Canadian Consulting Engineer

Up Front;Consultants face tough challenges

August 1, 2008
By Canadian Consulting Engineer


Taking a dip in Halifax Harbour

New sewage treatment plants have done their job and the once polluted waters in Halifax Harbour are so clean now that two of its beaches were opened to swimming in August. It is 30 years since people were first discouraged from taking the plunge into the waterway, which receives 200 million litres of waste every day.

After the first of three new sewage treatment plants began operating late last year, the fecal coliform readings at Black Rock Beach fell from 340 cfu/100 mL to less than 1 cfu/100 mL between January and April 2008.

The water is so clear divers have had to clean up the ocean floor along the city waterfront. Before, tires and other debris weren’t visible.

The Halifax Harbour Solutions involved constructing a new sewage collection system, with a 1-kilometre tunnel under downtown Halifax, as well as several pumping stations. There are also three new advanced primary wastewater treatment plants around the harbour: one is in downtown Halifax, another at a military base in Dartmouth, and the third — nearing completion — in Herring Cove at the harbour mouth. The plants remove 70% of suspended solids and have ultra-violet disinfection.

The $332-million clean-up project cost in total $332 million. It began in 2003 when the region contracted Dexter Construction to design and build the $112-million sewage collection system and the consortium D & D Water Solutions, owned by Dexter and Degremont, to design and construct the three sewage plants. Design subconsultant on both projects was Harbour Engineering, consisting of CBCL and Dillon Consulting.


Environmental firms acquired

Genivar of Montreal has acquired Solmers Inc. of Varennes, Quebec. The 40-person purchased firm specializes in environmental engineering and waste confinement technology.

ECD Energy of Toronto has been acquired by global real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle. ECD developed the Green Globes building rating system.

SNC-Lavalin has acquired Laboratoire Sol et Beton, material and geotechnical engineering specialists. Sol et Beton is in Quebec City and has 50 people.


Demolition gets tougher

Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) has unveiled Regulation 260/08 bringing demolition standards under the Professional Engineers Act. Licensed engineers will be required to follow the standard in preparing a demolition plan and general review. PEO’s move follows the fatal Uptown Theatre collapse in Toronto in 2003.


Sewer grate, be mine

A 42-year old Ottawa man was charged with stealing 25 sewer grates in Ottawa in July. Over 150 catch basin covers had gone missing in the previous month. Each grate weighs at least 27 kilograms and costs $100 to replace.


New air terminal serves Inuit communities

Kuujjuaq, the administrative centre of Nunavik in Northern Quebec, has a new airport terminal. The airport serves the Inuit community of 2,500 people and is also the lifeline to isolated communities such as Ungava Bay and Hudson Bay.

With temperatures outside dipping to -45 in winter, the terminal is designed to conserve energy and for LEED silver certification. Its features include a large clerestory window angled to catch the heat of the low winter sun, solar and photovoltaic panels. It also has a system of ther- mosyphons filled with C02 under its concrete slab to prevent the permafrost below the building from thawing. The building form was carefully designed to minimize the accumulation of snow, and the openings are placed to avoid prevailing winds.

The design team includes Genivar as structural engineer and Equation/ Nunatech as mechanical and electrical engineers. Fournier Gersovitz Moss and Associates were architects. Clients were Transport Canada and PWGSC.


PSMJ Resources in the U. S. held a roundtable of CEOs of architecture and engineering firms. The CEOs named seven top challenges for 2008:

• Making sure we keep our pipeline full of new work in the face of an economic slowdown.

• Keeping cash flowing while our clients’ operating expenses rise sharply.

• Protecting the investment that we’ve made in young staff.

• Clients seem to be taking forever to pay our invoices.

• Not getting paid enough for change orders.

• Figuring out how to diversify our service offerings and client base to mitigate economic risk.

• Sustaining the growth we’ve experienced over the last few years.


Not happy with Al Gore

Re. “Taking Lessons from Al Gore,” by Lee Norton, P. Eng., June-July 2008.

This whole issue of man-made global warming is a very emotional issue and has certainly been exploited by Al Gore and our own David Suzuki, to their own benefit. Al Gore is raking in millions of dollars, through his company, trading in carbon credits. Al Gore’s carbon footprint is at least 20 times larger than any other ordinary citizen of North America.

Perhaps if you decide to print these types of articles, at least have the decency to print the ever growing opposing views to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, which appears to be based on very sloppy calculations of facts available.

Al Gore, to date, has refused to debate Lord Christopher Monckton as to the validity of man’s involvement in so called global warming.

Ben Nielsen Calgary, Alberta


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