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New Orleans Mayor Nagin gives up on water private partnering

...the saga ends.

August 18, 2004

NEW ORLEANS -- Announcing the appointment of a new Sewerage and Water Board director, Mayor Ray Nagin said Wednesday that the city has scuttled all plans to privatize the system.

Marcia St. Martin, who has served as interim director of the board since 2003, was selected as part of a nationwide search.

The announcement ends years of debate over which entity could best handle a crumbling infrastructure and federally mandated repairs. Three groups -- U.S. Filter, United Water and a group of Sewerage and Water Board managers -- were vying for the contract, which would have been worth $1 billion.

The water board is responsible for providing residents with clean drinking water, performing wastewater treatment and disposal and maintaining one of the most extensive and complex drainage systems in the country, Nagin's office said.