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Contact: Tori Dixon,
Greg Stanko or Janet Harris
U.S. Water Hits the Ground Running
in Camden with Early Success
CAMDEN, NJ, March 25 In February, U.S. Water L.L.C.
started a 20 year contract to operate the water treatment and distribution system and
wastewater collection system of Camden, New Jersey. In the few weeks since then, Camden
Water L.L.C. (US Water), has compiled resolved employees labor concerns, responded
to nearly 200 customer requests, repaired sewer collapses, and initiated repairs to pump
The Camden project, serving a population of more than 54,000 for water and 87,000 for
wastewater collection, adds to US Waters list of over 30 clients in New Jersey. The
agreement includes a $20 million concession payment from US Water in the first year, which
will beis earmarked by the City for infrastructure improvements to the water and sewer
system. The City has committed a minimum of $40 million over the next 20 years for in
capital improvements to the aging system. US Water will also make annual concession
payments will also be made by US Waterto the City, beginning in the second year of the
The public-private partnership agreement will provide Camden with vastly improved water
services at lower cost and help the City pay for needed infrastructure and capital
"This partnership agreement represents the quickest and surest path to providing
clean drinking water to the Camden community," said Michael Belsante, President &
CEO of US Water. "In our first month on the job, Camden Water has already been very
active in our efforts to maintain and improve both the infrastructure of the system and
our relationship with our customers and employees."
The highlights of the agreement are as follows:
- The City retains ownership of the water and sewer infrastructure, while allowing US
Water to operate and manage it at significantly lower cost.
- The City will stabilize its water and sewer rates.
The stabilization of rates, made possible by US Waters ability to control
operational costs, is in sharp contrast to the more than 100 percent water and sewer rate
increases that customers experienced under public operation during the past ten years.
By containing what had been rapidly increasing operational costs, the City of Camden
will now be able to conduct intensive and needed infrastructure investment that it could
not have afforded otherwise.
US Water offered employment with equivalent or better salary and benefits to all
existing utility workers, and gave generous compensation packages to those who chose not
to transfer to US Water. The company is working closely with the local union. It will not
lay off any employees for economic reasons. Employees who join US Water will receive
training and career advancement opportunities far beyond what was available to them
through City employment.
In fewer than two months Camden Water (US Water) has:
Better Quality Water
...begun planning an early spring flushing of the Citys entire water system. This
will help improve the quality of water being provided through the distribution system to
...worked with officials of the employees union, Camden County Council #10, to
accommodate labors suggestions. For example, the primary request of employees was to
establish fixed shifts so that they could work on a regular, consistent schedule. As a
result, Camden Water changed the way workers shifts are scheduled, allowing
employees to work fixed shifts based on their preferred shift. Previously, employees
worked floating shifts, making it hard to plan personal and family activities.
Camden Water is a division of U.S. Water L.L.C., a
partnership between United Utilities and Bechtel. US Water operates, maintains, and
manages municipal and industrial water and wastewater systems, and provides related
services in billing and collection, design, construction management and financing. The
company was founded in New Jersey, where it maintains its operational and customer service
headquarters and its largest regional office. US Waters corporate headquarters is
located in Bolingbrook, Ill., with additional regional offices in North Carolina and
Massachusetts. US Water currently serves 72 facilities, including 34 in New Jersey. The
company has, with more than 17 years of operations experience with municipal and
industrial customers, more water and wastewater experience in the Garden State than any
Better Protected Ronald McDonald House Against Fire
...finalized repairs to the water main at the Ronald McDonald House. The facility had
been waiting many months for a repair that would enable the buildings 6-inch main to
tap into a 10-inch main, and then finally into a 12-inch main in order to provide adequate
fire protection for the building. Camden Water initiated repair activities within the
companys first few weeks of operations, and expects to complete the multi-phase
project within a week or two. As part of the initial phase, Camden Water had to close down
Mickle Boulevard. We did so on a weekend to minimize traffic disruption. Camden Police
were brought on board to direct traffic, and at the time complimented Camden Water staff
on their traffic control abilities and the smoothness of the operation.
Rapidly Assisted Customers
...received and responded to approximately 170 customer complaints regarding water and
sewer problems. Camden Water staff has handled water requests involving emergency water
shut-offs including service shut-offs to vacant buildings that were missing water pipes,
final meter readings, and the repair and replacement of existing meters. Camden Water
staff also handled sewer system complaints involving clogs in vents, laterals, and mains.
Staff has cleaned storm drains and replaced numerous missing manhole and inlet covers.
On the Job Safety Training
...conducted three weeks of safety training programs for staff who were previously
employed by the City of Camden. Specific courses taught focused on protecting
workers health, CPR/First Aid, and Confined Space and Excavation. This training is
necessary for entering confined spaces, such as water and sewer collapses. Personnel at
the Morris-Delair Water Treatment Facility received training in the safe handling of
chemicals and other materials used to improve water quality. Camden Water will conduct
ongoing training courses for its employees.
In an effort to improve public safety, Camden Water has replaced three defective fire