CBRM's sewage plant project underway

By Chris Hayes
Cape Breton Post
Tues., Mar. 30, 2004

SYDNEY - Construction has started on the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s $10.7-million Battery Point sewage treatment plant.

Earth-moving equipment is preparing Battery Point, in Sydney harbour, for construction of the plant foundations, says Mike MacKeigan, public utilities manager for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

The plant will treat 3.5 million gallons of waste water, including raw sewage that is now being dumped into the Sydney tar ponds, and from there into Sydney harbour, daily. It will also treat sewage from the Byng Avenue sewer system which discharges into an outfall in Sydney harbour at the mouth of Wentworth Park.

Construction of the sewage treatment plant is expected to take about a year.

The Battery Point plant will use a method called enhanced primary sewage treatment which involves a grinding process and chemicals to remove solids and ultraviolet rays to destroy bacteria. It is supposed to reduce the biological oxygen demand sewage solids place on the water by up to 60 per cent and remove up to 80 per cent of the solids.

The CBRM is working with ACAP Cape Breton on a program to educate people against putting the wrong things, for example petroleum- and acid-based products, into the sewage system, says MacKeigan.

"We are trying to make sure people are aware of what things are forbidden . . . to be discharged into the sanitary sewer system because . . . they can’t be broken down as part of the process. They also have an effect of destroying some of the process that is in place. "People have a tendency to want to discard liquid fluids of some sort in the easiest possible way, and a lot of times that means down the toilet."

Federal, provincial and municipal governments, which are cost-sharing the Battery Point sewage treatment plant under the Canada Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program and a shared agreement to fund the Muggah Creek interceptor sewer project, have committed $10,175,886.

The estimated cost of the project has increased by $513,315 above the amount governments have committed because of competitive demand for equipment, increasing construction costs in general for sewage treatment plants and the timing of the job, according to MacKeigan.

The CBRM decided to go ahead with the project while trying to get the federal and provincial governments to cover the increased cost. MacKeigan said the GST rebate that was a part of last week’s federal budget will mean some savings on the project.

The general contractor is Joneljim Construction.