Water Industry News
OMI wants out of
West Haven and New Haven sewage plant
Andy Bromage ,
Management International, the private company running sewage treatment
plants in New Haven and West Haven wants to end contracts in both cities
because of alleged million-dollar losses, city officials said Wednesday.
is five years into a 15-year contract with West Haven and has asked city
officials either to cut it loose or renegotiate its contract, Mayor H.
Richard Borer Jr. said.
"They told me theyíre losing $800,000 to $2 million a year,"
Borer said. "If their claim is true, the benefactor of them
underbidding their contract are the users and the residents of our
New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said during a recent editorial board
meeting with the New Haven Register that OMI wants to end its contract
with the cityís Water Pollution Control Authority.
OMI manages New Havenís treatment plant, which also processes sewage
from East Haven, Hamden and Woodbridge. All four municipalities are
negotiating terms to create a regional water pollution control authority.
"Weíve been very pleased with private management," DeStefano
said. "Itís my understanding they are unhappy with the contract.
... OMI feels itís losing money."
An OMI spokesman could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
OMI runs West Havenís sewage treatment plant off First Avenue near Sandy
Point, which accepts wastewater from West Haven and parts of Orange. The
plant employs 21 workers on three shifts.
Borer characterized OMIís losses Wednesday as "their problem"
and said he doubts the city has authority to renegotiate the companyís
"That wouldnít be fair to other people who bid on the
contract," Borer said. "Nor do we have the powers to renegotiate
Borer said West Haven has three options: run the plant in-house, cut OMI
loose and solicit bids from new firms, or hold OMI to its contract.
Director of Finance Richard Legg said he is favor of renegotiating OMIís
contract if possible.
"They have the experience, and thereís an experience factor you
canít ignore," he said. Running the sewer plant in-house, as the
city did prior to hiring OMI, would cost millions and require a 4 to 6
mill increase in the tax rate, Legg said.
But before any decisions are made, Borer said he wants an independent
audit verifying OMIís alleged losses.
Borer said that Water Pollution Control Commission Administrator Bill
Norton "had contested some of their numbers."
Norton declined comment on the matter Wednesday.
Another option for West Haven would be to sell its assets and join the
effort to form a Greater New Haven Regional Water Pollution Control
Authority. Borer said he opposes this option.
"We have our own facility, our own treatment plant, our own
incinerator and a good collection system," Borer said. "I
donít see any need for us to join up." He said OMI does a great job
running the plant and has helped the city meet state mandates.
Based in Englewood, Colo., OMI is a water and wastewater management
company with over 170 facilities in the United States, Middle East and
Andy Bromage can be reached at email@example.com