Big Cautions About Privatizing Shreveport’s Water and Sewer Department
A private company is interested in taking over Shreveport's water and sewer department. Execs from Suez Environment are planning to travel to Shreveport to pitch a takeover of the city's water and sewer department.
Local attorney Randy Keene made the initial pitch to the City Council, telling members this deal could save the city money and help remedy the problems with our aging infrastructure. Keene also told the Council this could ultimately lead to lower water rates.
But KEEL news has learned there have been problems with Suez in other cities.
A report from Food and Water Watch says despite promises to keep employees and improve service, there have been layoffs in several communities and higher rates in some cities. KEEL has also learned the quality of service has also suffered under Suez Management.
Part of the report says:
Poor performance has cost the company several of its largest contracts. Suez’s flagship effort in the United States — a long-term contract with Atlanta, Georgia — ended 16 years early in 2003 after the city documented numerous problems from a large maintenance backlog to inadequate bill collection. After issuing 20 notices of noncompliance to United Water, the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, decided against keeping the company when its contract came up for renewal in 2007. Gloucester, Massachusetts, similarly ended its contract with the company after water quality violations in 2009.
The privatization of municipal water systems has caused problems for several cities which contracted with Suez, formerly United Water.
Poor performance may have led to these stagnant waters. Service delays, inadequate upkeep and water quality violations cost United Water several of its largest water and sewer contracts and undermine its operations in many other cities. Its dramatic failure in Atlanta, Georgia — what was to be its showcase effort — dampened the water privatization market in the United States. Since then, few large cities have privatized their water or sewer systems