West Pubnico Sewer Treatment Plant Upgrade

Sewage-treatment facility

To cut pollution threatening fish and groundwater, the Municipality of the District of Argyle updated sewage-treatment facilities in the seaside village of West Pubnico with screens and ultraviolet light that disinfects effluent before releasing it into Lobster Bay.

The upgrades will allow the municipality to expand its sewer system to homes with septic tanks - a move that had been delayed because the 30-year-old plant's chlorine-disinfection chambers could no longer consistently clean wastewater to comply with anti-pollution standards.

The improvements clear the way for more sewer lines, reducing the risk that groundwater contamination from septic tanks will make drinking water unsafe. Plant updates include a wastewater heating system that will lower plant energy costs, as well as a sludge-drying process that will make sewage solids less costly to truck away.   

Results

Environmental Economic Social
  • 400,000 litres of ocean-bound effluent disinfected each day
  • Wastewater heat-exchange system cuts energy consumption, GHG emissions
  • $50,000 annual saving in sludge trucking costs
  • Lower energy costs thanks to heat exchanger
  • Lower maintenance costs with new system
  • Plant will accommodate more sewage, cutting need for homeowner septic tanks
  • Retrofit protects a fishery that residents depend on for their livelihood

Challenges

  • Finding a way to lower high sludge-disposal costs.
  • Meeting provincial disinfectant standards for ocean-discharged wastewater.
  • Keeping the ocean free of sewage that would endanger fishing and processing jobs.

Lessons learned

  • Conduct rigorous evaluations to prevent equipment cost surprises.
  • Be prepared to eliminate less-essential project features to stay within budget.
  • Using sewer wastewater for heat can cut costs and  may align with eligibility criteria for green infrastructure grants.  

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Alain Muise
Chief Administrative Officer
Municipality of the District of Argyle, NS
T. 902-648-3293

2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities