement, United Water will manage the treatment plant, watershed, aqueduct, and distribution system and provide customer service, meter reading and billing services. The final contract terms have been submitted to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the New Jersey DEP, and the New Jersey Local Finance Board for review and approval...

HARRINGTON PARK, NJ, Jan. 30, 2008 -- United Water announced that the company has been awarded a new contract to operate the water system for the City of Jersey City, NJ, for the next 10 years. Under the terms of the agreement, United Water will manage the treatment plant, watershed, aqueduct, and distribution system and provide customer service, meter reading and billing services. The final contract terms have been submitted to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Local Finance Board for review and approval.

United Water, whose current contract ends Jan. 31, 2008, has operated the Jersey City facilities through a public-private partnership since 1996. The Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA) Board of Commissioners, led by Eileen Gaughan, chairperson, and Daniel F. Becht, Esq., executive director, selected the firm for the new contract period following a competitive proposal process. The new contract, which takes effect February 1, 2008, represents approximately $13 million in annual revenue for United Water.

United Water, one of the nation's largest water services companies, is a subsidiary of the Suez Environment division of the Suez Group, which supplies sustainable solutions for essential environmental services (water, wastewater treatment and waste services) to industrial and individual customers around the world.

"We're honored that we have been selected to continue our partnership in Jersey City," said Tony Harding, CEO of United Water. "The confidence that the JCMUA has placed in us demonstrates that United Water's public-private partnership has delivered value to the community during the past 11 years. Our performance has increased revenues and reduced costs which have contributed to stabilized rates. We have also helped the city by improving water system performance, water quality and service reliability."

"Our partnership with United Water has been successful on many levels," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy. "By working together we have made significant financial and environmental progress for our city. A safe and reliable water system serves as the springboard for economic growth. I am confident that during the next decade United Water Jersey City will continue to make improvements that will make Jersey City an even better place to live, work and do business."

United Water's decade of achievements in Jersey City included:
• Collected a record $78.4 million in annual billings in 2007 for the JCMUA, compared to $42 million collected in 1997 at the inception of the public-private partnership
• Reduced major maintenance equipment repair costs by 500 percent from $2.7 million in 2000 to $500,000 in 2006
• Improved meter reading from 60 percent to an average of 97 percent actual reads
• Reduced aqueduct losses by more than 2 MGD due to operating efficiencies
• Resolved Consent Order for treatment residuals disposal and achieved acceptable NJDEP treatment plant rating
• Achieved Safe Drinking Water Act compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule

Under the terms of the new contract United Water will continue to operate the Boonton Water Treatment Plant, which has a capacity of 80 million gallons per day and serves 240,000 people in Jersey City as well as wholesale customers in Hoboken, Lyndhurst, Parsippany and Montville. The company also wholesales water to United Water New Jersey. In addition, United Water will maintain the city's dams, a 120-square mile watershed, a 23-mile aqueduct system and 300 miles of water distribution mains.

Public-private partnerships with municipalities, such as Jersey City, continue to be key components in United Water's business plan. The company, which was recently selected to operate wastewater facilities in DeSoto County, Mississippi, currently operates 145 municipal water and wastewater operations through contract agreements. Regulated utilities and acquisitions also figure into United Water's growth plan. Earlier this year United Water completed the acquisitions of Aquarion Water Company of New York, a regulated water utility, and AOS Operating Company, which provides water and wastewater operations and maintenance services, largely for municipalities in New England and California.

United Water provides water and wastewater services to more than seven million people in the United States. Founded in 1869, United Water is a subsidiary of the Suez Environment division of the Suez Group.

Suez Environment, a Suez business line, provides equipment and services that protect the environment and deliver the essentials of life. Its activities include drinking water production and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, and waste treatment and recovery.

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