By David F. Rooney
It’s obvious to everyone in town that many, many peoples are deeply dissatisfied with the state of the City’s sewage treatment plant.
It has been exceedingly rank for decades and the City’s claims over the years that the latest fix will do the trick stopped ringing true years ago; people are fed up and want something done.
Truth be told, Engineering and Development Services Director Mike Thomas, Mayor McKee and members of City Council would really like to be able to say they have the solution to the stench that hangs over Southside. But whatever they decide to do, the fix is likely going to be expensive.
“I don’t want to speculate too much on what the final solution would be,” Thomas told The Current, adding that a new study of options is being undertaken.
“I recall from the (2007) Liquid Waste Management Plan that estimated costs about a decade ago were in the $15-20 million range (for a mechanical sewage treatment plant), we will have a better idea of the cost once the study is completed, but this could easily be $20-$30 million in today’s dollars. Obviously that’s a huge amount of money for our community and this does tie into things such as updating our Development Cost Charges and applying for grant funding opportunities, but ultimately we are looking for a cost effective long-term solution to the odour and to increase the overall capacity of the treatment plant to support community and economic prosperity and quality of life.”
Thomas said that while a mechanical type plant will prove to be a suitable solution, the actual configuration and technology will be recommended during the study.
“If we were going to build a new plant, we’d be looking at something with a 40-year lifespan that could be modularized to allow for upgrades if demands were to increase. Other questions that need to be answered as part of the study include whether the outfall needs to be relocated off the Illecillewaet to the Columbia for environmental reasons as was suggested during the Liquid Waste Management Plan; and where we would build a new plant, as the existing plant needs to stay operational during construction.
The City’s original Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) was drawn up in 2007 by consultants from Opus Dayton Knight. It addressed existing and future development, including servicing of areas not yet connected to the central wastewater collection system, green-field developments, and the Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR).
The LWMP made several recommendations that City Hall followed through on:
- RMR was provided with a sewer collection system connecting to the City system;
- Wastewater from Queen Victoria Hospital was connected to the trunk main that serves RMR;
- Since the main sewer connecting RMR to the City system passed through Arrow Heights, sewer service was made available to Arrow Heights; and
- Clearview Heights/CPR Hill was also connected to the City system.
The 2007 LWMP also identified the following options:
- Expand and upgrade the existing collection system and the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) to serve the entire City of Revelstoke, including Big Bend and Clearview Heights developments, Big Eddy, Arrow Heights, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR). Convert the existing aerated lagoon process to a more space-efficient mechanical process when required to meet the needs of population growth (estimated to occur when the City and RMR service population reaches about 13,500); the schedule will depend on growth and the timing of connecting new service areas such as Big Eddy). Consider extending the outfall discharge to the Columbia River depending on the results of environmental studies.
- A new site for the WWTP would be identified near the Downie Street Mill. The new WWTP would accommodate the entire City of Revelstoke (including Big Bend and Clearview Heights developments), Big Eddy, Arrow Heights, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR).
- Maintain the existing WWTP aerated lagoon system to serve a part of the City of Revelstoke, Arrow Heights and RMR, and construct a new WWTP near the Downie Street Mill to accommodate the remainder of the service area (the Big Bend and Clearview Heights developments, and Big Eddy).
- Construct a new WWTP to serve only Big Eddy (site to be determined). The existing WWTP would be upgraded and expanded as in Option 1 to serve the remainder of the City of Revelstoke, including Big Bend and Clearview Heights developments, Arrow Heights, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR). As in Option 1, this would entail conversion of the aerated lagoons to a mechanical treatment plant as flows increase.
- Similar to Option 4, except that the new WWTP at Big Eddy would also serve the northern part of the City of Revelstoke.
- Expand and upgrade the existing WWTP to mechanical treatment to serve the City of Revelstoke, including Big Bend, Clearview Heights and Big Eddy, and construct a new WWTP near the Airport to serve Arrow Heights and RMR.
- Upgrade the existing WWTP to ensure service to the City of Revelstoke including Arrow Heights and RMR for the short term future (until the service population reaches about13,500 (City + RMR); no expansion of the existing WWTP would be undertaken, and a new WWTP would be constructed near the Airport to eventually accommodate the entire service area: the City of Revelstoke (including Big Bend and Clearview Heights developments), Big Eddy, Arrow Heights, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR).