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Work wraps up on biosolids dewatering facility in Richmond

Work wraps up on biosolids dewatering facility in Richmond
METRO VANCOUVER — A bird’s eye view shows a new biosolids dewatering facility at Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond.

RICHMOND, B.C. — Crews have completed work on a new biosolids dewatering facility at the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond.

Officials say the facility will allow Metro Vancouver to more efficiently use wastewater and it is a key step for larger plans to upgrade the treatment plant.

“The upgrade of the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant — one of Canada’s most dynamic and transformative urban sustainability programs — represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the health and well-being of people, as well as the ecological health and biodiversity of the Fraser River estuary and the Salish Sea,” said Sav Dhaliwal, chair of Metro Vancouver’s board of directors, in a statement. “This new facility sets us up well to carry out these ambitious and necessary upgrades.”

The Biosolids Dewatering Facility is fully enclosed and has extensive odour controls. It will mechanically dry the solids left after primary wastewater treatment, turning them into biosolids.

At the facility’s loading bay, dried biosolids will be put directly into trucks so land that was previously used for biosolids drying and storage can be reclaimed for plant construction and ecological restoration projects.

The lagoons where solids are currently stored after primary treatment will be transformed into clean, freshwater ponds that will benefit many species — in particular the large numbers of birds that use the island and foreshore as a stopover along their migration route.

“Metro Vancouver is committed to using innovative approaches to generate energy and other resources from wastewater, including producing biosolids for beneficial use in land reclamation and landscaping projects,” said Richard Stewart, chair of Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Committee. “One goal of the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade is maximizing resource recovery, and this project will help Metro Vancouver produce and handle biosolids more efficiently.”

Soil containing biosolids has been used in countless landscaping projects, including at Iona Beach Regional Park and the Vancouver International Airport.

Work on the Biosolids Dewatering Facility at the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant began in July 2019 and wrapped up in March 2022. Testing and commissioning is underway and the facility is expected to begin full operation in late 2022. The project cost was $61 million.

Metro Vancouver worked closely with the City of Richmond and the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm/Musqueam Indian Band on this project.

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