Robert Nunes, next mayor of Taunton, MA rejects private operations of drinking water plant
Gazette City Editor
TAUNTON -- The only mayoral candidate on the ballot said the water treatment plant is off
limits to privatization, despite his record of successful privatization efforts in his
Shoo-in Robert G. Nunes former administration oversaw successful efforts to have
private firms manage both the landfill and the wastewater treatment plant.
The current operator of the wastewater plant -- USFilter -- has been touted as a
management possibility for the water plant.
Joe Burgess, USFilter vice president, told the Gazette in June that his company was
interested in negotiating a long-term contract with the city.
As with the wastewater plant, the city would continue to own the asset while the company
operated and maintained it, Burgess said.
USFilter -- which operates 800 offices, plants and factories in North America -- can
operate the plant more cheaply than the city and make a profit, he said.
Nunes said during a recent interview with the Gazette that he wont consider such a
"I will not support privatizing the water treatment plant. Its not on the
He said there are big differences between its privatization and that of the wastewater
"The wastewater plant was different," he said. "It was in violation,"
of environmental guidelines, he said.
It was liable to fines by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and state Department
of Environmental Protection.
"It would have cost the city millions of dollars to bring it into compliance."
The private firm in that case took on that burden as part of its long-term contract with
The water treatment plant is not operating under any burdens, he said.