Sewage upgrade to be pricey

Duane Hicks

The town will be looking at nearly $3 million in upgrades to its sewage treatment plant this year.
Council yesterday awarded a tender to Kingdom Construction Ltd. to remove and replace biosolids de-watering systems and screen equipment at the plant.
The upgrades will allow the town to remove more water from its sludge (biosolids) and dispose of it at the landfill.
The change in operations has been necessitated by changes to provincial regulations, Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown told the Times.
Up until late 2014, the town had disposed of its sludge, which contains nine percent solid waste, by having Hammond Landscaping Ltd. haul it to the Frog Creek sod farm and spread it over the ground there.
But due to changes in provincial regulations, this no longer was allowable—leaving the town with a problem as to what to do with its sludge.
The town got working on both short-term and long-term solutions.
The short-term solution was to build a containment pond at the landfill site to store roughly one year’s worth of nine percent liquid biosolids and haul the sludge there, which the town did.
The long-term solution was to use the sludge as cover material at the landfill.
However, in order to be used for this purpose, the sludge must have a concentration of 18 percent solid waste as opposed to nine percent.
This, in turn, necessitated the replacement of the biosolids de-watering systems and screen equipment, as the new equipment would remove more water from the sludge.
“The de-watering system—we knew it was coming for a long, long time and there’s no other alternative,” noted Coun. Paul Ryan.
“The way we were doing it before, spreading it on a field, that’s a ‘just after the invention of the wheel’ sort of archaic way of doing it,” he said.
“We knew this was coming and we knew another thing, a very important thing—it was going to be very expensive,” Coun. Ryan added.
“But once we get through this, it’s over with—carry on forever,” he remarked.
“It’s got to be done.”
The total cost of the project is $2,914,573.39 (incl. HST, a contingency allowance of $250,000, and $781,940.40 for pre-purchased specialized equipment).
It will be paid for through water and sewer reserves.
The de-watering system replacement project has been identified by council as the highest priority project for the town this year.
Local MP Don Rusnak has been notified of this and council is hoping it will receive federal infrastructure funding for it should money become available in the near future.
The project is part of the town’s $12.16-million capital budget for 2016.