Mild winter helping sewage treatment plant construction

A view of the work site looking northeast from the Marguerite St. Bridge. The $29.9 million dollar sewage treatment plant is expected to be online by October of 2012. Photo by Chris Marchand

By Chris Marchand

A mild winter is aiding in an effort to get the city’s new sewage treatment plant construction project back on track.

The city hopes to have to have the Margeurite St. facility online by October, 2012.

The project encountered setbacks in the past year when it was determined that the original foundation design for the adjacent pumping station would not be suitable for the location and was redesigned to feature a deep foundation of overlapping secant piles to stabilize the pumping station’s riverside site.

“In this case, it’s a ring of four-foot diameter cylindrical piles that go approximately 80 feet into the ground,” said City of Dryden Director of Engineering Michael Louttit. “They’re actually interlocking for strength. The secant system goes very far into the ground to make sure that material and pressure cannot come up underneath and push the pumping station around. It’s not a very fast process and it’s turning out to be more difficult than they expected.”

While progress has lagged somewhat on the pumping station, Louttit says that significant progress has been made on the main sewage treatment centre facility that stands around three-quarters complete. The building is sealed and Louttit says one final major concrete pour is in the works for this month. The HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system and duct work is in place and most of the sewage processing equipment has been received and installed.

The completion of the pumping station and its main electrical transformer will be key component in moving forward with further work in both buildings, says Louttit. “At the moment, the pumping station stands at 68 per cent complete.”

“The main concern is around the main transformer which is a significant size,” said Louttit. “While the sewage treatment plant proper may be complete, that pumping station has to be complete to a point where we can put that transformer on top of it.”

As for the budget Louttit reports it may be a challenge to stick to the original $29.9 million price tag.

“The project is tracking slightly over budget at this time,” he said. “Contingency funds have been expended and diligence is going to be required to keep the project under control. We make sure that the contractors are very meticulous in reviewing potential issues.”

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