Today’s highly inflammatory action by Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) is nothing more than an effort to redirect blame for their failures and not fulfill their contractual obligations to Veolia.
Over the past three years, the PWSA Board has:
- reviewed and approved every Veolia contractual initiative through a formal process,
- engaged, as standard protocol, a third party audit company to also verify the results of those initiatives,
- hired away key employees of Veolia,
- renewed on two occasions Veolia’s contract,
- complimented Veolia and its contributions repeatedly in public statements, and
- recognized millions of dollars in savings as a result of Veolia’s efforts.
In 2012, the PWSA Board of Directors engaged a team from Veolia to provide interim executive services and implement specific agreed-upon performance goals to improve overall utility operations, while reducing costs.
Veolia did not assume control over the Authority -- the Authority, through its Board of Directors, retained ultimate decision-making authority including those decisions related to the procurement of meters and billing software, employee discipline and hiring, and all decisions related to investment in equipment and infrastructure. Veolia’s role was confined to providing a small group of management-level professionals to work alongside more than 200 PWSA staff, all of whom remained PWSA employees.
The 2014 change from soda ash to caustic soda was not initiated by (or at the direction of) Veolia’s team nor was it part of Veolia’s and PWSA’s contract metrics. Veolia did not and would not prioritize cost savings ahead of effective corrosion control methods or water quality. Veolia in no way received any financial payment related to PWSA’s decision to change corrosion control.
The Board of the PWSA did not raise any of the claims in its filing until after it had failed its obligation to pay Veolia for projects that had been vetted, approved, and completed.
Veolia met its obligations and fulfilled the requirements of our contract in a fully transparent manner. We stand behind the work performed on behalf of PWSA and strongly urge PWSA to stop trying to blame others for their failures and fulfill their obligations under the contract with Veolia.
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