Graham-Aecon partner for major Buffalo Pound plant upgrades in Saskatchewan

The water treatment plant was built in 1955 and underwent its last major upgrade in 1989. Photo credit: Buffalo Pound Plant Renewal Project

A joint venture between Aecon and Graham Construction has been awarded a $325.6-million design-build contract for upgrades to Saskatchewan’s Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant that will modernize its technology and improve the plant’s capacity and residuals management.

Construction will be underway next week to cover earthworks and structural fabrication, as well as electrical and instrumentation work for the plant that serves the Cities of Regina and Moose Jaw, as well as SaskWater and Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. The crew will undertake some demolition and also create concrete foundations for new commercial buildings to deliver both new and retrofitted infrastructure.

“We look forward to working with our client and partner as we bring our industry-leading industrial and water infrastructure expertise to deliver this sustainable project,” announced Jean-Louis Servranckx, president and CEO of Aecon Group Inc.

Project officials stated that the upgrades will help the plant better handle the Buffalo Pound Lake’s growing range of water conditions, although residents will not likely notice any difference in water quality.

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In the works for four years, the project is also expected to allow staff to work in closer proximity within the sprawling facility, as opposed to being quite spread out.

The plant was built in 1955 and underwent its last major upgrade in 1989.

Recently, Regina and Moose Jaw approved an additional $55 million in financing for the plant renewal project. Project officials at a recent media briefing said the cost increased during the past two years because of the pandemic, supply chain issues, climate change, global logistic bottlenecks, the war in Ukraine, inflation and higher borrowing costs.

The upgrades will be completed in 2025.

The nine stages of water treatment at the plant include a lake pumping station; cascade degasification; coagulation/flocculation; clarification; filtration; carbon absorption; UV disinfection; chlorination; and pumping to the cities.

The upgraded plant will also be able to add fluoride to the water, following Regina city council’s greenlight of a community water fluoridation program in 2021.

Earlier this year, the Buffalo plant added a new sensor-loaded “superbuoy” that can measure elements critical to the nearby lake’s ecology, and in particular, troubleshoot algal blooms.

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