Columbia Pollution Control Centre Graphic
Upgrades to the Columbia Pollution Control Centre include new headworks facilities, new ultraviolet disinfection system, and upgraded biosolids handling. The new buildings will be heated using waste effluent heat. Photo credit: Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

British Columbia and the federal government are investing $110 million in a series of drinking water, stormwater and wastewater upgrades that range from filtration to new lagoons and reservoirs.

Fourteen projects in all will receive funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s Green Infrastructure Stream. The province is also investing $3.6 billion over a 10-year period under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program for British Columbia’s infrastructure initiatives.

By far the biggest ticket item among the 14 projects will be in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, where there will be an upgrade to primary and secondary treatment construction and commissioning at the Columbia Pollution Control Centre (CPCC, which was built in the 1970s. The new secondary biological treatment will use a moving bed biofilm reactor process. More than $60 million will be spent on the upgrades, split among all three levels of government.

Other upgrades to CPCC include new headworks facilities, a new ultraviolet disinfection system, and upgraded biosolids handling. The new buildings will be heated using waste effluent heat.

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Another high price-tag project to receive funding is the Hastings Sunrise Sewer Renewal and Green Infrastructure Project in Vancouver. More than $20 million will go towards the replacement of combined sewers with new separate sanitary and storm sewers to mitigate flooding, reduce sewer overflows into local marine waters, and increase capacity, B.C. officials said. The project will involve installation of 6.2 km of new separated storm and sanitary sewers, as well as the installation of 65 green infrastructure assets to retain and treat stormwater runoff.

“In the coming months and years, I hope to be able to tour in-person the many upgraded and new water and wastewater facilities being made possible across B.C. with this funding,” announced Josie Osborne, B.C.’s Minister of Municipal Affairs in a statement, which highlighted the need for economic recovery amid impacts from COVID-19.

Among the wastewater upgrades are improvements for Port Clements, which will replace its existing lagoon with a new aerated wastewater treatment lagoon system. More than $3 million in investments for the new system will “increase overall retention time, provide separate cells for aeration, and limit the risk of a system failure,” officials explained. The upgrades will also increase efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and extend the infrastructure’s lifespan.

In the Cowichan Valley Regional District, some $5.5 million in upgrades will increase the capacity of the Saltair Water System to treat drinking water. This system services an equivalent of 789 homes and 12 commercial properties. Two new treatment units will be installed to improve water quality at the existing treatment plant site, along with a micro-hydro turbine to generate green power and reduce the plant’s overall energy consumption.

A 15-year upgrade project began in 2013 to replace and upgrade sections of aging infrastructure within the Saltair Water System.

The District of Ucluelet is ready to upgrade its local water treatment system to increase storage capacity for drinking water and improve access to clean drinking water in the community. The upgrades also include adding a water treatment plant at the Mercantile Creek water source, adding filtration of the well field that pulls from Lost Shoe Creek, and adding a third reservoir to the Ucluelet drinking water system.

Ucluelet’s residents have had longstanding issues with brown water that are expected to be resolved with the new filtration system that is part of some $9.5 million in upgrades.

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