July 8, 2011
HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY
Halifax completes $300-million wastewater expansion
After decades of living with raw sewage in Halifax Harbour, Haligonians have something to crow about: the harbour is safe, once again, to swim and fish in.
That is because of the largest municipal infrastructure project ever in Atlantic Canada — the Halifax Harbour Solutions (HHS) cleanup project.
Built in stages since 2003, the $300-million-plus project includes three advanced primary wastewater treatment facilities — one near downtown Halifax, a second near the Woodside neighbourhood in Dartmouth and the third in the village of Herring Cove, which is part of the Halifax Regional Municipality. A new biosolids processing facility and associated sewage treatment plant is located near the Stanfield International Airport in Halifax.
Recently completed, the project came in $3 million under budget. D & D Water Solutions Inc. comprised of Dexter Construction, of Bedford, and Degremont Inc., of France, was contracted by Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) to design and build the sewage treatment system. Dexter Harbour Solutions built the sewage collection system, while N-Viro Systems Canada did the biosolids processing facility.
Prior to the project’s completion, the city depended on two sewage treatment plants at Bedford and the Eastern Passage, but the city outgrew the facilities and the “vast majority” of sewage was making it into the harbour, explains James Campbell, communications and public relations co-ordinator, Halifax Water, the owner and operator of HHS.
About a decade ago the Halifax Harbour Solutions advisory committee formed, made up of residents and experts in waste water treatment and marine biology, to come up with a solution to the harbour’s problems.
Once the project was agreed upon, the big hurdle was how to finance it, says Campbell. The federal and provincial government only coughed up $60 million and $30 million each. Halifax was on the hook for the remaining $243 million.
HRM borrowed some of the money and is raising more through an environmental protection levy on resident’s water bills, says Campbell. “Fortunately, it got the job done. Unfortunately, it leaves a disproportionate load for HRM residents to pay for.”
The three treatment plants cost $137 million. The collection system, including underground piping infrastructure, through Halifax cost $112 million. $12.5 million went for the biosolids processing facility
While water-quality tests show that the harbour is safe even for shellfish harvesting, final approval must come through the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
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