Paul Nash, project coordinator, updates Cumberland council on the liquid waste plan upgrade. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Cumberland wastewater procurement process should come in 2020

Construction on the first phase of the lagoon would likely begin in 2021

Council got an update on its long-time plans to upgrade its liquid waste infrastructure from Paul Nash, the co-ordinator for the liquid waste management planning project.

The community had withdrawn from the regional district south sewer project in 2015 and responded by setting in place a plan for a “made in Cumberland” solution, though funded from outside of Cumberland. The project is seen as crucial to helping Cumberland get into compliance over wastewater discharge. This summer, the Province announced it was fining the community after previously issuing warnings.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland fined for wastewater non-compliance issues

At the Oct. 15 meeting, Nash outlined the timeline for the project, with funding details to be finalized through the rest of 2019, procurement and design to happen next year and construction of the lagoon phase to begin the year after that.

In August, the Village received news of $7.1 million in federal and provincial funding that would allow it to go ahead with the entire $9.7 million wastewater upgrade project.

“We got notification just over a month ago that we’ve been successful in getting the funding,” he said.

He admitted the process of getting approval has taken a little longer than expected.

“Here we are, it’s the fall and finally they’ve announced it, so we’re six months behind where we wanted to be, but at least we’re off to the races,” he said.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland tackles funding for wastewater site, firehall

The first phase, which covers the lagoon upgrade, is considered necessary for bringing the system into compliance through solids separation and disinfection. This will ideally happen in 2021. This phase represents the largest cost component at about $6.5 million.

Later phases in subsequent years call for a biochar reed bed that, according to an article on the Water Canada website, can remove contaminants such as pharmaceuticals.

This is undergoing a trial to assess performance.

Another measure Cumberland will rely upon in a later phase is the development of wetlands irrigation and enhancement as a source for water.

“Then we will some very good quality wastewater treatment,” Nash said.

Nash said these two later phases – the reed bed and the wetlands – may go through separate procurement processes, even though they might end up being done by the same contractor. At this point, it is too early to determine these details.

“We can’t actually send water to either of those things until the lagoon upgrades are done,” he said.

The project is not only designed to bring the community into compliance but is also to take into account future capacity needed as a result of growth in the community.

In addition to the $7.1 million in federal and provincial funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, the community will be using $2.25 million in funding through a loan from the Green Municipal Fund.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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