Rosslanders were invited to an open house on Thursday to give input on the upgrades to the district’s waste treatment plant.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) held an open house in Rossland to get feedback on Stage 2 of the regional Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP). The Columbia Pollution Control Centre (PCC), which empties into the Columbia River, currently only provides primary wastewater treatment, while provincial regulations require at least secondary treatment for effluent (treated water) that ends up in an “open marine environment.” So the LWMP focuses on introducing secondary treatment, either by building a new PCC at Columbia Gardens or by upgrading the existing plant.
At Thursdays open house, it was revealed that the joint advisory committee and steering committee working on the plan have recommended moving forward with upgrading the existing PCC. The estimated cost for upgrading is $55,130,000 over 20 years, accounting for both operations and maintenance, and capital costs. While the operations and maintenance costs of a new plant would be lower than those of the upgraded plant, the difference would not be enough to offset the additional capital costs after 20 years, for a total 20-year estimated cost of $76,600,000.
That being said, the old plant is already 44 years old and while the upgrade will introduce new tanks and a blower/chemical building, and replace the current headworks building, the plant will eventually require additional capital investment.
“Because this is already an older plant, generally [the lifespan] is around 40 years for the new stuff and probably another 20 years for the plant itself, but you could always increase that by doing capital improvements year over year,” explained Goran Denkovski, manager of infrastructure and sustainability for the RDKB.
In comparison, the new plant would have an estimated lifespan of 40 years, assuming no additional capital improvements over the years.
As for the level of treatment provided by the upgraded plant versus a new plant, Al Gibb of Opus DaytonKnight Consultants, who’ve been consulting on the LWMP, said there’s not much difference.
“Both [are] very similar in terms of level of treatment,” he said.
The details of the treatment method haven’t been settled on yet, as Gibb explained that will be decided on once the plan reaches the design stage, but both plants would be built so that tertiary treatment can be added at a later date if desired.
Councillor Lloyd McLellan, Rossland’s representative on the steering committee, is in favour of the plan to upgrade the existing plant. “I’m fully in support of that one.”
The RDKB also held open houses in Trail and Warfield, but hopefully they attracted more pubic input. Attendance at the Rossland open house was not very high, as McLellan later reported that only 11 or 12 tax payers showed up.