Wastewater Update Provided to Powell River Councilors

Director of Engineering Services indicates no surprises with construction in recent presentation

Work on the various phases of the consolidated sewage treatment plant is progressing well, Powell River town councilors said recently.

Director of Engineering Services Nagi Rizk at the city’s finance committee meeting on May 26 said there were no surprises about the project.

“We are having challenges and there are change orders, especially on the construction of the sewage plant itself,” Rizk said. “You can imagine the magnitude of the work. The more we get into it, the more we find that adjustments are needed, either required by law or through specification changes. There are several reasons.”

Rizk said an example would be the changes to the BC Employment Standards Act. The city is now required by law to pay certain sick days that are now qualified and were not in the past, he added. This amounts to a $29,000 adjustment to the contract.

“We just have to comply,” Rizk said.

He added that another change is to BC Hydro’s design specifications, which adds $19,000.

“That happened after the design was completed and the contract build was commissioned,” Rizk said. ” There is nothing to add ; it’s just the nature of the business we’re in.

According to his report to the finance committee, the total adjustments to the sewage plant portion of the project to date represent an additional $494,000. The Graham Infrastructure contract price is $61,016,432.65, but the adjusted contract price to date is $61,767,526.99.

As for the linear works, the project is still under budget. The Graham contract price is $18,430,314.22 and the adjusted contract price to date is $18,219,850.34, according to Rizk’s report.

Rizk said the administration fee for the contract with Associated Engineering has not changed and is $4,919,192.

According to Rizk, the project budget changed, with the amendment to the city’s contribution by-law, to increase the loan by $3,421,000.

“The total budget has gone from $89.4 million to $92.4 million,” Rizk added.

As for the drilling of the pipe through the Willingdon Beach campground, it’s underway and progressing, but Rizk said there was a problem with nesting birds, so it’s been put on hold for a bit.

“We know exactly where we are going and with the blessing of the First Nation, we are moving forward,” he added.

The construction of the outfall is underway in the waters adjacent to the treatment plant. Rizk said it’s called the intertidal installation.

Mayor Dave Formosa said Rizk mentioned there had been a problem with the birds. He asked if the endorsement came from a bird scientist or biologist rather than the Tla’amin Nation.

Rizk said Tla’amin signed the path alignment for the piping and the biologist signed for the bird’s nests.

Councilor Cindy Elliott asked how far the outlet goes out into the ocean at the lowest tide.

“The exit is half a mile away,” Rizk said. “From the lowest tide there would be about 700 meters.”

Elliott asked if the new emissary is longer than the old one. Rizk said it was far longer, maybe up to three times.

“At the end, where the effluent will be discharged, it will be under 50 meters of water,” Rizk added.

Finance Committee Chairman George Doubt asked how the project was progressing against the overall timeline in terms of completion.

“You reported earlier that you expected water to flow into the plant around the end of June,” Doubt said.

Rizk said the end of June was pushed back a bit. He said the WET test is expected around September.

“Solids will follow,” Rizk said, “and we hope to have a full go-live around Christmas.”

Abdul J. Gaspar