Ontario’s Orangeville set for wastewater upgrades to help reach GHG target

Orangeville water pollution control plant
The Ontario Town of Orangeville has announced a series of upgrades to its water pollution control plant. Photo Credit: Town of Orangeville

The Ontario Town of Orangeville has announced a series of upgrades to its water pollution control plant that local officials say will improve performance and reduce emissions.

In 2021, Orangeville Council adopted an emissions reduction target of net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050, so the plant’s rehabilitation project will explore opportunities for energy recovery from the wastewater treatment process, local officials announced, as the plant accounts for a significant portion of Orangeville’s emissions.

“For example, the design of the roof replacement on the digester that uses anaerobic digestion to treat solids. The anaerobic digestion creates an environmentally-friendly renewable fuel called biogas,” explained Tim Kocialek, Orangeville’s general manager of Infrastructure Services, in a statement. “We’ll be exploring how this biogas could be used for on-site energy recovery.”

The water pollution control plant consists of an old and new portion for separate extended aeration facilities. Both sections treat wastewater generated by approximately 11,300 households within town limits.

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The plant is an activated sludge plant with a Modified Ludzack-Ettinger (MLE) denitrification process, effluent filtration, chlorine disinfection, and dechlorination. 

Kocialek said that a plant shutdown will be required to perform work on the Detritor grit removal system and Clarifier 3, but will not impact how wastewater is processed for the community. Work that requires any systems to be shut down will be completed during the summer, when low flow conditions occur, mitigating any impact to services, he said. The Detritor system, explained Kocialek, removes grit-like sand, fine gravel, and other solids from the raw sewage, while Clarifier 3 removes particles and solids from liquid.  

“Both systems were built as part of the upgrade and facility expansion in 1974,” he said. “Once the project is complete, the upgrades and changes will increase performance, capacity, and efficiency, improve the lifespan of different buildings, and lower maintenance and operating costs related to heat loss.”

The full list of planned works includes the replacement of Secondary Clarifier 3; upgrades and replacements in Digester 2; replacement of two heat exchangers; structural rehabilitation of the Detritor, Digestor 2, and the Secondary Clarifier 3; replacement of the Digester Building Complex roof; and electrical, instrumentation, and control upgrades related to equipment.

“As Orangeville continues to grow, keeping the environmental impact in mind for projects and work we complete on town facilities help us create a sustainable future for our community,” announced Orangeville Mayor Lisa Post in a statement. 

In recent years, Orangeville completed a series of upgrades at the new portion of the plant with engineering and environmental consulting company R.J. Burnside. Part of the work expanded the facility’s average capacity from 14,000 m³/day to 17,500 m³/day.

Local officials said work on the new round of upgrades for the older portion of the facility will be underway shortly and will continue into 2024. 

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