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Secondary Treatment

GNPCC Secondary Treatment Site

Project Updates and Information

Secondary Treatment produces a higher quality effluent than what is produced by primary treatment and will improve the quality of effluent discharged to the Strait of Georgia. There are also more opportunities to recover resources from wastewater that is treated to a secondary level.

Two common measurements of wastewater strength are biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS).

BOD measures how much oxygen is consumed by microorganisms in order to break down the organic matter. A high BOD means that less oxygen is available for aquatic life.

TSS is a measure of solid pollutants that would be captured on fine filter paper. They are visible in water and decrease water clarity. High concentrations of TSS can cause problems for aquatic life.

Provincial and federal regulations require, over an approved period of time, that all wastewater treatment facilities provide secondary treatment or better. Our Liquid Waste Management Plan makes a commitment to provide secondary treatment at Nanoose Bay Pollution Control Centre (NBPCC) in 2023.

Secondary treatment upgrades are underway for Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre (GNPCC). Sign up for regular email updates.

The graph below shows the BOD and TSS reduction capacity of primary and secondary treatment facilities.

BOD and TSS reduction capacity of primary and secondary treatment facilities

Below is a possible scenario of the expansion to secondary treatment at GNPCC. Changes may be made in both the technology used and the layout.

Many questions around plans for the GNPCC Secondary Treatment Upgrade Project are answered below. If you have further questions, please contact Sean De Pol at 250-390-6560 or email sdepol@rdn.bc.ca.

Questions and Answers

Q: What is the reason for the construction, how will it benefit me or the community?
A: The construction is required to upgrade the facility from primary treatment to secondary treatment. It will benefit the community because secondary treatment will improve the quality of the effluent discharged to the marine environment.
Q: What is secondary treatment and why do we need to upgrade?
A: Secondary treatment improves solids removal and reduces the oxygen demand on the marine environment. The upgrade is required to meet the RDN's approved Liquid Waste Management Plan, the Provincial Municipal Wastewater Regulation and the Federal Wastewater System Effluent Regulations.
Q: How much will this project cost me as a homeowner?
A: The average annual sewer tax for wastewater capital projects, operations, and maintenance at GNPCC is now about $110. The average household will see an average annual tax increase of $6-18/year over the next eight years to fund major capital projects at GNPCC. The RDN will explore provincial and federal funding opportunities to reduce the amount required from local taxpayers.
Q: When will construction start / end?
A: Site preparation (tree removal, stump removal, soil removal) began in 2015. Treatment plant construction will begin in mid-2016 and be complete mid-2018.
A preliminary construction activity schedule is provided below:

GNPCC Process Selection ReportComplete
February 10 and 11, open houseComplete
Tree clearingComplete
Detailed engineering design2015 to 2016
Environmental Impact Study - DraftComplete June 2015
Public Information MeetingJuly 8, 2015
Stump and soil removalComplete 2015
Environmental Impact Study - FinalComplete January 2016
Open HouseJune 11, 2016
Construction tenderFall 2016
Public Information meetingBefore construction begins
Construction2017 to Fall 2019

Q: What are the expected hours of construction?

A: Typical construction activity will conform to the City of Nanaimo Noise Bylaw which states that noise due to construction shall not be caused before 7:00 am and after 9:00 pm Monday to Saturday and before 9:00 am and after 9:00 pm on Sundays and Statutory holidays.
Q: What are you doing about odours that come from the plant?
A: The existing odour control facilities will be upgraded as part of the secondary treatment project.

Wastewater Services | 6300 Hammond Bay Road | Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N2 | E-mail: rcu@rdn.bc.ca
Telephone: 250-390-6560 (Nanaimo) 250-954-3792 (Oceanside) 1-877-607-4111 (Toll Free)
1-800-862-3429 (Emergency) | 250-390-1542 (Fax)
Last Modified:  Mar 20, 2017
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