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The Stockton, Calif., city council has approved a 20-year, $600 million contract with OMI-Thames Water for operation and maintenance of the city's water, wastewater and stormwater utilities.
Under the agreement OMI-Thames Water will serve 250,000 Stockton residents and make major physical plant improvements to the city's wastewater facilities. The project is one of the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the United States.
"We commend the mayor and city council of Stockton for their foresight and thoroughness in addressing their communities' long term water and wastewater needs," said OMI-Thames Water Project Sponsor Gary Miller. "This partnership will safeguard the future of Stockton's water, save the city and its ratepayers money, and lead to improvements in environmental compliance.
"This is an important project for OMI-Thames Water as well. We are confident that this type of comprehensive partnership to provide service and facility improvement will bring lasting benefits to the residents of Stockton and be emulated by municipalities around the country."
The partnership with OMI-Thames Water will result in savings of $175 million over the life of the contract, and dramatically reduce rate increases that city residents would otherwise incur. The city of Stockton will retain ownership of the utility system, and the city council will continue to set rates.
"My personal commitment to the citizens of Stockton always has been to provide the best possible service at the lowest possible cost. This public-private partnership fully achieves that goal," said Stockton Mayor Gary Podesto.
Under the terms of the contract, current utility system employees are guaranteed employment with OMI-Thames Water.
The contract also includes a design-build component to upgrade the city's wastewater treatment plant to comply with new regulatory requirements.
OMI-Thames Water will create a wetlands treatment system that provides wildlife habitat, meets environmental and regulatory compliance requirements, and creates opportunities for community involvement.
"This is a very comprehensive agreement that resulted from a very comprehensive process. We look forward to getting down to the business of serving this community and building a long and strong partnership in the decades to come," added Miller.
OMI-Thames Water is a strategic alliance that combines the strengths of OMI, a private operator of water and wastewater systems, and Thames Water, the water business of international multi-utility RWE.
Part of the American, employee-owned CH2M HILL Companies, Ltd., OMI offers complete infrastructure development, financing, design, and operations and maintenance services. OMI manages 170 water and wastewater facilities, including several in California, and is headquartered in Englewood, Colo.
Thames Water provides drinking water and wastewater services to nearly 70 million customers worldwide, including 17 million across the United States.