Denver — CH2M and the City of North Miami Beach, Fla., entered a 15-year partnership to deliver a best-in-class water/wastewater utility for residents and regional customers of the city. The city’s regional utility, NMB Water, serves over 180,000 customers in northern Miami-Dade County, including North Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach, Golden Beach, and portions of unincorporated Miami-Dade County.
NMB Water recently completed a new Water/Wastewater Strategic Master Plan, a Condition Assessment of the water treatment facility, and conducted an independent Operational Assessment of the utility. These reports collectively demonstrated the need for operational changes, near-term upgrades, and capacity expansions that will be critical to providing the highest level of service. As part of these improvements, the city has decided to invest the resources to become a best-in-class utility as measured against a suite of industry benchmarks.
To achieve this milestone quickly, the city developed a unique contract that can be considered a new model for the water industry. The contract is an integrated program management platform that includes capital program management, engineering planning/design, utility operations and maintenance, and progressive design-build.
“The city wanted an approach for single source accountability and turn-key water and wastewater services for our utility to quickly achieve best-in-class,” said Director of NMB Water Jeffrey F. Thompson, P.E. “CH2M was the only firm to provide all of the program, operations, and construction services in-house that will save NMB Water time and money as well as promote the collaboration between engineering and operations under the umbrella of a single entity,” added Thompson.
On July 17, the team completed transitioning the city staff to CH2M and started utility operations and maintenance for NMB Water’s regional system. Referring to this important milestone, Mayor George Vallejo stated, “the 180,000 customers are the big winner who will enjoy a more reliable water utility with safer and cleaner drinking water…it’s a big win not just for the customers but for the city residents and taxpayers too.”
In addition to the utility operations, the city is leveraging this unique contract to quickly improve the utility level of service. CH2M has already begun the program management of the city’s estimated $250 million capital program, the design of the water plant expansion, and is implementing a $12 million design-build of 30 critical near-term projects for reliability and level of service improvements.
“We are very proud of how quickly our team began to implement all facets of this important and unique contract in a seamless manner from program management to operations and design-build,” said Greg McIntyre, President of CH2M’s State and Local Government sector, and Principal in-Charge for the Program.
The partnership requires CH2M to monitor and successfully complete 57 key areas of improvement in the short-term, as well as monitor and maintain critical Key Performance Indicators for the life of the 15-year contract, including regulatory compliance and staff training. The utility operations and maintenance component of the contract, valued at $22 million per year, is guaranteed for 15 years, saving the city millions of dollars annually over current operational costs.
“This is great for all the residents and all the utility’s customers; not only do they get to save in excess of $55 million, they will also get the safety, security, and the benefits they deserve,” said City Manager Ana M. Garcia.
“We are so excited to serve as the city’s partner for their water and wastewater utility,” said Matt Alvarez, CH2M’s Client Account Manager and Program Director. “The Mayor, City Commissioners, and City Manager have all displayed tremendous visionary leadership in this decision for their utility. It has been very rewarding working with the city to reach this milestone of integrating these services within a program platform, saving both time and money in achieving a best-in-class utility for its customers. CH2M is sincerely looking forward to our new partnership with the City of North Miami Beach and our work together in the transformation and success of NMB Water,” added Alvarez.