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City of Powell River finance committee receives wastewater plant update

Manager of engineering services indicates no surprises with construction during recent presentation
REPORT PROVIDED: City of Powell River’s consolidated wastewater treatment plant construction has faced some changes, but the project is progressing steadily, according to the city’s manager of engineering services.

Work on the various phases of the consolidated wastewater treatment plant is progressing well, city of Powell River councillors were told recently.

Manager of engineering services Nagi Rizk, at the May 26 city finance committee meeting, said there were no surprises regarding the project.

“We are having some challenges, and there are some change orders, especially on the construction of the treatment plant itself,” said Rizk. “You can imagine the scope of the job. The more we progress into it the more we find that adjustments are necessary, either required by law or by specs changes. There are many reasons.”

Rizk said an example would be changes to the BC Employment Standards Act. The city is now required by law to pay for certain sick leave that is qualified now that was not qualified in the past, he added. That amounts to a $29,000 adjustment to the contract.

“We just have to comply,” said Rizk.

He said another change is the BC Hydro design specifications, amounting to a $19,000 addition.

“That came after the design was complete and the contract construction was ordered,” said Rizk. “It’s nothing to complain about; it’s just the nature of the business we are in.”

According to his report to the finance committee, the total adjustments to the treatment plant portion of the project to date is an additional amount of $494,000. The Graham Infrastructure contract price is $61,016.432.65, but the adjusted contract price to date is $61,767,526.99.

In terms of the linear work, the project is still under budget. The Graham contract price is $18,430,314.22 and the adjusted contract price to date is $18,219,850.34, according to Rizk’s report.

Rizk indicated that the contract administration cost with Associated Engineering has not changed and is $4,919,192.

According to Rizk, the budget for the project has changed, with the amendment to the bylaw for the city’s contribution, to increase borrowing by $3,421,000.

“The total budget has changed now from $89.4 million to $92.4 million,” added Rizk.

In terms of drilling for the piping through Willingdon Beach campsite, it is ongoing and progressing, but Rizk said a snag was hit with nesting birds, so it was halted for a bit.

“We know exactly where we’re going and with the blessings of the First Nation we are moving forward,” he added.

The outfall construction is ongoing in waters adjacent to the treatment plant. Rizk said it is what’s referred to as the intertidal installation.

Mayor Dave Formosa said Rizk mentioned there had been an issue with birds. He asked if the signoff came from a bird specialist or biologist rather than Tla’amin Nation.

Rizk said Tla’amin signed the alignment of the pathway for the piping and the biologist signed off on the birds’ nests.

Councillor Cindy Elliott asked how far the outfall pipe goes out into the ocean on the lowest tide.

“The outlet is at 800 metres,” said Rizk. “From the lowest tide it would be 700 metres or so.”

Elliott asked if the new outfall is longer than the old one. Rizk said it was longer by far, perhaps as much as three times.

“At the end, where the effluent will be discharged, it will be under 50 metres of water,” added Rizk.

Finance committee chair George Doubt asked how the project is doing for the overall schedule in terms of completion.

“You reported earlier that you expected to have water flowing through the plant towards the end of June,” said Doubt.

Rizk said the end of June is a little pushed. He said the WET test is scheduled around September.

“The solids will follow,” said Rizk, “and then we’re hoping to have full commissioning around Christmas.”