Southeast Missouri City

Project Overview

Following years of on-again, off-again discussions this city in southeast Missouri entered into earnest negotiation with Union Electric Company in 1991 with an eye toward acquisition of the water system serving the city residents.

The City asked Alliance to provide the necessary professional, business and financial expertise needed for contract negotiations, possible formation of a completely new water utility department and, if successful, management, operations and maintenance of the new water system.

On June 2, 1992, with Alliance’s assistance the City successfully acquired its water system and began providing municipal water service to its 35,000-plus citizens. Well in advance of the startup, Alliance recruited and trained a completely new water staff to replace the departing Union Electric staff. Under a cost-effective, long-term agreement with the City, Alliance provides complete water system operation and maintenance services, including operations of a 7.6 MGD lime softening treatment plant and a 2.8 MGD alluvial groundwater plant, distribution system maintenance, meter reading and full customer service.

Alliance has also provided substantial assistance to the City and its consulting engineers with the upgrade and expansion of their existing surface water plant to a 7.6 MGD lime softening plant and conversion of the raw water source to alluvial wells. This ambitious improvement program ensures the plant achieves full compliance with existing and future drinking water regulations and provides higher quality water to City customers.

Challenges
Achievements
System Description
Services Performed
Challenges
  • The City did not exercise control of its public water system, which was owned by a large, private power utility
  • The power utility had elected to offer the water system for sale and rate increases of 35-50% were anticipated if the system were acquired by another private utility company
  • The water system needed major infrastructure improvements, including the projected expansion of an aging surface water treatment plant and the replacement of undersized and deteriorating galvanized water mains
  • Additional rate increases would be necessary to fund major capital requirements
  • Lacking a water department, the City was faced with the complex task of forming a completely new utility, including professional and technical staff, all management and administrative resources and policies and procedures
Achievements
  • Alliance represented the City as a professional, technical and financial consultant in negotiations with the water system owner, enabling the City to acquire the water system at a substantial discount off of book price
  • Under a contracted O&M services agreement, Alliance recruited and trained a completely new staff and achieved a seamless startup and transition to City ownership and management
  • Alliance assisted City staff with the development of policies, procedures and business practices necessary for the formation of the new water department
  • In the first year of operation, Alliance reduced operating and maintenance costs to more than 25% below established levels; in the first five years of contract O&M services, Alliance produced operational and capital cost savings of more than $1.75 million
  • Alliance has replaced over 20 miles of corroding, two-inch, galvanized mains in the City distribution system
  • Despite an aging water plant, Alliance staff dramatically improved water quality, achieving full compliance with drinking water regulations and routinely producing finished water at turbidity levels below 0.1 NTU.
  • In the Great Flood of 1993, the City’s raw water intake on the banks of the Mississippi River was inundated and non-serviceable; anticipating the loss, Alliance secured and installed three large diesel-powered, portable pumps to temporarily replace the permanent intake with no interruption of service
  • Local media praised the Alliance/City partnership for “job well done”
  • Water line replacement normally requires extensive excavation and inconvenience for citizens, but Alliance worked hand-in-hand with the public works and engineering departments to accomplish replacement work in conjunction with the City’s street overlay program to minimize excavation of resurfaced streets
  • Alliance has worked with the City to institute geographic information system (GIS) mapping and database modeling of the water system; hydrant locations, pressure and flow data maintenance records are now easily accessed and more efficiently utilized
  • Alliance has replaced 18,000 manually-read water meters with radio read meters
System Description
  • 7.25-MGD alluvial groundwater lime softening treatment plant
  • 2.8-MGD alluvial groundwater iron removal treatment facilities
  • 300 miles of distribution main
Services Performed
  • Water Treatment
  • Water Distribution
  • Meter Reading
  • Full Customer Service