Newsletter: Saving Time and Money – Contracted Water and Sewer Operations (IN)

Safe, reliable, and environmentally sound resource management is on the minds of many Indiana leaders these days as communities grapple with the ever-growing demand for clean water and safe drinking water.

A growing trend is to outsource water and wastewater operations. The benefits are not only cost-effective, but they also help your community stay on top of complex government regulations and ensure your facilities are running efficiently and in compliance.

Contract operators take the day-to-day responsibility of water utilities off your leader’s hands. They have a team of experts at your service and take full responsibility for specific utility functions. Generally they perform operation and maintenance of water and wastewater treatment facilities.

“Contracting operations has allowed the City more flexibility,” said Annette Carroll, Director of Operations for the City of Huntington.

F&V Operations and Resource Management (FVOP) has a pool of certified operators and senior managers who bring decades of experience in the water and wastewater industry – all with expertise in solving operations and maintenance challenges.

“All utility operators are critical for any water or wastewater operation success,” Carroll noted. “But having a list of licensed operators to choose from on a daily basis puts the owner’s mind at ease – knowing highly qualified staff are overseeing the daily operations.

“The trained professionals are also very proactive in dealing with any maintenance or equipment issue and are excellent in communicating the needs of our operations.”

Huntington started outsourcing its operation services to FVOP at the wastewater treatment facilities in 2014. They have since expanded their contract to include operators for two water plants, a 7.5 million gallons a day wastewater plant and monitoring of lift stations.

Like other municipalities, the City saves money on legacy costs associated with health care fees and other benefits for its employees.

“F&V has provided the City with significant savings in operations and maintenance from the beginning,” Carroll added. “And the staff works very well with the City leadership in making recommendations and assisting in implementation of the City’s annual budget, 5 year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and Long Term Control Plan (LTCP).”

Full services available 24-7

Operations companies help communities provide a reliable clean drinking water supply and protect waterways. They also strive to optimize plant operations, extending the useful life of the facilities through proper maintenance and operating facilities within the design capabilities and permit requirements.

Services vary by contract, but usually include providing:
Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software
Licensed/certified operators, 24/7 for laboratory testing and plant maintenance
Project managers to oversee operations
Audits of facilities, safety programs, process operation, and operation manuals
Updated asset management plans

CMMS software is a user-friendly work order solution that maintains a database of information on maintenance operations and streamlines many procedures. It eliminates the need for paperwork and enables better decision making.

CMMS also includes preventive maintenance (PM) software which helps cut equipment downtime and boosts asset and equipment lifespan, which can be extremely beneficial to clients. CMMS can also be a useful tool for planning equipment replacement and developing capital improvement plans.

Operations companies also provide management of regulatory requirements. They work with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the Indiana Department of Health (IDH), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on behalf of their clients.

Staff are also fully trained and knowledgeable about Industrial Pretreatment Programs (IPPs) in accordance with the NPDES Permit and other regulatory controls. Files are kept current and available to system owners.

Project managers submit the required compliance reports as outlined in permits and drinking water monitoring schedules. If a compliance issue or question comes up, the project manager usually serves as the point of contact for IDEM.

The value provided by operators, maintenance technicians, engineers, and regulatory specialists goes well beyond just operating your plant. If you need assistance with operation and maintenance of your water and wastewater systems or would like an assessment of your facilities, call FVOP’s Blair Selover, Group Manager for one of the largest Indiana and Michigan-based contract operations companies. He can be reached at 1.800.494.5202 or via email

FVOP is a sister company of Fleis & VandenBrink. The engineering team supports operations when needed.