Regina wastewater treatment plant

Work is underway on the west edge of the city on Regina's new wastewater treatment plant. (Arielle Zerr/CBC)

The City of Regina continues to make the case that taxpayers are getting a good deal for its controversial public-private partnership (P3) sewer plant upgrade.

In a report by the accounting company Deloitte being presented to a City Hall meeting today, councillors will hear that the city will save $138 million over 30 years — considerably more in savings than originally estimated.

That's compared to a traditional way of building in which the city hires contractors for the construction phase, then runs the plant itself.

Epcor, a company owned by the City of Edmonton, is building and operating the plant under a 30-year agreement. 
The 30-year costs (reduced by a $48-million federal grant) are $334 million.

The Deloitte report says if the project had been built using the traditional "design-bid-build" model, it would have cost $472 million over 30 years.

The $138-million saving represents 29 per cent of the design-bid-build costs. Previously, the city thought the savings might be 15.5 per cent.

The report provides little insight into the specifics of how the savings are to be achieved, however.

Estimated costs of the sewage plant upgrade were a hot topic last year, resulting in a referendum to decide whether to go with a P3 project or the traditional model.

The city argued P3 would be cheaper, while a citizen's group, Regina Water Watch, disputed that.

In the end, voters opted for the P3. 

Construction on the facility is now underway on the west edge of the city. The capital cost is pegged at $181 million, which is substantially less than the original estimate of $225 million.

The plant is expected to be up and running by December, 2016.

Today the Deloitte report goes to the meeting of the city's executive committee, which is city council in committee form.

Regina Wastewater Treatment Plant plan

EPCOR shows the design for Regina's updated wastewater treatment plant. (EPCOR)