Citizens taking over operations of two local wastewater plants

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The bad news: About 180 workers at two local wastewater-treatment plants are expected to lose their jobs during the heart of the holiday season when Suez Water Indiana LLC loses its contract to manage the facilities.

The good news: A vast majority of those workers will be hired promptly by Citizen’s Energy Group when it takes over direct operation and management of its wastewater system on Jan. 1.

Suez Water Indiana, an affiliate of Paramus, New Jersey-based Suez North America (formerly United Water Services Indiana LLC), has been operating the plants at 3800 W. Southport Road and 2700 S. Belmont Ave. since 1994. Citizens retained Suez’s services when it acquired the city’s wastewater system in 2011.

Last week, Suez sent notice to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that its operation and maintenance contract with Citizens would end at the end of the year. Suez said all 180 or so employees at the treatment plants would be by let go between Dec.  20 and Dec. 31. Citizens will take over operations on Jan. 1.

“Insourcing the wastewater operations and maintenance functions will allow Citizens to take a more holistic approach to managing the utility and help control costs in the future,” the utility company said in a written statement.” Citizens plans to hire the vast majority of Suez’s employees and integrate them into the Citizens organization at year end.”

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