Regional solutions, including the development of interlocal agreements to provide services, is one of many potential approaches that enable water and wastewater utilities meet today’s needs and tomorrow’s demands. Joining resources and streamlining operations and decision-making can enhance efficiency. Partnerships between utilities can consist of a range of structures, including interlocal agreements for purchasing/selling treatment services and formal arrangements for sharing treatment capacity and assets. For more information about partnerships involving contracting of management, consolidation, and full mergers, view the companion resource on Consolidation of Water and Wastewater Systems: Options and Considerations.
Many factors need to be carefully considered and addressed before utilities enter into formal partnership arrangements. Through multiple projects and partnerships, the EFC is working to address those factors and research the possible outcomes of consolidation in various utility situations.
In practice, the EFC has seen interlocal agreements ranging from one page to over 30 pages. Longer is not always better, but the considerations laid out in this guidance document are a good starting point for identifying the types of things that should be included when drafting a new agreement or redrafting an existing one. These are not just ideas that the EFC has come up with; rather, there have been real, contractual challenges that have arisen from most of these, and thus, this guide should be thought of as a helpful tool to reference when drafting an interlocal agreement. It should spawn discussion and consideration of provisions that may simplify contractual relations down the road for entities partnering through water and wastewater interlocal agreements.
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To view a condensed version of this guide, download the Crafting Interlocal Water and Wastewater Agreements: A Condensed Guide.
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