Holyoke and Aquarion

Aquarion Services Company is the only bidder on a 20-year, $176 million contract with the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts to build and operate the wastewater treatment facility, currently run by the city of Holyoke and by city workers. Aquarion is owned by the Kelda Group, a UK-based corporation.

The push for Aquarion has included promises of great public savings and freedom from responsiblity, backed by threats of EPA fines and promising numbers from well-paid consultants like the self-proclaimed 'Quarterback of Privatization' Mr. Jack Lyons.  The $millions$ of dollars of savings are served up to the ratepayers in the form of rate increases which will more than double current rates.

The benefits of the current public operation include local control and accountability, while the deal with Aquarion trades a public utility for the Kelda Group shareholders, whose sole demand is that Aquarion turn a profit.  The easiest way for Aquarion to do that is to cut labor costs, and the city of Holyoke loses good civil service liveable-wage jobs and the benefits of city residents who work for the city.  That relationship is destroyed when the workers transfer to Aquarion, and a century of public service jobs are erased.

The DPW has provided great service at reasonable rates since 1871.  The DPW jobs are good local union jobs, and local control and accountability is with the city.  Why sell off a slice to a corporation?.  Read these stories of water privatization struggles in Lee and Lawrence, and the privatization fiascoes in Atlanta and New Orleans, Lynn and Camden and around the world, and it is hard not to come to the conclusion that citizens need local public control of utilities like water.

Read the proposed contract with Aquarion here...
More about RH White and Malcolm Pirnie.

No rate hike until we know what we are paying for!
Continue public operation and improvements to clean up the river!
Keep city jobs in Holyoke!

Holyoke Citizens for Open Government
website www.hcog.homestead.com
email:  holyokewater@hotmail.com

Take Action >>>
Attend City Council 7:30pm on Tuesdays

Contact Mayor Mike Sullivan:  Telephone: 322-5510 Constituent: 539-9399 
City Hall Room 1    Holyoke, MA  01040    Email:  sullivam@ci.holyoke.ma.us

Contact your City Councilors.  Map of Holyoke Wards.
Contact Kelda and Aquarion.

Why is the US Conference of Mayors sponsored by Veolia, and why are the big private water corporations on the Mayors Urban Water Council along with Holyoke Mayor Mike Sullivan?

Mayor Sullivan's testimony in favor of water privatization on 3/13/02 before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment, espousing the virtues of privatization and using Lynn as an example.  Did he forget the Inspector General's Report from 6/01?  Did he
remember what happened in Lynn?

Why Lee?   
Breaking Loose in Lee   Dierdre Consolati  Op Ed Berkshire Eagle 9/28/04
Plan to privatize Lee water system hard to swallow for some town reps - Berkshire Eagle  8-25-04

Lawrence         Hands Off Our Water Lawrence Citizens Group
Lawrence saves their water system                   
Water Privatization is Wrong for Lawrence Tennis Lily
Privatization of Lee city water upsets many Eagle Tribune

Lynn  Lynn Water and Sewer Commission fires contractor USFilter
Inspector General's report summary   Full report (pdf)

Atlanta, GA  Atlanta
New Orleans, LA  New Orleans
Puerto Rico  "A disaster": Vivendi in Puerto Rico
Camden, NJhttp://www.icij.org/water/report.aspx?sID=ch&rID=54&aID=57
Stockton, CA   Stockton's Water Privatization Contract with OMI Reversed    CCCoS
Montara, CA  Tapwater Takeover

Water for Profit - CBC
Privatizing the World's Water  -  map

News articles
Holyoke       Public Water Supply since 1871          (History of water as a public utility in Holyoke 1....2  pdf

