Faced with rising costs, the Town of Creston is exploring alternatives to the way it deals with waste water.
“When bids came in at a much higher cost than we could afford, we directed our staff to search out alternatives,” Mayor Ron Toyota said last week. “I think they have done a great job and put us on the right track.”
The waste water treatment plant, located west of Highway 21, was deemed to be in need of major upgrades and the town was successful in receiving infrastructure grant money from senior levels of government last year. But unexpectedly high costs prompted the town’s department of engineering and public works to suggest that other alternatives be explored, including the use of settling ponds.
Three consulting firms bid on a pre-design study, said Creston engineering manager Colin Farynowski.
“The project was awarded to AECOM at a cost of $75,000 plus HST,” he said. “The cost is eligible and will be covered by existing grants.”
AECOM does business around the world and has offices in Kelowna.
The purpose of the study, Farynowski said, is “to evaluate and compare waste water treatment processes for the Town of Creston, based on the current budget and operating parameters, culminating in a recommendation for a system most benefiting the citizens of Creston, with regard to cost, both capital and operational, and maintenance, whilst complying with all environmental and regulatory requirements.”
One issue that must be addressed, Toyota said, is the agreement the town has with Columbia Brewery. The brewery paid for a portion of the waste water treatment plant and continues to fund a large portion of its annual operating costs.
“We will work with Columbia Brewery to ensure that we have a treatment system that works for them as well as the town,” he said. “We have always had a good relationship.”
Included in the study is a requirement to “review [the] present operational situation and provide comment on how this might be altered if the ownership of the bulk volume fermenter (BVF) were to be transferred to Columbia Brewery and/or how the existing relationship between the town and brewery could/should be managed in regard to permits, cost sharing, loadings, upsets and regulatory issues.”
Farynowski said the study will take up to six months and the construction process will begin as soon as town council makes its decision about how to proceed.
“The information we have been given indicates there are probably cheaper, equally effective options to our current system,” Toyota said. “Credit goes to our staff for being proactive after the upgrade bids came in so high.”