The Regional District of Nanaimo has been granted $6 million in federal gas tax money, which will go toward a secondary wastewater upgrade project at the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre. Pictured here, work taking place last August. (News Bulletin file)

Regional District of Nanaimo granted $6M for pollution control centre

Construction underway at Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre, entire project costs $81.7M

The Regional District of Nanaimo will receive $6 million in federal gas tax money, which will go toward wastewater upgrades at the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre.

The $81.7-million project will see construction of secondary treatment facilities at the Hammond Bay Road centre, allowing wastewater to be treated with micro-organisms, which in turn will lessen the effluent’s impact on the environment.

Sean De Pol, regional district manager of wastewater services, said the current primary wastewater plant will remain and work with the new addition.

There will be one building that will be a bioreactor, which will consist of several tanks and blowers, said De Pol. Three large clarifiers will be part of this phase and another clarifier is expected during future expansion. The project will also include upgrades to current buildings and equipment.

“The technology we’re using is called conventional activated sludge and so we’ll have these tanks, which are called bioreactors, and that’s where really the secondary process occurs,” said De Pol. “So the wastewater from the primary goes into the secondary, goes through the bioreactors and then from there, it goes into secondary clarifiers, and they operate similar to primary clarifiers. The clarifiers are large round tanks … [that] does the final cleaning of the effluent.”

Bill Veenhof, RDN board chairman, said the $6 million wasn’t allocated for a specific part of the project, but will go directly toward the $81.7 million total cost. The money represents the first “appreciable grant” the RDN has received for the project, he said.

“It’ll have a corresponding reduction in the tax load for the constituents, mostly the city, there’ll be some benefit to Lantzville and [Snuneymuxw First Nation] and [Nanaimo Port Authority] and the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital,” said Veenhof.

He said the regional district will continue to apply for money for the project as grants become available.

The project is on schedule, according to an RDN press release, with major excavation and ground stabilization nearing completion and foundations for buildings laid. Process tanks and equipment will be installed and startup is expected in 2020.

To learn more about the project, go to

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