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Binghamton City Council Considering Sewage Treatment Audit Contract Wednesday

ENDWELL, NY (WSKG) — Amid continued concerns from members of the community, the Binghamton City Council will vote on a resolution paving the way for Veolia, a global water infrastructure firm, to conduct an audit on the Binghamton-Johnson Joint Sewage Treatment Plant, which serves several municipalities in Broome County.

The move however, is not without controversy, largely rooted from the choice of using Veolia as the contractor to conduct the audit. The Michigan Attorney General sued Veolia for fraud and negligence over its involvement as a consultant for the City of Flint’s water system.

During a City Council work session on Monday, several council members, all Democrats, also raised concerns that Veolia conducting an audit would amount to a conflict of interest given the firm would be evaluating some of its own equipment and previous work at the facility.

"Isn't it a conflict of interest that this company that has now caused this out roar by saying that they have not maintained properly, that they are the ones who are going to benefit by getting the contract to be the private enterprise to do the maintenance?" Councilman Joe Burns asked.

Veolia was also one of several firms to submit proposals to privatize operation of the plant.

The plant has been plagued with issues as a result of flooding, poor construction and mismanagement for much of the last dozen years.

Wednesday’s meeting will be conducted over Zoom and will begin at 6 p.m.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.