Construction of sewage treatment plant just weeks away

First contract awarded for sewage treatment plant

It may seem hard for some people to imagine, but construction of the $765 million wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point is set to begin in late April or early May.

Last week, the Capital Regional District (CRD) announced the first construction contract has been awarded to Harbour Resource Partners (HRP) for $272 million. The contract includes the construction of three main components — a cross-harbour undersea pipeline between Ogden Point and McLoughlin Point, a marine outfall for treated wastewater at McLoughlin Point, and of course, construction of the tertiary treatment plant.

HRP is a consortium of firms that includes AECOM Canada, Graham Infrastructure, HDR|CEI, SUEZ, Graham Capital and Michels Canada, and is the same group selected for the first failed attempt to build a sewage treatment plant in 2014.

Some geotechnical work has already been done at the site. The next step, according to project board chair Jane Bird, is construction of the plant.

“We’re moving from development phase into construction phase…I think it’s a significant milestone,” said Bird, noting the lengthy time it’s taken the region to get the project off the ground. “To have a project under discussion for 10 years before construction, that’s a long period of time.”

While the plant is being built at McLoughlin Point, construction will also take place on the underwater pipeline from Ogden Point to McLoughlin. Other pieces of the construction puzzle include upgrades to the pump stations at Macaulay Point and Clover Point, along with the residual solids treatment plant at Hartland Landfill. Those pieces, however, will be staged to the end of 2020 and constructed through nine separate contracts.

A public information meeting on the project was recently held at the Hotel Grand Pacific, paving the way for many more sessions throughout the lengthy construction period. A second session is scheduled for Esquimalt residents on Wednesday at the Royal Canadian Legion, and open houses will be planned in Saanich once the Hartland project gets closer.

Several residents in James Bay have been voicing their concerns about the impact construction will have on their neighbourhood. The plan calls for a conveyance pipe to run along Dallas Road, connecting the pump station at Clover Point to Ogden Point. The undersea conveyance pipe will be drilled from just north of Camel Point to Esquimalt — a process that could take about a year.

Others still have concerns about odours from the plant, but Bird assured there won’t be any odours due to the technology being used and the public will be well-informed throughout the construction process.

“The challenge with construction is that there are impacts. You can’t build a project of this scale without there being impacts, but what you can do is try and make a commitment to keep people as informed as possible,” said Bird, adding there’ll be a phone line if people have questions or concerns and a website about the project has already been created.

She’s also asking for patience.

“It’s an important long-term investment for the health of the community and the environment. We’re about to make that investment and we just ask people to be a little patient with us as we move into the construction phase.”

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