GLOBE SERIES

Winnipeg selects Veolia for new approach to wastewater management

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Source: GLOBE SERIES

The City of Winnipeg has signed a groundbreaking collaborative 30-year agreement with VWNA Winnipeg, Inc. (Veolia), a Veolia Water North America company.

Under the agreement, Veolia and the City will collaborate on capital improvements and work together to provide ongoing strategic advice and guidance on design, construction, technology and operational needs for three Winnipeg wastewater treatment and biosolids facilities.

The agreement represents a new model for cities around the world seeking to maintain public ownership, control, operations and a public workforce while benefiting from private-sector expertise.

Designed to protect ratepayers from cost overruns, the new contract features public- and private-sector officials who will work as an integrated team to develop plans and execute required work versus a more conventional Design/Bid/Build procurement methodology or a traditional public-private partnership that would include private-sector operations.

Public employees will continue to operate all facilities. Winnipeg will retain full and final decision-making authority and set all service and quality standards with advice and support from a highly specialized team of global wastewater experts.

The Veolia team will provide expertise and best practices on capital upgrades, new and emerging technologies, operations and industry best practices. Winnipeg will also benefit from Veolia's global purchasing power. A Veolia and City team has been working on engineering plans for Winnipeg's Southend treatment plant.

'This is a great deal for Winnipeggers, and I am pleased to have an agreement in place that will ensure Winnipeg has the highest standard of sewer treatment facilities and services with the assistance of a company that will share the financial risk involved to keep these immense upgrade projects under budget,' said Mike Ruta, Acting City Administrative Officer of the City of Winnipeg.

With approximately $750 million in mandatory sewage treatment upgrades and ongoing annual investments over the term of the agreement, the City of Winnipeg and Veolia agreement includes life-cycle costing to ensure the best possible cost of service for citizens, along with financial penalties and incentives based on the project's construction costs, operating costs, environmental performance, energy efficiency and workplace health and safety.

Through an innovative business model, Veolia will be paid at-risk fees for services provided and receive compensation for savings realized by reducing costs through engineering, construction and operations expertise gained from managing more than 3,200 wastewater projects around the world. Veolia is providing open-book accounting to the City of Winnipeg's Water and Waste Department to ensure transparency.

'By adding value through a performance-based contract and sharing our true competitive advantage, which is technical and operational knowledge, we believe we can not only improve services to citizens, we can make it easier for municipal decision-makers to utilize our industry's best-in-class services. We are delighted to be supporting Winnipeg on this strategically important new project.'

Based in Chicago, Veolia Water North America is the leading provider of comprehensive water and wastewater partnership services to municipal and industrial customers, providing services to more than 14 million people in approximately 650 North American communities.

The company is part of the Veolia Environnement companies in North America, with 30,000 North American employees providing sustainable environmental solutions in water management, waste services, energy management, and passenger transportation.

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