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Summary: Sewage treatment plant upgrades

On February 25, 2013, City Council approved a public private partnership approach for the sewage treatment plant upgrade. This means the City will have a  single, long-term contract with a consortium of companies to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the plant. The City will continue to own and control the sewage treatment plant.

We need to upgrade
The sewage treatment plant upgrade is one of the City’s largest and most complex capital projects to date. The City of Regina must upgrade its sewage treatment plant to meet new environmental regulations and ensure we can meet the needs of residents now and into the future.

The City also recognizes the need to invest in an upgraded facility to:

  • Protect public health and our environment,
  • Improve water quality for downstream residents and businesses,
  • Meet the needs of our growing population, and
  • Repair or replace parts of the current plant that have reached the end of their lives.

We owe it to Regina residents and our downstream neighbours to protect our environment. The City of Regina has a long history of environmental stewardship and responsible sewage treatment – the upgrade to our sewage plant will protect Wascana Creek and the Qu’Appelle River system.

We’ve researched our options
City staff and world-class, independent consultants have been involved in extensive planning to determine the type of sewage treatment facility the City needs, the cost to construct it, and the best procurement approach.

Twelve procurement options were evaluated and narrowed down to five options. Those five options were carried forward into the assessment phase. From there, the preferred approach and one option were selected for presentation to Council.

On February 25, 2013, City Council unanimously approved the recommended option -- a public private partnership known as Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain. This type of partnership offers the best value for Regina residents. It provides cost certainty, risk transfer and opportunity for innovation.

The cost
At the high end, the upgrades are estimated to cost $224.3 million based on construction starting in 2014 and completing in 2016. The estimate incorporates a cost contingency of 15 per cent.  The City is using residents’ money wisely: a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain public private partnership provides the best value and has been approved for $58.5 million in funding from the federal government.

The City will still own and control the sewage treatment plant
The City of Regina will continue to own and control the sewage treatment plant. The City will set the rates for sewage treatment and hold P3 contractors responsible to meet financial and environmental standards.

Staff implications
All sewage treatment staff employed by the City of Regina will be transferred to positions with the contractor selected to operate the new plant.  Employee’s rights including salaries, seniority levels, vacation time etc. will be maintained in accordance with the terms of their collective agreement, which will be transferred to the contractor as well. Employees will be protected and will receive advanced training for any new technologies. Prior to the transfer, the City will meet with the respective Unions to discuss their member’s needs and concerns.

The City is interested in providing employees with an opportunity to return to employment with the City if they do not want to be employed by the private contractor.  The process for such transition will need to be determined after discussions with Local 21 and CMM.

Implications for residents and downstream neighbours
Regina residents will experience no changes or interruption in service during construction of and transition to the new plant. The upgrade will continue to maintain public health protection and enhance environmental conditions in the downstream receiving waters of Wascana Creek and the Qu’Appelle River system. This may result in improved aesthetic conditions as a result of reduced algae levels and in improved fish habitat.