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Utilities Privatization at Navy wastewater treatment plant - good for the environment and save millions

01 July 2022
Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), in coordination with Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC), awarded a major contract June 30 to privatize the wastewater utility system for Naval Station (NS) Mayport, Florida.
Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), in coordination with Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC), awarded a major contract June 30 to privatize the wastewater utility system for Naval Station (NS) Mayport, Florida.

American Water Military Services, LLC (AWMS) was awarded the contract. In 2023, AWMS will assume ownership of the utility system and infrastructure as well as operate and maintain the system while providing utility services to the Navy. Under the Department of the Navy (DON) Utilities Privatization (UP) Pilot Program, AWMS will collect and provide for disposal of domestic and oily-waste water discharge and provide significant rehabilitation of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The period of performance of the UP service contract is 50 years.

According to the DON’s economic analysis, this UP provides a cost avoidance of approximately $65 million over the life of the contract.

“Naval Station Mayport is a great example of how installations can work together with the system owners to achieve resilient and reliable utilities,” said DLA Energy Utility Services Director Martha Gray. “We are both pleased and excited to award our first Navy Utilities Privatization contract.”

Naval Station Mayport is the third-largest naval surface fleet concentration in the United States with the current wastewater utility system serving more than 14,500 personnel. The purpose of entering into the UP Pilot Program is to upgrade the wastewater utility system and comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Clean Water Act regulations, while realizing cost savings.

“It has been a long process,” said NS Mayport Commanding Officer Capt. Jason Canfield. “There have been 12 studies and projects completed since 2010 that have gotten us to where we are today. I am proud of the dedication and hard work our Navy team has done to finalize this requirement which will lead to our system coming into compliance.”

Naval Station Mayport owns and operates a 2.0 million gallon per day (MGD) WWTP that discharges to the Lower St. Johns River (LSJR). The plant treats all wastewater generated at NS Mayport, including the ships in port, and is regulated under two separate NPDES permits.

The Navy is one of 30 local stakeholders discharging to the LSJR who participated in the Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) that was finalized in 2008, adopted into Florida law, and implemented through the NPDES permit program.

The Navy has been under a Consent Order (CO) from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for noncompliance with total nitrogen (TN) permit discharge limits which requires final compliance by September 1, 2023.

“We had planned for years to secure a military construction (MILCON) project to replace the wastewater treatment plant at NS Mayport,” said Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Southeast Environmental Director Mary Oxendine.

Feasibility studies and other projects were conducted to determine the preferred course of action for NS Mayport to comply with permit limits and to identify viable options to maximize the energy efficiency and sustainability of the wastewater collection and treatment system.

“Going the MILCON route ended up being cost prohibitive, so we investigated the use of a UP contract,” said Oxendine. “In the long run, this is the best use of the taxpayers’ money to bring the facility into compliance and meet the FDEP CO deadline.”

”This is not the first time NAVFAC Southeast has looked at UP as a contract tool,” said NAVFAC Southeast Utilities and Energy Management Director Kevin Roye. “We currently have five UPs in the southeast. They include Key West (water and wastewater), Meridian (electric), Kingsville (electric) and Corpus Christi (electric). Naval Station Mayport will be the sixth.”

The contract is a unique partnership between NAVFAC and DLA Energy. The DLA Energy team brings significant experience and expertise in the execution of UP projects within the Department of Defense (DoD). NAVFAC serves as the UP Program Office lead for planning, requirements development, budgeting, Program Objective Memorandum (POM) development, programming and project management in addition to enterprise portfolio management.

DLA Energy Utility Services helps military services coordinate and consolidate DoD privatization efforts such as gas lines, electrical distribution systems, water and wastewater systems, and thermal systems. In the utilities privatization process, military installations shift from the role of owner-operator to that of smart utility service customers.

”This effort took a lot of coordination with an excellent partner and we are very pleased to have a good outcome. This contract will bring a lot of value to the Navy, its sailors, and personnel at Mayport,” said Gray. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Navy for many years to come. DLA Energy anticipates a long and successful relationship with its new Navy partner.”
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