Rosalie M. O'Mahony

Outstanding Achievement Award
The City of Burlingame and USFilter
Privatization of Wastewater Treatment Services

Few, if any, public-private partnerships can boast a 27-year history. USFilter and the City of Burlingame, California, not only have maintained a 27-year relationship, but also set a model for others when they formed the first public-private partnership for wastewater services. Before 1972, the City struggled with operating the Burlingame Wastewater Treatment Facility. It was plagued with a combination of odor complaints, effluent violations, inaccurate monitoring, and unfavorable press. Then in 1972, USFilter entered into a contract with the City to operate its 5.5 million gallons per day wastewater treatment facility.

Burlingame currently enjoys some of the lowest sewer rates in San Mateo County for the 30,000 people it services. At $20.56 per month for the average single family, Burlingame’s rates are a third of the county’s highest rate of $57.80 in Half Moon Bay. At the same time, water quality has remained consistently high. From an abundance of quality complaints before 1972, the City consistently reports no complaints today. For example, the influent wastewater flow rates and organic loadings consistently fall within the treatment facility’s capacity limits; treatment efficiencies are equal to or better than required by the regulatory agencies; and residuals (i.e., the solids removed from the waste stream) are beneficially reused for land application. With an in-plant safety committee driving the plan’s health and safety effort, the facility has received numerous awards.

The partnership has evolved and matured as the city has changed. USFilter’s role has increased to include operation and maintenance of the city’s municipal landfill gas collection and treatment system and implementation of the city’s industrial pretreatment and storm water pollution prevention programs.

Due to the explosive expansion of San Francisco International Airport, the City has experienced tremendous growth in the hotel industry. The number of hotel rooms in the City has jumped from approximately 100 to more than 3,000. With approximately 800 of these rooms located within a half-mile distance of the wastewater treatment plant, odor control is understandably a sensitive issue for the city. Yet, under USFilter operation, the City has reported an absence of complaints.

USFilter’s long involvement in Burlingame includes its younger citizens. When Burlingame’s Parks and Recreation Department enlarged and improved the city’s preschool, USFilter donated over $18,000, from tables and chairs to scholarship opportunities. USFilter also sponsored the city’s 1st Annual Bay Front Cleanup as part of the larger California Coastline Cleanup Program. With satisfied customers young and old, USFilter’s contract was most recently extended again in April 1999.

For more information, please contact:

Mike Stark
Executive Vice President & General Manager
USFilter Operating Services
14950 Heathrow Forest Parkway, Suite 200
Houston, TX 77032
Telephone: (281) 985-5406
Fax: (281) 985-5630

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