The French Creek Pollution Control Centre (FCPCC) will be expanded and upgraded to meet the demands of a growing population and to improve odour controls.
Sean De Pol, director of water and wastewater services at the Regional District of Nanaimo, told Parksville council at a regular meeting on May 22 that the treatment plant, built in 1977, is nearing capacity and must be expanded.
The FCPCC services wastewater from about 27,000 homes and businesses in Parksville, Qualicum Beach and the French Creek, Pacific Shores, Surfside and Barclay Crescent areas. It also treats trucked waste from homes with septic systems and holding tanks and currently provides Secondary Treatment with trickling filters to meet provincial and federal environmental regulations.
“The expansion will provide capacity up to 2035, and this of course depends upon growth,” De Pol said. “It will improve odour control, as well as look at the existing plant and improve operational efficiency, as well as remove aging infrastructure.”
De Pol said a detailed design is underway and an award for the tender will be announced in 2020. Construction should start in late 2020 with completion in early 2022.
“Odour control, as I mentioned, is a major focus of this project, based on the proximity of the treatment facility and some of the historical odours that have been produced at this facility,” De Pol said.
A mobile odour monitoring lab will assist with the expansion project.
“This unit can drive around and take samples while it’s going through the neighbourhood, you can sample right at the treatment plant, at some of the discharge points,” De Pol said. “As far as we understand this is the only mobile unit in North America and we are having them assist us with this project.”
The expansion is estimated to cost $33 million and De Pol said it will be funded through RDN’s capital reserve, borrowing and grant funding.
The public can get involved in the project by visiting www.getinvolved.rdn.ca. An open house that will focus on the expansion will be held on Saturday, June 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the French Creek Pollution Control Centre (957 Lee Rd, Parksville). Tours of the plant will be available.