CITY OF VANCOUVER, WA
Mayor Royce Pollard

  • Population: 126,000
  • Service Area Population: 160,000

For additional information, contact: Victor R. Ehrlich City Engineer City of Vancouver P.O. Box 1995 Vancouver, WA 98668-1995 (360) 696-8008 FAX (360) 696-8460

DESCRIPTION OF PARTNERSHIP ARRANGEMENT

In 1978, the City received a proposal from Envirotech Operating Services (EOS) to operate the City wastewater treatment facilities at the same cost budgeted for City operation. The contract negotiated with EOS provided for an annual cost adjustment based on increases in the cost of natural gas, power and labor. By 1981, the annual inflationary increases caused the City Council to be concerned that the City was paying too much for contract service. Staff analysis showed that in-house operation would cost about the same as contract service but without the guarantees of a contract for payment of fines due to non-performance, and recommended that a Request for Qualifications (RFQ)/Request for Proposals (RFP) process be used to solicit new, competitive proposals for facility operations.

ESTIMATED/ACTUAL COST SAVINGS -- IMPACT ON RATES

Proposers were asked to draw up their own operational plans for services to be provided as well as the cost of those services. Three firms submitted acceptable proposals. While not allowing a direct "apples to apples" comparison, this approach did encourage proposers to take a fresh look at plant operations and suggest improved operating methods. Staff reviewed the proposals and found that EOS had the soundest operating plan that gave the best value to the City. EOS currently operates three City of Vancouver wastewater treatment facilities (15.2 MGD, 8 MGD, 3.2 MGD). Over the term of the partnership (which has included several re-negotiations and extensions) significant capital improvement programs have been successfully implemented (capacity expansion and treatment level upgrade) to address the changing needs (rapid population and industrial growth) without major facility disruptions. The RFQ/RFP process initiated in 1981 resulted in a contract price lower than the previous agreement, with estimated savings of over $1 million over five years.

LABOR RELATIONS

In 1978, EOS offered employment to all City employees working at the treatment plant at that time. Most of the employees took the offer and 19 years later, there are still several of the original group working for EOS. City and EOS emphasis on safety procedures has resulted in seven years of no time lost to accidents.

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