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Vancouver hires firms to design new infrastructure plan for sewer, rainwater

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Stock photo of downtown Vancouver. The consultants hired for Vancouver’s Healthy Waters plan intend to catalog knowledge gaps in the current system, in particular the extent and causes of combined sewer overflows and the associated impacts on receiving water bodies. Photo Credit: yooranpark, stock.adobe.com

Engineering consultant company Brown and Caldwell has been engaged to develop a sewage and rainwater management plan for the City of Vancouver.

The two-part plan, entitled Healthy Waters, is a partnership with consulting firm Kerr Wood Leidal to guide policy, regulation, advocacy, and long-range investments in Vancouver’s sewer and stormwater management.

The firms will utilize planners, engineers, and public engagement specialists.

In a description of the plan, Brown and Caldwell states that it will leverage Vancouver’s Rain City Strategy to integrate rainwater and sewer infrastructure policies, projects, and programs using a One Water approach to find the “right balance of green and grey infrastructure for increased water quality benefits based on scientific analysis and community values.” 

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“The challenges we face provide an opportunity to recreate healthy and resilient urban watersheds that help restore and revitalize natural, social, and cultural systems while delivering critical water infrastructure to provide residents with affordable and reliable services,” announced Jimmy Zammar, Vancouver’s director of urban watersheds, sewers and drainage, in a statement. 

Vancouver provides sewage and drainage services to both homes and businesses, managing more than 2,000 kilometres of underground storm, sanitary and combined pipes, plus 45,000 stormwater catch basins, more than 100,000 service connections, and 25 pump stations.

The consultants intend to catalog knowledge gaps in the current system, in particular the extent and causes of combined sewer overflows and the associated impacts on receiving water bodies.

Vancouver has already developed an integrated rainwater management plan to treat Vancouver’s abundant rainwater as a resource, and reduce the demand for potable water by encouraging beneficial reuse. The plan also aims to restore the role of urban watersheds to support urban and natural ecosystems and provide clean water.

The new Healthy Waters plan is set to be completed by early 2024.

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