Collingswood-MPWC water shared service: an overview

In May we authorized a shared service agreement “between the Borough of Collingswood and the Merchantville-Pennsauken Water Commission for certain water utility management services” (effective June 1) and we want to explain what’s this all about. And – what does it mean for our water services?

Essentially, we are partnering with the well-established Merchantville-Pennsauken Water Commission (MPWC) to manage and operate our water treatment services at our seven wells and water plant which serves roughly 21,000 people.

Through retirements and attrition, the Collingswood Water Department is losing several employees, rapidly depleting our staff with the necessary licensing to run the department. This shared service will bring to our Borough the expertise of the MPWC’s five water experts with specific qualifications to oversee public water treatment and distribution. Collingswood Water will retain one staff member as our new Assistant Water Dept Superintendent and your day-to-day water services will not be impacted in any way. Here’s what you should know:

-We are not selling our water utility and will retain ownership and control of our water supply
-You’ll still call the same number to our water plant for help or with questions
-Your bills will still come from Collingswood
-Collingswood will continue to oversee maintenance and operation of Roberts Pool
-Collingswood’s Highway and Sewer Department will still service our lines in the event of breaks and other emergencies or infrastructure needs
-We do not anticipate a significant rise in water utility rates

Not only will your daily experience with water service not change, the long term goal is to make our water and services even better. We will gain MPWC’s extremely experienced staff as part of this shared service and this agreement will allow us to keenly look ahead, focusing on improvements and modernization of our water system.

With the concern regarding increasing municipal costs in New Jersey, examining shared services is smart governing. Shared services aim to identify economies in municipal operations that provide both parties with safe and qualified services to reduce cost and improve efficiency for everyone. Sharing water services with MPWC looks to do just that.

In the long run Collingswood receives a higher level of service and a better long term vision for improving our utility for years to come and the hope is that MWPC’s expertise will allow us to invest in technology that will possibly lower water rates in the future. More importantly, this shared service will ensure safe, high quality water. Better water, better planning, same price and service you’ve always known from Collingswood.