Philadelphia privatizes sludge

On June 20, 2008, the Philadelphia City Council approved the privatization of the city’s Biosolids Recycling Center. As Reason reports in its recent Annual Privatization Report 2008, officials estimate cost savings to range from $100 million to $200 million over the life of the 23-year contract term. The only bidder, Philadelphia Biosolids Services LLC, is a partnership between the Houston-based Synagro Inc. (a municipal waste specialist), McKissack and McKissack (a Philadelphia-based architectural firm), and Len Parker Associates (a Philadelphia-based, minority-owned contractor). The contractor would take over plant operations and construct a new facility to convert treated waste into pellets that qualify as fertilizer for a broad range of uses. Fertilizer currently produced by the city is highly regulated and can only be sent to farms, abandoned mines and landfills. For more updates on local privatization initiatives see the State and Local Update section of APR 2008 and the privatization and government reform page on our website.