Canadian Consulting Engineer

Owen Sound, ON, opens upgraded wastewater plant

October 12, 2017

Construction on the $48M project began in 2014, with a focus on incorporating a secondary treatment process.


The upgraded Owen Sound wastewater treatment plant (photo: J.L. Richards)

The City of Owen Sound held a formal ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the substantial completion of the Owen Sound Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) upgrade, the largest single infrastructure project in the City’s history.

J.L. Richards & Associates Limited (JLR), in association with GHD (formerly Conestoga Rovers and Associates Ltd.), provided design, construction contract administration, and site inspection services for the $48-million upgrade.

Construction began in 2014, with a focus on incorporating a secondary treatment process with a biological aerated filtration system, chemical storage/feed systems, biosolids management facilities, and more. Graham Construction provided general contracting services for the project.

While portions of the existing facility were demolished during construction, operation of the plant needed to be consistently maintained – a challenge that was overcome starting at the design phase and continuing throughout the construction phase.

“The challenges associated with designing and constructing new facilities within an existing treatment plant, all while maintaining operation, required innovation and teamwork from all members involved,” said Brian Hein, an executive director and Chief Environmental Engineer at JLR. “As engineers and architects, it is always satisfying to see that the final results were in fact achievable.”



Aerial view of the upgraded facility (photo: J.L. Richards)

City officials remarked that the completed upgrade had already improved the plant’s treatment from primary to secondary level, and greatly reduced its environmental footprint in Georgian Bay and the Great Lakes. Governments have guidelines for controlling the limits of contaminants in treatment plant effluents, and Owen Sound’s new WWTP has reduced these levels to well below the prescribed guidelines.

“It was important for us to exceed expectations and to provide significant improvements to the surface water quality,” said Hein. “The success of the project will undoubtedly contribute to the health of the Great Lakes watershed for years to come.”


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