PARTNERSHIPS: New York City DEP Launches Program To Improve Services, Lower Costs

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in November launched a new program, Operational Excellence ? or OpX ? to help make DEP the safest, most effective, cost-efficient and transparent water utility in the nation. The program will enhance services, result in environmental benefits, and reduce costs for the 9 million New Yorkers who rely on DEP for water and wastewater services. Veolia Water, an international expert in water and wastewater utilities, has been hired as a consultant to develop recommendations to streamline workflows, boost productivity, identify opportunities for efficiency gains and keep water rate increases as low as possible.

As the nation?s largest municipal water and wastewater utility, DEP currently spends roughly $1.2 billion annually on operations and maintenance and aims to achieve $100 million to $200 million in annual savings through the program. The innovative incentive-based agreement with Veolia Water delivers access to a worldwide network of water and wastewater services and technologies while ensuring continued government control, decision-making authority, ownership and public-employee status for DEP employees.

Veolia?s selection followed a Request for Proposals issued in April by the New York City Water Board and a competitive review process that focused on a contractor?s ability to assess all aspects of agency operations for potential improvements, including labor productivity and processes, inventory management, chemical purchasing and usage, sludge digestion and disposal, and energy efficiency and management. The team includes McKinsey & Co. and ARCADIS as subcontractors.

DEP will draw from the Veolia team?s portfolio of best management practices, including implementing system-wide improvements and saving up to 15 percent of operations and maintenance costs for utilities including Berliner Wasserbetriebe in Berlin and Thames Water in London. Veolia manages more than 5,200 water facilities and 3,200 wastewater facilities around the world.

Improving operational productivity and efficiency is a part of several goals outlined in Strategy 2011-2014, a far-reaching strategic plan that lays out 100 distinct initiatives.?

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