Saturday, September 13, 2008

Towards a more environmentally friendly Rupert

The much discussed, and oft put off plan to treat sewage waste in Prince Rupert took a step froward this week.

The City of Prince Rupert revealed it's thoughts on a Liquid Waste Management Plan, with one initiative possibly seeing up to three treatment plants constructed before 2020.

The program is estimated to cost around 50 million dollars, up about 15 million dollars from the last time the costing process took place, Prince Rupert would be responsible for about one third of the cost of the construction of the facilities.

The roll out of the new plan was conducted at a public session last week, with the Daily News taking notes for Thursday's paper, 'outlining the various options the city is contemplating.

Sewage treatment plans calling for plants by 2020
Work could begin on three separate sewage facilities
The Daily News
Thursday, September 11, 2008

Page three

It's a dirty job but the city of Prince Rupert wants to do it.

The municipality unveiled Stage 1 of its Liquid Waste Management Plan to a small gathering of locals at an open house on Tuesday.

City engineering and public works department manager Bob Thompson and Associated Engineers consultant Rick Corbett discussed with interested members of the public where the city is with the plan and what the next stage could look like.

"Back in 2004 when the preliminary planning was done for the (LWMP) there was an order of magnitude cost of $35 million put together for the capital cost and since that time the cost would be higher," said Corbett.

Rough estimates from Thompson last week put the project at about $50 million, of which the city taxpayer might expect to pick up one third of the bill.

Corbett said he and Thompson have been working with both a local advisory committee - made up of local residents representatives - and a technical committee that is made up of federal department of fisheries and provincial ministry of environment representatives. They have been identifying issues and potential solutions for the city's liquid waste management.

Tuesday's meeting was about informing the public about what the committees have come up with so far.

Thompson said that they are using the two groups in a different way than normal by bringing them together to discuss the plan as one group.

One of the options the city is looking at is splitting the sewer system into two separate systems, so that liquid waste from rain and snowstorms would be handled separately from liquid waste emanating from residential areas.

Currently, 20 per cent of the city's sewer pipes are combined sewer pipes, meaning they handle both storm and residential liquid waste.

Another option the city is looking at is building three separate treatment facilities in three separate areas of the Prince Rupert harbour. The locations would be in Hays Creek, Morse Creek and Ritchie Point.

Due to the costs that the project may incur, the city could install the facilities one at a time completing the liquid waste management plan over phases.

"The idea of phasing would be reducing the cost to the local taxpayer as much as you can," said Corbett.

"This allows both capital and operation and maintenance costs to be gradually assumed," said Thompson. "It also permits the learning curve on the first plant to be used to our benefit in later work. Other phasing could be the staged building of pump stations and force mains to the plants and/or phasing of the use of emerging technologies. Sewer separation (sanitary and storm) in the rest of the system could also be considered as part of a phasing program."

Another issue is senior level government's prioritization, said Corbett. For example, the city of Victoria is also installing its own LWMP at a cost of $1 billion, he said. Victoria, given the amount of cost and work to be done, would be a higher priority for senior governments.
Thompson said the plan should be completed by 2010 and that it was anticipated construction could begin as early as 2020.

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