Federal minister of infrastructure and communities Amarjeet Sohi was in Nanaimo on Thursday to get a tour of the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre. The centre is being upgraded to handle secondary wastewater treatment. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Federal minister of infrastructure and communities Amarjeet Sohi was in Nanaimo on Thursday to get a tour of the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre. The centre is being upgraded to handle secondary wastewater treatment. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

RDN finalizing financing for next phase of $80-million pollution control centre

Upgrades will allow for wastewater to proceed to secondary treatment

The Regional District of Nanaimo board is taking next steps in securing financing for Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre upgrades.

The board unanimously passed three readings of security issuing and interim financing bylaws at a July 25 meeting, with adoption anticipated for the Aug. 22 meeting, according to the regional district. It previously passed a bylaw on June 27 that will make certain the regional district will have authority to borrow money for the project which adheres to the 2017-21 financial plan.

At present, the centre uses chemically treated primary treatment, but the upgrades will allow for wastewater to proceed to secondary treatment. It will employ micro-organisms to digest solid particles leading to better-quality effluent, according to Maurice Mauch, regional district manager of engineering services.

“There will be three large clarifiers, there will be bio reactors, really what it will do is it’s going to be improving the quality of the wastewater that discharges from the plant … there’s existing infrastructure, so we’re going to be building a new screening building and we’re doing the upgrades to meet regulatory requirements for 2020,” said Mauch.

Mauch also said there will be improved odour control and a standby diesel power generator, allowing the plant to be more resilient in the case of an emergency.

The loan authorization bylaw was issued for $48 million for the secondary treatment upgrades and approval of the security issuing bylaw and interim financing bylaw will provide authority to secure long-term borrowing of $15 million in the fall and will supply short-term funding during construction, the regional district said.

Work has begun with an initial blasting stage expected to last until September and a second stage scheduled for early 2018. Construction is expected to last until the fall of 2019.

The total project cost is $80 million.