Canadian Consulting Engineer

News

Calgary’s new wastewater treatment plant mimics nature

Calgary officially opened a brand new wastewater treatment plant this month. The $430-million Pine Creek Waste...


Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Calgary. Photo courtesy CH2M HILL
Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Calgary. Photo courtesy CH2M HILL

Calgary officially opened a brand new wastewater treatment plant this month. The $430-million Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Centre was designed by CH2M HILL and now in its first phase  treats up to 100 megalitres of wastewater per day. It has the infrastructure to expand to 700 megalitres per day and once expanded could serve a population of 1.75 million people.
Located on a 320-acre parcel in a river valley on the southern edge of the city, the plant will produce “the highest quality of treated effluent of any major city in Western Canada.” using several advanced technologies to treat the sewage before it is discharged into the Bow River. The technologies including advanced filtration, ultraviolet disinfection and biological nutrient removal (BNR).
The centre also has a research facility, known as Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets (ACWA), which is a partnership with the University of Calgary. The research centre includes streams that mimic natural stream flows and pools so that the researchers can examine the behaviour of chemicals and additives in receiving waters. The centre will be the only place in the world where research on natural stream systems is integrated with treatment technologies.
Wind power provides half the energy used in the processing plant, and the methane gas from the plant will be harvested to heat the buildings. Effluent from the plant is being used to irrigate the city’s tree nursery which is located next door. More than 5,500 square metres of green roofing spans over several of the buildings, and the Operations and Maintenance building has been rated LEED Gold.
Calgary has two other wastewater plants: Bonnybrook and Fish Creek.
Calgary was recently scored as the world’s top “eco-city” from 221 international contenders, according to business analysts Mercer. Honolulu was second, and Ottawa and Helsinki came joint third.