The coastal town of St. Andrews in southwest New Brunswick has upgraded its wastewater treatment plant to meet environmental standards, improve the quality of life for residents, and create capacity for growth.

To minimize costs and the environmental impact of construction, the town chose to deepen and line one of its two treatment ponds, introduce aeration and UV disinfection systems and install a monitoring and control system. The upgrade has reduced key pollutants by 85 to 90 percent and eliminated the need to treat effluent with chlorine. The new system also minimizes the chance of releasing untreated effluent into Passamaquoddy Bay.

The upgraded water treatment system has reduced health risks, cut noise pollution and minimized offensive odours. The additional treatment capacity has also made it possible for St. Andrews to plan for long-term sustainable economic development.

Results

Environmental Economic Social
  • Reduced levels of bacteria, suspended solids and trace chlorine in effluent.
  • Reduced the chance of untreated effluent discharges during power outages.
  • Upgrade saves on mainte­nance and repair costs and cuts energy use.
  • Construction provided a boost for local businesses.
  • Increased capacity will allow growth and sustainable development.
  • The project improved quality of life by reducing health risks, cutting noise pollution and minimizing odours.
  • The upgrade made working conditions for municipal employees safer.

Challenges

  • Quotes for the project came in about 15 percent over budget. The town sought additional funding and accepted design changes that cut costs without jeopardizing key objectives. Town planners advise other communities to prepare a budget with a 25 percent allowance for contingencies.
  • Additional budget issues arose once the project was underway. The contractor had to remove more sludge than expected and an unusually cool wet spring caused delays.

Lessons learned

  • Do your own research. Small municipalities may rely heavily on consultants but it is important to find out about new technologies and to contact organizations with experiences to share.
  • Envision and plan for the worst-case scenario. Build financial and scheduling flexibility into your plan.  
  • Keep residents informed. Start early with public meetings to explain the project and its benefits.  
  • Schedule regular meetings between the contractor, consultant and municipality. Continuous communication will help you foresee and address issues.

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Tim Henderson
Chief Administrative Officer/Town Clerk
Town of St. Andrews, N.B. 
T. 506-529-5120

© 2020 Federation of Canadian Municipalities