The City of South Fulton has officially entered into a service agreement with a company to operate and manage the city’s water and wastewater facilities.
At its December meeting, the South Fulton City Commission voted to enter into a service agreement with Alliance Water Resources, headquartered in Columbia, Mo.
The agreement, which began Jan. 2, is for Alliance to provide water and wastewater operator services customized to meet the needs of the community. The contract includes provision of a licensed operator for the facilities, a position the city has been unable to fill despite extensive efforts to find a qualified candidate who meets the level of credentials required by the State of Tennessee.
A company spokesman said the experienced Alliance Water Resource system manager and licensed operator will be on site one day a week and available by phone 24/7 for troubleshooting assistance and to provide other management or operator services as requested or needed by the city — including representing the city in communications with regulatory agencies.
“Through discussions with Debra Craig, our city manager, and Wes Joyner, head of our Public Works Department, I found that both of them believed this to be the best option for our city, and I have faith in their expertise,” South Fulton Mayor Ed Cassetty said.
He said Alliance vice president/director of business development and human resources Sandy Neal met with him to further educate him on the process, “equipping me with the knowledge I need to be able to answer questions within our community.”
According to the city, the move to Alliance will be a significant savings compared to the current contracted operator system the city is utilizing.
“Training the existing staff will be one of the challenges, as most of them are fairly new to the industry,” said Terry Merritt, the licensed Alliance operator assigned to the project. “But they are a dedicated team and we are looking forward to helping them build better stability for the City of South Fulton.”
Merritt will also work on-site and hand-in-hand with Joyner to help make the best decisions for the city by lending his own experience and knowledge, as well as the analysis resources that Alliance offers.
Alliance Water Resources, which currently assists clients in Missouri and Iowa, is a full contract operation and management provider for water and wastewater resources.
In the company’s efforts to expand into states surrounding Missouri, it identified many communities throughout Tennessee that are in need of experienced utility system managers and the credentials of licensed water and wastewater operators. It also found many cities and water and wastewater utilities were receptive to discussions about alternative options.
Anticipating that this first contract in the state with South Fulton’s agreement will open up more doors for Alliance, the company has leased an office space in nearby Newbern, which will open this month.
“We’re excited for the opportunity South Fulton has provided us to demonstrate our capabilities to the state of Tennessee and to let them know we are an option,” Ms. Neal said.
Published in The Messenger 1.11.13