Image credit: Organica. Interior of the Food Chain Reactor greenhouses that are being incorporated into the new Kimberley Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Image credit: Organica. Interior of the Food Chain Reactor greenhouses that are being incorporated into the new Kimberley Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Kimberley’s biggest capital project — the new waste water plant

As most Kimberley residents are aware, the city needs a new wastewater treatment plant. The current Pollution Control Centre was built in 1967 and upgraded in 1979. According to information on the project at EngageKimberley.ca the plant has been deemed by the BC Ministry of Environment as “one of the highest risk sewer treatment plants in the East Kootenays due to its age, lack of redundancy and the risk of potential to recreational waters, downstream water uses and the discharge to trans boundary waters from upset conditions and equipment failure.”

The latest budget figures have replacement cost at $95.2 million. However, the city’s cost would 27 per cent of that, should grants be secured.

In 2017, the city obtained a $2.6 million grant to do the engineering study and environmental work on a new plant which utilizes the Organica Food Chain Reactor technology.

“The system is currently used in Sechelt, BC, and includes a large greenhouse and a smaller process building which will house administration and equipment. The FCR technology is a stable wastewater treatment solution that requires a relatively low level of long-term operational effort and includes all Municipal Waste Regulation redundancy. The new plant will also address all odour and noise issues within a contained treatment process. The new plant will support Kimberley’s climate resiliency by utilizing reclaimed water within the building itself and will allow future consideration of water reclamation opportunities.”

The current PCC is located on the floodplain of the St. Mary’s River. The new WWTP will be located above the floodplain on city land between Marysville Falls and the Kimberley Golf Course at 700 302nd Ave. The former plant will be decommissioned and taken down after the new plant is built.

As explained in the city’s financial plan documents, an infrastructure grant application has been submitted requesting $69.8 (73.33%) of the project cost with another $23.2 (24.37%) being funded from borrowing and the remaining $2.2 (2.3%) million from City reserves. The debt payments resulting from the long-term borrowing are proposed to be funded through the implementation of a Parcel Tax commencing in 2026. The City expects to hear a decision on the grant application in the spring of 2023 and elector approval of the borrowing will be sought through an assent voting process that will be conducted in conjunction with the October 15, 2022 general local election.