The Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corporation says the launch of its multi-million-dollar plant renewal project was its most significant event in 2022 because of how important the upgrade is to securing the region’s future water supply.
The corporation awarded the $325-million project to the Graham Construction-AECON Joint Venture Team in May, which began construction in June, while the corporation held a ground-breaking ceremony in July, the organization’s 2022 annual report said.
Furthermore, the corporation accelerated the installation of the 2.2-megawatt solar generation project in 2022 and expected to complete it by late 2023. It planned to use solar power to supplement the water treatment plant’s (WTP) utility power and reduce the complex’s carbon footprint.
The organization expects to complete and commission the project in 2025.
Ryan Johnson, president/CEO of the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corporation, presented the annual report during city council’s May 23 regular meeting.
“It’s really great to see that this project (is) about 25-per-cent complete,” said Coun. Crystal Froese, who wondered how many workers would be on site at construction’s peak.
There will be 220 workers at peak work — last month there were 180 labourers — although that will fluctuate depending upon what’s happening, said Johnson. The project is currently facing a time crunch since the more advanced systems need to be operational to handle summer flows.
Operations are slowly transitioning to the new plant components and machines, which gives employees time to learn the system, he continued. This ensures if something is poorly functioning, staff can revert to the old system. This is the benefit of a renovation versus a brand-new build.
When asked whether the new WTP would fix the interesting “flavour and aromas” in the water, Johnson said the new plant would provide year-round taste and aroma control instead of the current seven months. It’s usually every 10 years when Buffalo Pound Lake has water issues.
“So … after this fall, we should have control where taste will no longer be an issue,” he stated.
Johnson added that the new plant would have a 25-year lifespan; the corporation was unlikely to ask for more money because of contingency funding; and the upgraded venue would recycle 10 per cent of its wastewater — about three million litres a day — compared to the typical five per cent.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not affect the WTP’s operations last year because all staff were fully vaccinated, while most pandemic effects were economic- and supply chain-related, the report said.
The corporation reported zero lost time incidents last year, zero near misses and two incidents of property damage. Managers followed the SMS Incident Investigation Procedure to handle collisions and implement corrective action.
The plant continued to provide safe drinking water to more than 270,000 area residents and met most regulatory requirements and criteria as it produced safe potable liquid, the document continued.
The issues the plant did face were minimal and mainly due to loss of power, discharging of more total suspended solids into the environment than is acceptable under its operating permit, changes in raw water conditions — major algae blooms and weed decay that caused smell and test issues — and equipment failure.
While the venue made short-term adjustments to improve operations, the completion of the plant renewal project will satisfactorily address these deficiencies, said the report.
The plant currently produces 205 megalitres (205 million litres) per day, but after the project is finished, that will increase to 250 megalitres per day.
Financially, water sales generated $13.12 million in operating revenue while operating expenses were $13.04 million, resulting in a surplus of roughly $80,000, the report said. Its operating reserve finished at $2.39 million.
Total water sales to Regina, Moose Jaw and SaskWater totalled 33,961.62 megalitres (ML), with the Queen City consuming 28,634.23 ML, The Friendly City drinking 5,129.60 ML, and the Crown corporation using 197.79 ML, the document showed.
The corporation’s total revenue for 2022 was $53,865,028 and its total expenses were $19,387,505, leaving a surplus of $34,477,523, the annual report added. This surplus was added to the accumulated surplus, which finished at $132,576,810.
The next regular council meeting is Monday, June 12.