The high costs that forced the Town of Creston to delay necessary upgrades to the waste water treatment plant below Highway 21 last year could result in a superior system with a lower price tag.
That was the message delivered to town council by AECOM (Architecture, Engineering, Consulting, Operations and Management) Technology Cor-poration, a global engineering firm that specializes in plant designs. Engineers Carlos Vargas and Peter Timpany, both of Calgary, presented council with four options to upgrade the 30-year-old system, recommending one as a clear choice that meets needs for the next quarter century and can be done for the money allotted to the project.
The preferred option, Vargas said, would depend on negotiating with the Columbia Brewery to operate the portion of the system that pre-treats brewery effluent before it enters the main system. The brewery, which pays for half of the current plant’s operating costs, would then pay only for its proportion of the main plant’s operations, estimated at about 40 per cent of the total.
“What you are saying is that we will end up with a better system than if we had gone ahead with the project last year,” Mayor Ron Toyota commented to the consultants.
“Yes,” they agreed.
When tenders for upgrades designed by the engineering company that designed the plant originally went out in 2010, bids came in at around $8 million, about a third higher than the town had available after being approved for some government grants. Town council then requested that engineering and public works director Iain Bell research available options.
One of those options appeared to be the use of lagoons, but the AECOM report indicated that the technology used in conjunction with the lagoons would push costs up far beyond the town’s ability to pay.
In the option recommended by AECOM, all existing structures will be used and only one additional tank will have to be built.
Coun. Wesly Graham pointed out that the Town of Creston appears to be reaping the benefits of requesting input from engineering firms that have no previous history with the waste water treatment plant.
Bell was directed to proceed with the design process so that new construction tenders can be put out. The grants toward the project are available for two more years.