Canadian Consulting Engineer

Kamloops Centre for Water Quality

October 1, 2006
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Stantec Consulting

Stantec Consulting

The City of Kamloops with its population of 80,000 is located in central British Columbia. The city obtains its drinking water supply from an intake in the South Thompson River. Prior to construction of the new Kamloops Centre for Water Quality, the water was treated by a system developed in 1973, which included 3 mm fine screening and chlorination.

To meet more stringent Canadian drinking water quality guidelines, the city began to investigate various treatment options in the early 1990s. Pilot scale investigations were completed for conventional and membrane technologies. The designers elected to select advanced membrane technology even though a membrane plant of this scale and magnitude had not been constructed before in North America. The Kamloops plant was to be capable of producing up to 160 million litres of water per day. Most membrane plants that were operational in North America at the time had a capacity of only 40 million litres of water a day, or less.

Economic pre-treatment of turbid water

Another concern was the need to cope with turbidity (muddiness) in the source water. The current Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines are 1 NTU (nephelometric turbidity unit) but during spring freshet the Kamloops water would occasionally have turbidity levels up to 500 NTU. This high turbidity compromised the disinfection system and exceeded the regulatory guidelines.

Membranes had not been previously used on highly turbid water without expensive pre-treatment. By piloting and developing an innovative enhanced coagulation design, the design team was able to reduce the cost of the overall project. The method included short residence time flocculation to reduce the organics in the water before it is filtered through the membranes. A sophisticated SCADA computerized system enables the plant to be run by a single operator.

Stantec as prime design consultant provided integrated design services for the new plant, including process engineering, process mechanical, mechanical, architecture, interior design and mechanical and structural engineering. Other consulting engineering firms involved included Urban Systems and L.R. Pearson Associates.

Almost no water wasted

In a membrane water treatment plant up to 10% of the treated water stream is typically wasted. For the Kamloops project this represents a significant amount of waste water, up to 16 million litres (3.5 million gallons) per day. The designers therefore developed an innovative recycle treatment scheme, which involves the use of a secondary membrane treatment module. The system enables almost complete recycling of the reject water. The reject water is used to irrigate city parks in the summer.

In addition, a separate raw water pumping system has been developed at the plant intake. This system enables raw water to be used for park irrigation rather than using treated water as is done in most locations.

With a LEED target of Silver certification (pending), the plant is one of the first water treatment plants designed according to sustainable principles. These include:

* location of the plant on a remediated brownfield site (former coal power plant) adjacent to a railway track; 45% of the site was restored to wetlands and planted areas;

* green roof on building

* building incorporates recycled materials, rainwater collection and low-flow plumbing features

* innovative HVAC designs reduce the plant’s energy consumption by 50% compared to conventional designs; process equipment, which gives off heat, is used to heat building areas

* natural lighting lowers energy demands

* Sodium hypochlorite that is used for disinfecting the water is generated on site to minimize chemical deliveries and reduce operating costs.

For teaching and research

Pilot, classroom and laboratory facilities have been built into the plant and will be used for enhancing the operations, and for research and education. It is one of the only water treatment plants in Canada to incorporate training and research initiatives in a full scale operating water treatment plant. The city has a partnership with Thompson Rivers University to use the centre’s facilities to provide training to students, and the University of British Columbia is completing graduate research there.

The plant was commissioned in February 2005 and delivered slightly below budget at $48.5 million. Its design has garnered much attention from the public. During the first public viewing, people were lined up for two blocks waiting to tour the facilities. The project received the B.C. Public Works Project of the Year Award in 2005.

Name of project: Kamloops Centre for Water Quality

Award-winning firm: Stantec Consulting, Kamloops, B.C. – prime consultant (Reno Fiorante, P.Eng., Peter Shand, P.Eng., Paul Pai, P.Eng., Ray Chan, P.Eng., Brian Christianson, Ken Sanderson, P.Eng., Mike Baker, P.Eng. Enrico Dimzon)

Owner: City of Kamloops

Subconsultants: Urban Systems, (civil engineering, piloting, landscape, architecture, construction engineering); L.R. Pearson (electrical and controls)

Supplier: EMCO


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