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Wastewater facility construction proceeding rapidly, City of Powell River Council is told

Councillors receive treatment plant report
UPDATE GIVEN: There were 50 employees working at the consolidated wastewater treatment plant and the contractor is making great progress, city council members were told by director of infrastructure services Tor Birtig.

City of Powell River councillors were provided an overview of what is transpiring at the consolidated wastewater treatment plant, which is currently under construction in Townsite.

At the August 26 finance committee meeting, director of infrastructure services Tor Birtig said that since the last monthly report to the finance committee on July 22, there have been a couple of change orders to the construction administration contract with Associated Engineering. He said one of them included further odour sampling so there could be an odour baseline, and it was completed on August 17. The cost was $8,348.

“They did find some odours emanating from the mill site that they described as sour hotdog smell,” said Birtig. “There were also smells from our existing plant in Townsite.”

Birtig said there was also $24,982 of additional design work for the selected septage acceptance plant. He said the two additional expenditures bring Associated Engineering’s contract to $4,838,634.

Birtig said the mediation process, which involves Caribou Mountain Construction, is ongoing and there is nothing further to report. This is with regard to the outfall contract, which was terminated when Fisheries and Oceans Canada expressed environmental concerns over the underwater environment, where eelgrass was found.

Birtig said at the construction site, Graham Infrastructure is making great progress.

“If any of you have seen the site, the bulk excavation is still ongoing,” said Birtig. “They probably have about 10 or 15 per cent of excavation remaining. They’ve poured bases for the process building. They’ve done manhole installations, poured the base for the tower crane, and as you know, it has since been erected.

“The capacity alarms on the crane have been tested and on August 27, the fire department is doing some high-angle rescue training on the crane so they can be there in the event of an incident. Work continues at a rapid pace down there.”

Birtig said on August 24, there were approximately 50 employees onsite.

He added the city is continuing coordination with the ministry of transportation and infrastructure with respect to seismic work being done on the Wildwood bridge. Birtig said the city wants to ensure there is no conflict with the pipeline from Wildwood and the ministry’s bridge work.

Measurements provide baseline

Councillor Rob Southcott asked if the odour sampling was to provide a control. Birtig said the measurements would provide a baseline.

“If we do find issues down the road, we can compare it against the baseline and know where the odours are actually coming from,” said Birtig.

Finance committee chair councillor George Doubt said he believes that August 2021 was the target date for the redesign and permitting for the new outfall design. He said he wondered how that was going.

Birtig said the design has been finalized and included into a tender package, which is with Graham Infrastructure. Birtig said they will take on the tendering of that parcel, which is scheduled to close September 21.

“In the meantime, our consultant should be just completing the information to bring to fisheries and oceans Canada to hopefully get the final nod,” said Birtig.

Doubt said the tendering and work with fisheries and oceans appeared to be done at the same time. Birtig said that was the case.

Birtig said fisheries and oceans was requesting to review the changed plans and that is what will be brought forward, with the final design drawings and construction practices.

“That’s a risk that has been worrying me,” said Doubt, “so I hope we get it resolved pretty soon.”