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Q&A: Upgrading the Plant

How old is the current sewage treatment plant and why is a new one necessary?
The current plant was built between 1956 and 1981 to different standards and to service a smaller Regina. An upgraded plant is required to meet new sewage treatment standards set by the Province and to deal with the needs of a growing population. We also need to upgrade the plant to solve the problem of odour from the plant – this is a priority.

Can’t the City just keep upgrading the current facility as it has been doing?
We plan to keep, reuse, retrofit and modify existing assets and components of the old plant where possible. New components are also needed to satisfy environmental regulations and ensure the City’s infrastructure can meet the needs of its residents today, and in the future.

What are we doing about the odour problem?
The City completed maintenance improvements in 2013 to solve the odour problems. The new plant will have new equipment and a new process that will reduce odour.

When does construction begin and when will the plant be completed?
Further planning and tendering of the work will take place in 2013. Construction will occur between 2014 and spring 2017, with a bulk of the work being done in 2015 and 2016.

Why did the construction cost escalate from $153 million to $224.3 million?

The $153 million announced in early 2012 was calculated using 2012 dollars and did not show inflation.

Now that we have the in-depth pre-design report, a more thorough understanding of the scope of the project and a recommended procurement model, we are able to make the more accurate projection of $224.3 with construction starting in 2014 and completing in 2016. The estimate includes savings from efficiencies as a result of the procurement model and incorporates a cost contingency of 15 per cent.

What’s the final construction price tag going to be?
The final construction cost will be in line with current projections.

In some projects there is an ability to adjust design to meet the budget. With the sewage treatment plant, the final cost is based on what is needed to meet regulations so a 15 per cent cost contingency has been built into the estimate.

Will the new facility’s capacity accommodate Regina’s expected growth in population?
The plant will be built to accommodate a population in line with the projected growth for Regina.

How much has the City looked into the environmental impact of the plant?
Strict standards established by the provincial government make reducing environmental impact imperative. The new standards must be met, no matter who operates the plant. The new sewage treatment plant will meet these standards.

Aren’t there more pressing infrastructure issues that need to be addressed before the sewage treatment plant?
No, new provincial standards, an aging plant, odour and community growth make this project a requirement, not a choice. The plant must meet new provincial regulations by the end of 2016.

Why didn’t the City address the sewage treatment plant sooner?
The City has been anticipating the need for a new plant for years and setting aside a portion of utility rate increases to help fund the project.

Careful planning has been essential in determining the models that can deliver this project in the best interests of residents today and in the future.