Just before Christmas the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) welcomed some big news regarding a multi-million dollar project that’s been years in the making.
Announced last week by the RDKB is a $46M+ infrastructure grant for modernization of the sewer treatment plant, known as the Columbia Pollution Control Centre.
Trail Coun. Robert Cacchioni has been reporting about the planning process and design phase of this significant upgrade during regular city council meetings for well over a decade.
So word that the regional district is finally getting the money to complete this much-needed work is a productive outcome after years of perseverance to see the job done.
“It is great news and it’s after 14 years that we finally get to start on the project,” Cacchioni told the Trail Times. “We are the last community in British Columbia still expelling primary treatment sewage into freshwater. This was the most important thing to do, to stop this primary sewage going into the Columbia River,” he continued.
“As chair of the liquid waste management committee I want to thank all the committee members who have worked so hard over the last 10 years to bring this project to the point where we are ready to build the addition, which will provide secondary sewage treatment.”
The $46.12M grant comes from the governments of Canada and British Columbia through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program — Green Infrastructure Environmental Quality Stream. The funding will help pay for plant upgrades in a service used by about 13,000 ratepayers in Rossland, Trail, Warfield and a limited number of households in Oasis and Rivervale (Area B).
Funding includes $25.12M from the Government of Canada and $21M from the Government of British Columbia. A further $16.77M will come from the RDKB to cover the total cost, nearing $63M.
“I would also like to thank the board for approving not only the project but the loan to complete it,” Cacchioni said. “The committee members are Linda Worley, from Area B, Diane Langman, from Warfield, and Andy Morel, from Rossland.”
He says the final cost to the taxpayer will be calculated in the new year.
Upgrades will improve wastewater treatment by adding new headworks facilities, new primary and secondary treatment systems, a new ultraviolet disinfection system, upgraded biosolids handling, and an effluent heat-recovery and reclaimed water system.
The RDKB points out that the project will also create local jobs, spending and an economic boost for the Greater Trail area during and after construction. As well, improvements to the much-needed infrastructure allows for future development in the region, while lowering the RDKB’s greenhouse gas emissions and improving water quality.
“On behalf of all 13 members of our board of directors and all our staff who worked diligently on this project for so many years, I want to thank the federal and provincial governments for funding one of the largest and most impactful projects in our region’s history,” said Linda Worley, Area B director and board chair. “Secondary sewage treatment is vital to the health of the Columbia River ecosystem and to tens of thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.”
The project was led by LWMP (Liquid Waste Management Plan) Steering Committee members from Trail, Rossland, Warfield and Area B/Lower Columbia-Old Glory. The committee consulted with residents, First Nations and a wide range of stakeholders to develop the project.
Secondary treatment is an additional step that removes about 95 per cent of organic waste materials in wastewater.