Ruby B. Archie

Best Practice Recognition
The City of Danville and American Water Works
Privatization of Wastewater Treatment Services

On June 3, 1998, the City of Danville, Virginia, and AmericanAnglian Environmental Technologies (a subsidiary of American Water Works) signed a 10-year, full service contract to operate the Cityís 24 million gallons per day wastewater treatment plant and 11 pumping stations, serving 54,000 people. Like many other cities, Danville faced the need to improve efficiencies while realizing cost savings. City officials decided to explore privatization options, and following a bid process, awarded AmericanAnglian the contract.

The City decided to transition its employees to AmericanAnglian employees, which hired all existing plant personnel, meeting, and in some cases exceeding, salary and benefit requirements.

The City experienced savings of over $800,000 in the first year of private operation of the cityís wastewater system. These first year operation and maintenance cost savings were passed on to the customers when the City Council eliminated a proposed 8.5% increase in the water and wastewater rates. As a result of cost savings, the partnership between the City and AmericanAnglian has achieved the lowest rates in the past five years.

The components of the cost savings include:

  • Installation of a new bio-solids processing unit, cutting costs by nearly half;
  • Implementation of a computerized maintenance management system, resulting in preventive maintenance and repairs, avoiding costly replacement of equipment;
  • AmericanAnglianís ability, through economies of scale, to negotiate significant savings in purchases of chemicals and related materials; and
  • Optimization of staff through routine attrition.

As in the normal operation of any wastewater facility, the need for certain capital improvements had been identified by the City prior to forming the partnership. AmericanAnglian assumed oversight of the project, and working with the engineering and construction contractor and city officials made numerous recommendations to the proposed improvements. The public/private partnership has completed a $7.5 million construction of a new bio-solids processing unit, reducing bio-solids disposal costs and significantly impacting the environment by reducing odor, along with several other upgrades. A ceremony dedicating the new facilities was held in October of 1999.

AmericanAnglian is committed to ensuring both the professional and personal development of all staff members, whether employees remain employed by the City or become AmericanAnglian employees. In its recognition of the adoption of "zero tolerance" policies for environmental non-compliance by many states, and the associated costly fines being imposed for such violations, AmericanAnglian has taken specific initiatives, including establishing the Danville Technical Institute, providing technical, safety, policy and procedure training.

The success for the City of Danville/AmericanAnglian Partnership has resulted from the dedication of all parties involved and has been a win-win for everyone. 

For more information, please contact:

J. James Barr
President & Chief Executive Officer
1025 Laurel Oak Road
Voorhees, NJ 08043
Telephone: (856) 346-8301
Fax: (856) 346-8300

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

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