PORT ALBERNI, B.C. — Port Alberni City Council recently took the next step forward for a massive wastewater treatment plant project with a unanimous motion to award the construction contact to Langley, B.C.-based Tritech Group.
The total value of the contract is over $17.1 million, making it the largest construction contract in the city’s municipal history.
The scope of work for the project includes construction of a new aeration system, improving treatment processes with the addition of solids screening and ultraviolet light disinfection, constructing a new outfall 800 metres into the Alberni Harbour and improving effluent dispersal with the addition of five sub-surface diffusers, the city’s media release stated.
The project engineering design was completed in 2017 by WSP Engineering, with Associated Engineering providing the commissioning through 2018. The project is expected to break ground later this fall and will take approximately two years to complete.
The city will also be upgrading the former Catalyst lagoon, which was purchased in 2012 and will allow the city to proceed with the upgrades at a fraction of the cost of building a new plant.
At the end of the project, the old city lagoon will be decommissioned and turned into wetland habitat.
According to the city’s project webpage, to date the following has been spent: $5.3 million to purchase the Catalyst lagoon adjacent to the plant; $1 million on engineering and environmental studies; $1.9 million on the removal of sludge from the newly acquired lagoon; and now $17.1 million on the main construction contract.
The city pursued several federal grants for the project and in 2017 received $6.9 million from the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. These funds were combined with $11.2 million received in 2011 from the federal Gas Tax Fund, bringing the total to approximately $18 million in grant funding.
“Upgrading the wastewater treatment plant is an important and necessary step in the city’s continuing efforts to improve the quality of life in Port Alberni while at the same time lessening our impacts on the surrounding environment,” said Tim Pley, City of Port Alberni CAO, in a statement.
“When considered together with the city’s ongoing storm and wastewater separation projects, the new wastewater treatment plant will have a significant positive effect on the health of the Alberni Harbour, Somass River and neighbouring estuary.”