City settles on filtration system

City staff sifted through three responses to its request for proposal for a membrane system, settling on a proposal from GE Water and Process Technologies, which proposed a total capital cost, excluding HST, of $7.89 million.

The South Fork Water Treatment Plant can advance to the design stage after a clear winner emerged to provide the most critical component – the membrane filtration system.

City staff sifted through three responses to its request for proposals for a membrane system, settling on GE Water and Process Technologies, which proposed a total capital cost, excluding HST, of $7.89 million.

Pall Canada and Siemens Industry had proposal costs of $10.4 million and $10.8 million, respectively.

Bill Sims, manager of water resources for the city of Nanaimo, said GE’s product floated to the top in most of the evaluation criteria.

“GE came out ahead in most of the criteria as well as having the lowest capital cost,” said Sims. “Each supplier has a different way of using membrane filters because they have different configurations. The plant ends up getting designed around how the membrane works.”

City staff travelled to several other Canadian cities that employ similar processes. While the three companies that responded to Nanaimo’s RFP are the key manufacturers in North America, Sims said many municipalities they visited used the GE system.

Securing a membrane filtration contract is a critical step in continuing with the design phase of the water treatment facility, which is mandated by Vancouver Island Health Authority to ensure clean drinking water for Nanaimo residents well into the future by meeting the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

The $65-million facility is expected to be completed in the spring of 2015.

Sims said the city was familiar with GE’s product, as it worked with the company two years ago during pilot testing. GE will now be required to give one final demonstration beginning next month before the contract is finalized.

Once that is established, the design process, commissioned to Associated Engineering, can move ahead.

The membranes are expected to last 10 years and come with a two-year workmanship guarantee.

The city is expected to receive $17.8 million through the federal Building Canada Fund. About $22 million will be borrowed.

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com