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Hazen-Developed Financial Analysis Tool Informs $300-400M in Plant Improvements

Hazen developed an analytical tool for Fairfax County to evaluate the financial impacts of primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment capital investments at the Noman M. Cole, Jr. Pollution Control Plant (NCPCP). The tool was created to support a $300-400 million capital improvement program for NCPCP and employs a holistic, whole plant approach to estimate total investment costs based on projected increases in flows and nutrient loading.

Fairfax dashboard

The Microsoft Power BI based financial analysis tool generates key summary metrics to inform the County’s decisions regarding the type and timing of large capital investment in the NCPCP. Using time value of money principles, the tool evaluates the financial impact of different phasing and plant infrastructure improvements.

The tool organized complex data and multiple scenarios to help the County optimize the timing and type of infrastructure investments NCPCP needed. Some of the variables considered by the tool included:

  • Capital costs of the integrated alternatives
  • Influent flows and loads (e.g., TKN, BOD, TP) Construction phasing of the integrated alternatives
  • Infrastructure flow and load capacity during construction
  • Intermediate infrastructure investments to defer major capital investments
  • Financial metrics (discount rate, financing method and terms)

Power BI reports are designed to be easily modified and adjusted based on changing conditions and upon reaching decision points. The tool provides the ability to quantify the financial costs and benefits of deferring major capital investments as well as optimize financial metrics by inputting varying project timing and components.

Project Outcomes and Benefits

  • The Microsoft Power BI based financial analysis tool generates key summary metrics to inform the County’s decisions regarding the type and timing of large capital investment in the NCPCP.
  • As part of its Primary and Secondary Treatment Improvements Program, Fairfax County had already identified potential treatment process alternatives and developed estimates of costs and construction times associated with those alternatives. Hazen’s analytical tool organized that complex set of data into a single data model with insightful data visualizations that can be updated instantly by users.
  • Metrics displayed by the tool included: present value of cost savings associated with deferment of large capital investment; net present value of project scenarios; optimization of financial impacts through project phasing for defined scenarios; and sensitivity analysis of model results to input variables.
  • Financial constraints can also be added to the tool’s calculation of an infrastructure investment schedule. This allows the County’s planning staff—both financial and operational—to have a clear understanding of the required timing of investments.
  • Fairfax County immediately realized the Capital Expenditure Timing Analysis Tool could be used for similar analyses as part of its overall capital planning process and expanded the scope of the tool to assist in the planning process for their entire capital improvements program.