Successful Public/Private Partnership in Inverness, Florida

Successful Public/Private Partnership in Inverness, Florida

The City of Inverness, Florida is home to more than 7,000 residents. In 2006, the relatively small city undertook an ambitious plan to upgrade its secondary treatment facility into a SCADA-monitored, tertiary-treatment facility that that would produce public-access reclaimed water and save 700,000 gallons of water per day. The City wanted to ensure service would not be disrupted during construction and that the new system would operate as intended. To that end, Inverness entered into a partnership with Woodard & Curran in 2008 where the firm would take on all operations of the City’s water and wastewater services.

In January’s WaterWorld magazine, Glenn Burden (Woodard & Curran’s Florida Area Manager) tells the story of how the City tackled its challenges by engaging with Woodard & Curran as a contract operator.  Our O&M team went to work immediately to instill a new working culture, while simultaneously engaged in the startup of a new wastewater reclamation facility, resolving a drinking water consent order, and re-tooling the asset management strategy for thirty-two wastewater pumping stations within 18 months.

Benefits of a Public/Private Partnership

Today, the City and its staff continue to see the benefits of our public-private partnership. As Burden writes in the WaterWorld article,

“Former city employees who were indifferent to pursuing certification are now enthusiastic about the prospects of an expanded career path. The team continues to be directly involved in capital planning and implementation, proving that public and private workforces can effectively collaborate to tackle and resolve multiple problems and opportunities. In 2014, the reclamation facility received the Florida Water Environment Association’s David W. York Award, which is given to honor excellence in developing and maintaining water reuse systems.”

Ultimately, the collaborative effort between the City and Woodard & Curran resulted in a cost-effective, technologically evolved asset that provides better service for current customers, allows for residential and commercial growth, and reduces the City’s need to draw groundwater by over 70 percent.

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