United Water signs five-year extension with Gary, IN

United Water has signed a five-year extension to its contract to manage the Gary Sanitary District's wastewater treatment facilities and sewage collection system. United Water, whose contract ends May 31, 2008, has operated these facilities in Indiana through a public-private partnership since 1998. The new five-year contract with the District, which takes effect June 1, represents about $54 million in total revenue for United Water. The District serves 180,000 people...

HARRINGTON PARK, NJ, May 27, 2008 -- United Water announced that the company has signed a five-year extension to its contract to manage the Gary Sanitary District's wastewater treatment facilities and sewage collection system. United Water, whose contract ends May 31, 2008, has operated these facilities in Indiana through a public-private partnership since 1998.

The new five-year contract with the District, which takes effect June 1, represents about $54 million in total revenue for United Water. The District serves 180,000 people who live in Gary and the surrounding communities of Calumet, Hobart, Lake Station and Merrillville.

Under the terms of the agreement, United Water is responsible for the operation, maintenance and management of the District's facilities which include a 60 million-gallon-a day wastewater treatment plant, a 360-mile sewer collection system with 25 miles of storm sewers and five miles of separate sanitary sewers, 36 pumping stations including 20 sanitary remote pumping stations and 16 storm water pumping stations and 12 combined sewer overflows (CSOs).

"We're honored that the Board of Commissioners selected us to continue operating their wastewater facilities," said Tony Harding, CEO of United Water. "Their confidence in us is based upon the achievements we have made during the course of our ten-year public-private partnership." Harding noted that United Water's cost-effective management has helped the District to maintain stable rates for its customers. In addition, the company's efforts have helped the District improve water quality in the Grand Calumet River, which discharges into Lake Michigan, making it substantially cleaner and safer for wildlife and recreational activities.

United Water's management capabilities helped the District reduce the levels of sulfates, total dissolved solids, chlorides, fluoride and copper in discharged water to levels that are in compliance with EPA standards. The company's wet weather management plan helped to reduce the number of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) by 66 percent while reducing the volume from 3.8 billion gallons to 236 million gallons. In addition to its environmental achievements, the United Water Gary partnership's efforts have also been recognized by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management which has awarded the team with Safety and Laboratory awards for five consecutive years.

"This public-private partnership has served Gary area residents well," said Richard J. Comer, president of the Gary Sanitary District. "Our wastewater infrastructure is an important part of our plan to improve the environment and enhance economic development in Northwest Indiana. United Water has been a true partner in helping us pursue those goals."

Comer explained that when United Water came on board in 1998, the partnership began to resolve a complex consent decree that was issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 20 years earlier. Once these compliance matters were resolved, the EPA assigned compliance oversight back to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

"We have made tremendous strides working with United Water during the past decade," said Comer. "I am confident that this partnership will continue to deliver economic and environmental benefits. We are also looking forward to United Water's continued participation in community programs such as the Adopt-A-School program at Lew Wallace High School." Comer also commended Hamilton Caramouche, the District attorney, and Luci Horton, the District director, for their hard work in leading the team that worked on extending the contract.

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.

Public-private partnerships with public authorities such as the Gary Sanitary District are important components in United Water's managed growth plan. Last year the company renewed operating contracts with the cities of Indianapolis, IN and Jersey City, NJ and began a new contract with DeSoto County, MS.

Regulated utilities and acquisitions also figure into United Water's plan. In 2007 the company acquired 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. In addition, by the end of the second quarter of this year, United Water expects to close on the acquisition of Utility Service Company, the nation's leading water tank maintenance service company which has operations throughout the United States.

United Water, a subsidiary of the SUEZ Environment division of the SUEZ Group, provides water and wastewater services to 7.3 million people in 21 states.

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