The Allen County Regional Water and Sewer District (District) faced a more than 50% increase in operations and maintenance costs from the incumbent contracted provider. The nearby City of Fort Wayne, Indiana sought to review and analyze the District’s needs and the City’s capabilities for opportunities for the utility groups to work together.  Walden led working committees from both agencies to identify and articulate services that could work together.  This effort continued with the negotiation and implementation of a 10-year, $3M interlocal agreement that enables the City of Fort Wayne to assist and support the operations and management of the District and the District to provide certain specialized services to the City.

Several service modules are provided by the City including customer billing and payment management, collections, engineering, preventative maintenance for lift stations, finance and accounting, monthly reporting and call center operations.  The utility groups have co-located administrative offices, a shared field office and share purchasing power for equipment, chemicals and other supplies.

Walden served as an engineering and strategic advisor to the City during the formation of the agreements and continues their involvement with this agreement with meeting regularly with representatives from both utilities, troubleshooting implementation issues and reviewing and analyzing contract metrics.  District customers are saving more than $50 per year due to the Shared Services efficiencies and the City is further optimizing their overhead staff and resources as well as providing their own staff with opportunities to gain and diversify experience with smaller utilities.

This Walden project was featured at the 2018 American Society of Civil Engineers Annual Meeting (Indiana) with the presentation titled “Interlocal Agreements, PPPs, Consolidations and other Regionalization Trends in Water and Wastewater Utility Agencies – Impacts and Considerations for Engineers”.

This project was nominated for the United States Water Prize (2019). This award celebrates outstanding achievement in the advancement of sustainable, integrated, and inclusive solutions to water challenges and is administered by the United States Water Alliance organization in Washington DC. It is the preeminent national recognition program for exemplary efforts to secure a sustainable water future. This Walden project was nominated in the Organization: Cross-sector Partnership or Coalition category.