MONCTON, New Brunswick -Canada's first major drinking water public-private partnership between the City of Moncton and USF Canada and The Hardman Group officially began start-up of its new 100,000 M3/day [22 million Imperial gallons per day (MIGD)] water treatment facility in Moncton recently.
The major beneficiaries of the public-private partnership are the 100,000 residents of the Greater Moncton area who, after years of dealing with poor water quality, are a major step closer to enjoying some of the highest quality drinking water in Canada. The public-private partnership agreement will also provide ratepayers with savings of approximately 11 percent in utility costs over a traditional public design, build and operation.
"Delivering high quality drinking water to the citizens of Greater Moncton was the driving force behind this project. Our goal is to deliver water that meets or exceeds Canadian Drinking Water Standards," says Brian Murphy, Mayor of Moncton. "The City of Moncton is committed to providing safe, clean drinking water to the tri-community area, and with the opening of the new water treatment facility, we have taken the most important step in that process."
A public competition to select a private company to design, build, operate, and maintain a new water treatment facility to serve the Greater Moncton area was initiated by the City of Moncton in 1996. In April 1998, Greater Moncton Water Ltd., a New Brunswick incorporated company owned by USF Canada, Inc. (85%) and The Hardman Group Limited (15%), was awarded the 20-year contract based on its technical merit, corporate capabilities and price.
"The City of Moncton took the initiative in becoming the first Canadian city to take advantage of a drinking water partnership with private industry," said Wally MacKinnon, project vice president, USF Canada."The city quickly realized the benefits of a public-private partnership such as cost savings and stabilized rates, guaranteed safety and compliance, and an increased opportunity for improved infrastructure. And, our water and wastewater technical and engineering qualifications, combined with our ability to finance and manage the project, provided a viable option for the city."
The $23 million dollar water treatment plant was built over an 18-month period and is designed to meet or exceed all Canadian drinking water quality criteria. The facility utilizes a multi-media, high-rate adsorption/clarification process that has been employed successfully at hundreds of other water treatment projects across North America.
The new facility will filter water from the Turtle Creek Reservoir and is designed to remove turbidity, color, iron and manganese, as well as microbial contaminants including viruses, bacteria, Giardia and Cryptosporidium from the water. In addition, the plant corrects alkalinity and hardness, as well as taste and odor problems that previously detracted from the quality of Moncton's water. The new process will reduce the need to treat the area's drinking water with high levels of chlorine, a common complaint with the old water treatment system.
Now that construction is complete, the City of Moncton will purchase the plant from USF Canada and The Hardman Group, Ltd. and enter into a 20-year lease and license agreement, giving Greater Moncton Water Ltd. exclusive rights to sell water to the municipality. The unique arrangement between the city and its private sector partners enables Moncton to assume ownership without having to make any up-front capital investment in the facility. USF Canada will oversee and manage plant operations. "As the city's partner, USFilter will do everything we can to not only manage and produce the highest quality of water at the water treatment facility, but to assist in the entire process of distributing clean, quality water to the residents of Greater Moncton," added MacKinnon.
"This unique partnership arrangement has enabled the City of Moncton to assume ownership of the facility without having to make any up-front capital investment, " says Moncton's Mayor Murphy, "In addition, our decision to partner with USF Canada and The Hardman Group, Ltd. will save ratepayers approximately $12 million in capital, engineering, and operating costs over the term of the agreement and reduce the public's risk and liability."
MacKinnon said that significant savings were passed directly to Moncton through the use of US Filter's Trident water filtration process that reduced the facility's required size by 40 percent.
Detailed engineering design for the facility was completed by Touchie Engineering Ltd. from Moncton in association with R.V. Anderson Associates of Willowdale, Ontario.
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