Canadian Consulting Engineer

Iqaluit Plant Expansion

June 1, 2005
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, hired Earth Tech Canada to expand the capacity of its water treatment plant eight-fold....

Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, hired Earth Tech Canada to expand the capacity of its water treatment plant eight-fold.

Located 2,000 kilometres north of Ottawa on the barrenlands of Baffin Island, Iqaluit has 6,000 Inuit and non-Inuit citizens. It is a challenge for construction work because of its remoteness, frigid temperatures and permafrost. Only during the short season between the end of July and the beginning of October can materials can be shipped in and excavations and construction work be done.

To minimize the potential problems with materials, and to reduce construction costs and the environmental impact, the expansion was done within the existing plant and keeping the same building footprint. The capacity was expanded by installing conventional sand filters on top of the existing clearwells.

The new design changed the treatment process from conventional treatment to direct filtration. Ultraviolet disinfection was also incorporated, initially as a temporary treatment, but then on a permanent basis. The UV system needs little attention from operators.

Four new filters were placed on the existing concrete structure that formed the roof of the exterior clear water well. The building envelope, as well as all the electrical and HVAC systems, required a complete upgrade because the 40-year old facility was beyond its design life.

The new plant can be controlled using a programmable logic controller (PLC) and also in manual mode — a capability which proved its worth during September 2004 when the remnants of Hurricane Ivan battered Iqaluit and caused power outages.

The plant, designed by a team scattered throughout Canada, was commissioned in May 2004 for a cost of $3.8 million. By using the existing footprint the design achieved cost savings in a location where construction costs are typically double those of the south. The project won an award of merit in the 2005 Consulting Engineers of Alberta Showcase Awards.

Owner: City of Iqaluit

Prime consultant: Earth Tech Canada (Glenn Prosko, P.Eng., David Taylor, B.Sc., Duncan Cook, CET, David Benke, CET)


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