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Q & A on Seaterra’s Wastewater Treatment Plant

Yesterday I posed a series of questions to Seaterra concerning the proposed McLoughlin Point wastewater treatment plant project. Below I provide both the questions and answers that I received in a timely fashion. I am impressed with the thoughtfulness of the response.

Q: Is a tertiary based system precluded from being bid in the current Seaterra RFP?

A: The ongoing Request for Proposals (RFP) process for the McLoughlin Wastewater Treatment Plant (McLoughlin) does not preclude the use of a tertiary treatment option nor does it exclude the use of the membrane bioreactor technology as proposed by the “Rite Plan”.

Q: Could a company using the membrane type technology proposed by the group called “The Rite Plan” bid on the RFP?

A: If tertiary treatment and membrane bioreactor technology are truly the most cost effective solution, the procurement process that is underway will allow this solution to be successful. The CRD would accept such a solution in the technical submissions of the proponents.

Q: In weighting and determining a successful proponent are you able to tell me whether or not “Innovation” is considered to be a category of evaluation and would a tertiary model be considered innovative?

A: The proponents are encouraged to be innovative in terms of meeting the minimum process flow requirements and effluent standards with any proven technology.

Developing the McLoughlin site requires innovation to cost-effectively design and construct the facilities; the wastewater treatment plant, the harbour crossing and the outfall. Innovation during construction will include a work plan that utilizes methods to optimize construction from land and sea.

The RFP has been structured to reward innovation through an evaluation model that assesses cost drivers important in the development of a wastewater treatment plant. The evaluation parameters include; the capital cost to build the facilities; plant capacity; the 35 year operating costs including labour, chemical and power consumption; future capital maintenance costs for equipment replacement and residual solids production. The proponent with the most innovation in their process design and choice of technology will develop a facility that has the lowest 35 year life cycle cost that both meets/exceeds the regulations and maximizes the plant capacity on the site.

The CRD has also specified heat recovery facilities for the treatment plant and the Esquimalt District Energy System. The CRD, in the RFP, has specified that proponents design and construct infrastructure to allow for the easy addition of equipment for advanced oxidation and UV removal of trace contaminants. As part of their submissions, the proponents will provide a separate price for the additional equipment to make these facilities operational. The CRD Board will then determine if this additional equipment should be installed.

Q: Are you able to tell me the weighting that will be afforded to innovation?

A: At the end of the procurement process, the successful proponent will be the proponent that is compliant with the regulations for the lowest life cycle cost.


  1. Russ Smith-
    February 26, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I believe the RFP specifically addresses biogas. Syngas and gasification are NOT mentioned. I suggest the CRD is being somewhat disingenuous in suggesting proponents will bid on an alternative solution to anaerobic digesters and biogas capture when the RFP suggests otherwise.

  2. Jim Poushinsky-
    February 25, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    The best solution for urban sewage waste disposal that contains both pathogens and harmful chemical compounds is to process it through a plasma furnace. Heating it at high temperature without oxygen melts the 90,000 different chemical compounds and the pathogens into their constituent atoms. Phosphorus can be removed beforehand for fertilizer use. The metals are collected and recycled, The gaseous elements are captured and burned as fuel for the heat required by the furnace and to generate electricity, which greatly reduces operating costs. Eighty tonnes of cake sludge biosolids are safely reduced in this way to 1 tonne of inert black glass, that can be mixed with asphalt to pave roads. This technology already exists, and is no more expensive to operate than the present costs of storing and spreading contaminated sludge throughout the environment under the false pretence that it is safe to use as fertilizer. Is this ultimate solution even being considered, and if not, why not?

  3. Martin Golder-
    February 25, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    While is seems that the most deleterious components in the waste water systems namely pharmaceuticals and heavy metals (in the storm system) will not be addressed making the whole exercise somewhat academic another issue is the McLoughlin Point location. Prime water front within the inner harbour. I bet you could develop that land for high end residential and locate the plant virtually anywhere with a few pumps. I can see no reason that the plant should be on the waterfront especially if the sludge is going to be piped or trucked away. locate the plant away from the coast and just run the final outfall in that direction and shorten the sludge route.

  4. February 25, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I really like the idea of tertiary treatment plants. The talk of careful building and keeping cost down can be done with alternative and in-house energy production if the biosolids are treated to heat.