Cranbrook, BC (June 12, 2023) – Staff will begin tendering Phase 2 of the Lagoon and Wastewater Treatment upgrades project, following approval by Council Monday to provide $5.5 million from the Growing Communities Fund, recently given to the City by the Provincial Government.
In early 2019, the City applied for a grant under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure (IICP) funding stream for upgrades at the wastewater lagoons and to the influent trunk main. The grant was to cover the costs of replacing and upsizing the influent trunk main from Victoria Avenue to the lagoons, replacing the pipeline and making upgrades at the lagoons, as well as reconstruction of the lagoon berms and armouring along Joseph Creek. The trunk main portion of the project was completed in late 2021.
After an initial tender process saw significant materials and construction cost increases, the piping and berm upgrades were reformatted into two phases to ensure the critical Cell 1 work could get underway in the spring of 2022. This phase of work will include desludging and an air line diffuser replacement, and is expected to be complete by mid-summer 2023.
Some of the specialty wastewater system material costs have increased 300% and construction costs have also increased significantly from the pre-COVID project plan pricing. Along with required additional consultation to develop the required environmental monitoring plan, these two key issues causing the cost increases. The project has already reduced the severe odour issues on that side of Cranbrook, and once completed and maintained, should prevent this issue in the future.
“While the majority of these cost increases were due to conditions outside the City’s control, recent changes to our project management systems, including professional grant writing services, higher contingency plans, and proactive pre-design investments, will allow us to better adapt to any future uncertainty,” says Mike Matejka, Director of Engineering and Development Services. “Phase 2 of this project will complete the necessary work to ensure the sewer lagoons meet the needs of the growing community well into the future”.
Staff also indicated to Council that potential increases to the Sewer Fund will be needed to meet the ongoing operational maintenance of the lagoons desludging program to remove sludge deposits more regularly. Cost inflation and available funding limited the current desludging work to Cell 1, meaning that funding will need to be set aside for Cell 2 and Cell 3 desludging to take place in the next several years. The increased berm height and water levels over the sludge will help reduce odours for the short-term.
As this work is ongoing, staff is preparing more detailed asset management plans for the wastewater treatment system, which will update future budget needs and funding models. Increases to capital and operational funding investments will likely be needed to support growth, replace rapidly aging infrastructure, and maintain the systems operating and strict compliance requirements.