Leominster water and wastewater plants hit safety high mark

Personnel at Leominster's three water treatment facilities and one wastewater treatment facility have celebrated 20 years of operations with a perfect safety record.

Staff achieves perfect safety record for 20 years

LEOMINSTER, Mass., Mar. 2, 2004 -- Personnel at Leominster's three water treatment facilities and one wastewater treatment facility have celebrated 20 years of operations with a perfect safety record.

Operated by Veolia Water North America Operating Services, Inc., the four facilities operated by a staff of 12 on March 2 achieved 20 years with no lost-time accidents - a feat few, if any, plants have ever achieved nationally.

"It's an extremely rare thing for any type of operating facility to go 20 years without a lost-time accident," said Mike Stark, CEO and president of Veolia Water North America, who was in Leominster today for a special employee dinner celebration.

"Our Leominster team of water professionals brings real meaning to our corporate goals of 'zero tolerance' on safety and compliance issues. These facilities have a number of complex engineering and mechanical functions that can create potential safety issues. Our team's efforts here have made our entire company quite proud because of the rarity of this safety milestone and because public safety and employee safety are our company's first priority."

Veolia Water North America began operations and maintenance services of the City of Leominster's wastewater facility in 1983. Operation of the water plants began in 1996 and included capital improvements to the Notown Water Treatment Facility. Under the company's operation, the 9.3 million gallons per day wastewater project has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the George W. Burke Safety Award and the EPA Region I O&M Excellence Award.

Private-sector management has also helped Leominster achieve considerable savings, including an operations cost reduction of $165,000 annually and a $3 million savings on construction-related expenses on the Notown Water Treatment Facility.

"We have no magic story to tell," explained Bob Chalifoux, Veolia Water North America project manager for the Leominster facilities. "Safety is our culture. We're a group of people that have worked well and closely together for a long time. We watch each other's backs and reinforce safety through training. We take safety very seriously. In the process, we've been able to provide reliable, cost-effective services to our community."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average for lost-time incident rates (LTIR) at water treatment facilities and wastewater treatment facilities is 3.0 and 2.5, respectively. The 3.0 statistic means that for every 100 full-time employees working a calendar year, three work-related accidents occurred resulting in a lost work day. Veolia Water North America's LTIR for 2003 was 1.4 - significantly better than industry averages. Leominster's LTIR has been zero for 20 years.

Headquartered in Houston, Veolia Water North America operates approximately 400 municipal and industrial water and wastewater treatment facilities in the United States and Canada. In addition to designing, building and operating water and wastewater treatment facilities for municipalities, the company also services a wide of range of industrial markets, including automotive, refining, chemical, steel and oil and gas, to name a few.

Company Information:

Veolia Water North America is a provider of comprehensive water and wastewater services to municipal and industrial customers, providing services to approximately 14 million people in more than 600 communities. The company is part of Veolia Water, the No. 1 water company in the world serving more than 110 million customers. Veolia Water is the Water Division of Veolia Environment (NYSE:VE and Paris Bourse: VIE), the largest environmental services company in the world with more than 295,000 employees in about 100 countries and annual revenues of more than $28.5 billion. Visit the company's web sites at www.veoliawaterna.com.

Editor's note: On Monday, USFilter Operating Services announced that it has adopted the name of its parent company, Veolia Water, and changed its name to Veolia Water North America Operating Services, Inc.

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