An $82-million upgrade to the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre’s wastewater treatment system is now complete.
In a press release, the Regional District of Nanaimo said the project is the largest capital expenditure in its history.
The centre adds secondary wastewater treatment and “uses the solids and biogas produced during primary and secondary treatment to improve local environments and supplement plant operations. Solids that are extracted during the treatment process are treated further and used to enrich forest soils and reclaim industrial sites,” the release notes.
Biogas produced during treatment will be used to heat the centre and odours are mitigated by a “new biofilter and carbon filters,” the press release said.
“The secondary treatment infrastructure was built from 2017 to 2020 and uses beneficial organisms which feed on organic matter left after primary treatment,” said the press release. “Primary and secondary treatment combined remove more than 90 per cent of the solids from the wastewater before treated effluent is discharged to the ocean.”
The Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre currently services more than 100,000 residents and businesses from Snuneymuxw First Nation land, the City of Nanaimo and the District of Lantzville, said the press release.
The project was partially funded by $6 million in federal gas tax money, through the Union of B.C. Municipalities and B.C. government. Development cost charges and reserve money were also used.
“With over 10 billion litres of wastewater treated annually at the [centre], the completion of this project will help the RDN achieve a number of objectives under the liquid waste management plan,” said Don Bonner, RDN liquid waste management plan monitoring committee chairperson. “As a component of the [plan], the project also supports the RDN’s vision of an environmentally, socially, and economically healthy region, resilient and adaptable to change.”
Tyler Brown, RDN board chairperson, said the region is 10 years ahead of the schedule required by federal regulations for wastewater treatment.
“The project is a significant contribution to our environmental stewardship strategy as over 99 per cent of the wastewater treated by the RDN now receives secondary treatment,” said Brown.