Kelda may sell Aquarion - 21% drop in US profits
HCOG Press Release 5-12-05
HCOG Letter to Mass Inspector General
New HCOG Pamphlet on the contract with Aquarion
New website on CSO's and our water system...
HCOG Press Conference 3-10-05 audio, photos, press release
Councilor wary of sewer costs Republican 2/12/05
Listen to a Realplayer video of Attorney Mark Siegars re: Aquarion contract 2/7.
Video and mp3's from 2/7 public hearing
Pictures from 2/7 public hearing
flyers for 2/7 hearing:  ...1...   ...2...  ...3...   ...4...
Public Citizen responds to Veolia
Board to discuss credit extension  The Republican 1-23-05 
Officials delay sewer decisions  The Republican 1-20-05 
Sewer Contract Debate ContinuesThe Chicopee Herald  1-19-05
Sewer contract standard sought The Republican 1-18-05 
Holyoke debates sewers The Republican 1-16-05 
Sewer contract plan debated The Republican 1-16-05 
Holyoke BPW votes to privatize, citizens group says NOT SO FAST 
HCOG Press Release 12/21/04
Letter to the Editor from Holyoke resident  12-21-04
Unanswered Questions about the contract with Aquarion HCOG
Holyoke sewer contract OK'd  The Republican  12-21-04
Purchase of water supply eyed.  Hampton Union  12.17.04
Holyoke citizens group offers alternative to privatization plan.  HCOG Press Release 12/16/04
Letters to the Editor  Hello Holyoke  12-15-04
Sewage plant pact cost lowered  The Republican  12-14-04
Special board meeting scheduled  The Republican  12-12-04
OpEd to the Republican from Holyoke Resident  12-9-04
Open Letter to Aquarion  from Holyoke Resident  12-9-04
Sewer fee sent to finance panel  The Republican  12-9-04
CRWC press release 12-8-04 
One week extension granted - Residents need more time to review contract. Holyoke Sun, Dec 2-8, -04
Board proposes sewer fee hike  The Republican  12-5-04
Mayor sets sights on fourth term  The Republican  12-5-04
The Public Cost of Privatization The Boston Globe 12-3-04
HCOG Press Conference and television coverage - video and audio 12/3/04
Water, a vital source   www.eldialogo.com
Works panel extends talks on takeover  The Republican  11-30-04
UAW Local 2322 endorses citizen's demands.
Read the proposed contract with Aquarion here.
Contract to run sewers finalized  The Republican  11-21-04
Letter to the Editor from Holyoke resident.
Sewer System Hits Snag
Contract on Water  Valley Advocate 11-18-04
HCOG Press Release  11/16/04
HCOG Press Release 11-5-04
Foes of sewer pact to meet  The Republican  11-14-04
Tentative Sewer Pact Assailed  The Republican 11-11-04
Privatizing wastewater treatment plant plan flawed The Republican 11-10-04
Holyoke misses sewage deadline  The Republican 11-7-04
EPA Orders Holyoke to clean up CSO's EPA 12.19.2000
Read Comments of attorney Mark Siegars and Dr. Mark Mitchell on the proposed contract.

10 Reasons to Resist Privatization (pdf)

1.Privatization Leads to Rate Increases
2.Privatization Undermines Water Quality
3.Companies Are Accountable to Shareholders, Not Consumers
4.Privatization Fosters Corruption
5.Privatization Reduces Local Control and Public Rights
6.Private Financing Costs More than Government Financing
7.Privatization Leads to Job Losses
8.Privatization is Difficult to Reverse
9.Privatization Can Leave the Poor with No Access to Clean Water
10.        Privatization Would Open the Door for Bulk Water Exports

Resources on the debate over Water Privatization

Public-public partnerships: The better alternative to privatizationl
Water Privatization: A Broken Promise ( pdf)  Case Histories from  Throughout the United States
Sierra Club on Municipal Privatization
Alliance for Democracy                    Sierra Club on water commodification
www.WaterActivist.org                      Water Activist's Toolbox
www.waterindustry.org                      Water Infrastructure Network
www.waterstewards.org                     www.saveamericaswater.com
Water Privatization Fiascos (pdf)
PBS Documentary "Thirst"                 www.thirstthemovie.org
Info on water privatization in the US from the Center for Public Integrity
Study on the US water industry (pdf)
A backgrounder on United Water’s Atlanta fiasco (pdf)
What the EPA has to say...
Untapped Market  from TomPaine.com
More Resources here...

Holyoke Department of Public Works    Public mtg. minutes for DPW and Sewer Commission
William Fuqua, Superintendent
63 Canal Street  Holyoke, MA 01040  Office Hours:  8:30 a. m. to 4:30 p.m.
Telephone:413-322-5645   FAX:  413-539-6807   EMail: fuquaw@ci.holyoke.ma.us

Aquarion Water Company
This site made and maintained by a Holyoke resident to distribute information about the real costs of water privatization.                              Contact me here.
Latest News...Kelda may sell Aquarion due to 21% drop in US profits
Sign the online petition to stop the contract with Aquarion
New HCOG pamphlet (pdf)

Join the holyokewater listserve: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/holyokewater/
Comic by Matt Wuerker
The view from inside CSO 009
The view from CSO 009
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