Synagro, a Houston-based, preeminent provider of comprehensive waste capture and conversion services throughout the United States, made a proposal to the City of Philadelphia’s Water Department to assume responsibility for and upgrade its biosolids processing system. The advantages were obvious: greater efficiencies, cost savings, and environmental improvements. The obstacles were similarly apparent: multiple layers of required city approval, union opposition to the privatization of this municipal function, neighborhood skepticism, and challenges from unproven competitors.

David Hyman, who leads the Firm’s Government Relations Group, helped guide Synagro through a maze of challenges to a successful outcome. Step by step, David worked closely with Synagro to effectively communicate the strengths of its proposal to the relevant parties. From the engineers and financial analysts at the Water Department, to the Mayor and City Council, the project’s approval was contingent on buy-in from a wide assortment of constituencies with greatly varying perspectives. Our efforts included managing difficult community meetings and discussions with the municipal union, as well as multiple meetings and hearings with City Council and City Officials.

In the end, we secured support on behalf of our client from the Water Department, two Mayoral Administrations, and City Council. Synagro now manages the City of Philadelphia’s biosolids program and, partly as a result of the Firm’s strategic counsel, maintains cooperative relationships with the involved parties.