How Tampa Bay Water Saved $80 Million

Tampa Bay Water faces challenges common to many municipal water systems: Tight budgets, a growing population and increasing water regulations.

In addition, the agency faces another obstacle - water resource issues, owing to high water variability in the region and Florida's shrinking aquifers. What makes this municipal water system different is the huge savings they gained from implementing a unique, problem-solving approach.

To meet its challenges, Tampa Bay Water commissioned Veolia Water North America to design, build and operate (DBO) a new 120 million-gallons-per-day (MGD) water treatment plant. The plant, which was recently completed, is among the world's most sophisticated water treatment facilities and is the largest DBO drinking water project in U.S. history.

Even more important is Tampa Bay Water's innovative approach, which represents a potential model for other cities faced with similar problems. Typically, cities engage in single-step procurements, bidding on each stage in the process. But the DBO process chosen by Tampa Bay Water streamlined the project delivery process to the public's immediate benefit.

By using a single procurement and an alternative delivery approach, this municipal water utility has been able to deliver substantial benefits to taxpayers. These include:
Substantial Cost Savings - Because Tampa Bay Water chose a unified approach, all engineering, construction, technology and operations disciplines were at the same table. As a result, the speed of project delivery was escalated. This resulted in savings of $80 million on what was originally projected to be a $200 million budget by the agency's advisors.

Environmental Guarantees - The decision to contract with a private operator means that Tampa Bay Water can hold its private operator to guarantees for water quality, water quantity, project timelines and operations and facility maintenance.

Environmental Benefits - The region served by Tampa Bay Water was previously dependent on groundwater supplies. Coupled with the region's rapidly growing population, this was not sustainable and resulted in ecosystem damage. Tampa Bay Water specifically selected Veolia's patented ACTIFLO® clarification process, proven to treat water with high variability and a smaller construction footprint.

Open-Book Accounting - The project team used an open-book accounting methodology to ensure transparency for the utility - and for the taxpayers.

Project Knowledge - Because they were responsible for the design of the treatment process and construction of the facility, Veolia Water immediately brought system knowledge to the operation of Tampa Bay Water's facilities.

Says Jerry Seeber, general manager of Tampa Bay Water, "This new facility is the backbone of our regional water service to more than 2.4 million people. By every measure, whether water quality, cost or service, this project is a success."

Click here to read the Tampa Bay Water case study. 

Want to talk to someone about Tampa Bay Water's DBO model? Call 312-552-2800 or send us an email. We're happy to answer any detailed questions you have.

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