Two Tennessee cities renew Veolia Water partnerships

At the base of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and home to thousands of annual tourists, the cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN, have renewed their long-term partnerships with Veolia Water North America (Veolia Water) to continue providing wastewater treatment services...

HOUSTON, Aug. 3, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- At the base of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and home to thousands of annual tourists, the cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN, have renewed their long-term partnerships with Veolia Water North America (Veolia Water) to continue providing wastewater treatment services.

Combined, the two contract renewals include the management of more than 7 million gallons per day of wastewater, nearly 30 pump stations and more than 66 miles of collection lines. Additionally, the contracts call for Veolia Water to continue managing both cities' septage-receiving operations.

The two public-private partnerships were each renewed for another 5 years, with automatic 5-year renewals, and have a potential value of approximately $20 million combined.

"We are a bit unique in that we are a small city for part of the year, and a big city during peak tourism season," said Mark Miller, public works director, Pigeon Forge. "We have major influent swings from summer to winter and from weekend to weekday. Water is Veolia Water's main expertise. With them as our partner, we have the expertise and the flexibility to economically and effectively manage the continuous flow fluctuation at our wastewater plant -- allowing us the opportunity to better focus on our residents and tourists."

Nearly 20 years ago, Veolia Water began its partnership with Pigeon Forge when the city was faced with an overloaded plant, frequent NPDES violations and a possible building moratorium. With the assistance of its private-sector partner, the city has expanded its wastewater treatment facility and won several awards including the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Pollution Control Association Achievement Award for the most significant water pollution control abatement effort by a municipality.

Miller adds that Pigeon Forge is able to keep its water rates below regional averages thanks to the savings Veolia Water provides through shared resources in neighboring Gatlinburg.

Veolia Water began providing wastewater services to Gatlinburg in 1994. The partnership also enables the city to save substantially on its wastewater operations through the sharing of common staff with Pigeon Forge. Gatlinburg's partnership has prospered over the last 10 years with Veolia Water implementing numerous plant modifications and improvements including the rehabilitation of the bar screens and the effluent filters, to name a few.

Additionally, through the sharing of resources with its Pigeon Forge operations, Veolia Water optimized plant operations with the installation of a state-of-the-art computer monitoring system, which allows the company to monitor both plants and pump stations from either location, resulting in quality, cost-effective operations for both clients.

"The West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, which flows out of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, is the focus of much of the area's tourism -- people camp, swim and center their vacations around this river," said Martin Cross, senior project manager for Veolia Water. "Keeping this water pristine is critical. The structure of our two partnerships guarantees that additional resources can be drawn from both facilities at any given time, ensuring both facilities are producing clean effluent and maintaining consistent environmental compliance, every day," adds Cross.

"Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have been our home for close to 20 years, so we are, of course, happy to continue providing services to the communities we call home," Cross said.

Veolia Water, formerly known as USFilter Operating Services, provides services to approximately 600 communities across North America, including approximately 20 in Tennessee and Kentucky.

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