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Gibsons wastewater plant initiative projected to cut its freshwater use by 90 per cent

A wastewater treatment plant water reclamation project will cut its fresh water consumption by 90 per cent and save 40 to 100 cubic metres of water per day. The plant is the town’s single highest water user says infrastructure services manager Trevor Routley.

Proposals to save the Town of Gibsons money and potable water received approval and garnered kudos for staff at the June 6 council meeting

Reusing water at wastewater plant

In a late addition to the meeting agenda, a verbal report from infrastructure services manager Trevor Routley outlined a water reclamation project at the town’s wastewater treatment plant to cut that facility’s freshwater consumption by 90 per cent.  He pointed out the plant is the town’s single highest water user and that by changing processes to re-use effluent water within the plant, water consumption could be reduced by 40 to 100 cubic metres per day.  He noted that saved volume could be retained in the aquifer or redistributed in the community as needed, and that the savings could be enough to supply between 50 and 130 households.

“This would provide a significant operational benefit as the community enters what appears to be an extended dry period,” Routley stated. 

The water reclamation system being planned for would be expandable and reuse components from the decommissioned Parkland geothermal system, as they become available, he explained.

Buying used rather than new

That project, which Routley estimated would cost $80,000 and take six weeks to become operational was not budgeted for in 2023. To offset that challenge, he brought forward a second update to council related to the purchase of a spare emergency diesel pump and its current year budget allocation of $200,000. 

He noted that in 2022, the town rented a pump from a local supplier, who has since agreed to sell that unit to the municipality for $45,000. Adding in allowances for servicing and purchasing minor replacement parts for that unit, Routley noted that the total cost to secure that pump will be less than $60,000. 

Routley’s proposal, which council agreed to, will see some of the funds saved by purchasing a used rather than new diesel pump put towards the water re-use changes at the wastewater plant.

In response to the manager’s presentation, Coun. David Croal said, “This goes to shows the community how dedicated and proactive our staff are."

Mayor Silas White pointed out “the creativity” shown by staff in these efforts and stated, “This had a lot to do with a number of people working together and ideas being supported... and expertise being respected."