After 18 years, the wastewater pump station on Bay Avenue in Parksville is getting an upgrade.
Duncan Taylor, manager of engineering services for regional and community utilities at the Regional District of Nanaimo, presented to Parksville city council the planned upgrades currently under construction for the pump station.
“About 80 per cent of wastewater generated in the city of Parksville passes through this pump station. Of the flow going through the pump station, 90 per cent is from Parksville, and 10 per cent is from the RDN,” said Taylor.
The pump station, located at the end of Bay Avenue along the beach in Parksville, was originally built in 1978 and is considered a vital part of the wastewater infrastructure for the region. Right now, the station is currently at capacity.
The last upgrade was done in 2003 and saw the addition of a back up generator, while the current upgrades seek to address access and operational challenges.
During his presentation, Taylor said the challenges include the steep bank it sits on; its vulnerability to the effects of coastal flooding; the undersized pumps that frequently clog with debris; the limited storage capacity and short maintenance window associated with a single wet well; and operator safety.
“All the equipment is also below grade, so there’s safety concerns with operators having to go into the confined space to do all the maintenance,” said Taylor.
With the upgrades, they intend to improve access to the beach for both RDN operators and the public, and add a second wet well to allow for increased capacity and so the station can switch between wet wells for maintenance.
Taylor said the new design will not have ramp access for those with mobility issues since the space and location make it physically impossible.
“It’s a challenging project from an archaeological and environmental aspect, as well as keeping the station running through all the construction periods,” he said.
The construction contract was awarded Coast Utility Contracting Ltd. earlier this year for $4.5 million, with the anticipated project completion in July 2022.