Niagara-on-the-Lake wastewater plant set to open after delays

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Eight years after its initial planning, and some two years past its deadline to be operational, the wastewater treatment facility intended to replace Niagara-on-the-Lake’s wastewater lagoon system may be ready for the Southern Ontario town by early 2019.

Relocations due to archaeological findings, poor shallow depth soil bearing capacity on the site, and design issues, are just three of the challenges that have created delays for the new plant, which as of fall 2017 had undergone 112 change orders totalling nearly $3 million, according to Niagara Regional Council.

“On top of this there is still a fair amount of contemplated extra work which needs to be addressed to reach completion,” suggests a September 5, 2017 report (pg. 146) presented to regional council. “These include mechanical and electrical modifications, SCADA work and the installation of equipment for compliance testing.”

The new $43.2-million Niagara-on-the-Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant will provide wastewater treatment service to both the town and nearby Virgil, Ontario. This covers an area of approximately 7.4 square kilometres hosting a population of approximately 6,000 people.

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“It was expected that by this time the new plant would be operational and the old one out of service,” states the wastewater plant report. “Recent failures at the existing plant have generated complaints from the neighbours and concerns from the Region’s water and wastewater operations and maintenance groups. The potential for a large scale failure at the existing plant presents both a large nuisance and compliance risk to the Region.”

According to Cole Engineering, the new Niagara-on-the-Lake wastewater plant will also involve upgrades of three influent pumping stations and the extension of the existing outfall for the new plant. The new activated sludge wastewater treatment plant was required to replace the existing lagoon treatment plant and provide an increased treatment capacity with an average daily flow of 8,000 m/d and instantaneous peak flow of 34,733 m3/day.

“The design of the facility took into consideration the requirement to facilitate the capacity for receiving and treating hauled winery waste, which is a characteristic industry byproduct for the Region,” Cole Engineering states in a project description. “Special consideration was also given to the environmental impacts and the ecological sensitive area as well as the archaeological and cultural heritage preservation requirements.”

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