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Case study: St. Andrews revitalizes community after wastewater plant upgrades

Project overview

The Town of St. Andrews, NB, upgraded its wastewater treatment plant to meet environmental standards, improve quality of life for residents and create capacity for growth. To increase capacity while minimizing costs and the environmental impact of construction, the town chose to make one of its two existing facultative treatment ponds deeper and add a lining to the pond, rather than build a new pond. The town also introduced submerged aeration and UV disinfection systems and installed a monitoring and control system. The upgrades are part of a broader, ongoing wastewater plan that includes separating the town's storm sewer connections from its sanitary collection system and encouraging citizens to remove foundation drains from their sanitary sewer service lines. 

Figure depicting the  Town of St. Andrews, NB , wastewater project timeline.  Figures depicting the population served by Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative and its budget.  Figure depicting the improvement in water quality resulting from the Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative.

Reasons for the project

  • The town needed to increase the capacity of its wastewater treatment plant to allow for growth.
  • Some equipment was reaching the end of its service life.
  • The system was not in compliance with Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations and standards set by the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government.

Innovative aspects of the project

  • The upgrades will lead to significant improvements in the watershed and allow the community to grow in a sustainable manner.

Best practices and key lessons

The municipality's experience with this project demonstrates some best practices and key lessons that can inform similar projects.

Engage early and broadly

  • The town met with the provincial Department of Environment and Local Government early on to gain support, expedite the permitting process and learn from its expertise.
  • During the scoping stage, the town engaged with local residents to explain the project and its benefits and obtain feedback. The town ended up modifying the design to address residents' concerns.
  • For a small municipality, obtaining community buy-in and support is particularly important when a project involves borrowing funds or increasing user fees to pay for upgrades.

Conduct background research

  • As a smaller community, it was important that the town do its own research, rather than simply rely on a consultant, in order to explore a full range of options and make the best choices for the community. The research helped the town identify new technologies, estimate costs and learn from other municipalities' experiences.

Include contingencies in the project budget to avoid schedule delays

  • The project was delayed because of weather, contractor delays and cost overruns.
  • The bids received by the town were significantly higher than anticipated in the project budget (close to $4 million compared to the budget of $3 million). This was compounded by the fact that the project had been pre-approved by the Building Canada Fund for funding that would cover two-thirds of the original (lower) budget. The town was responsible for all the additional costs, which would have doubled its financial contribution to the project. To move forward, the town worked with the contractor and a design consultant to modify the project design and schedule, reducing costs without sacrificing the integrity of the project.

View of lagoons for Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater treatment facility.
View of lagoons for Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater treatment facility. (Credit: Town of St. Andrews)

Project benefits

This project yielded a number of environmental, social and economic benefits. 

Environmental benefits

  • Decreased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions: The plant upgrades have yielded a 26 per cent reduction in annual power consumption.
  • Improved effluent quality: Water quality now meets regulatory standards.
  • Reduced chemical residuals: With the introduction of ultraviolet disinfection, water discharges are now cleaner.
  • Protected biodiversity and ecosystem: The quality of the discharge has improved, benefitting the surrounding ecosystem and leading to greater aquatic health.
  • Decreased noise pollution: The previous mechanical aerators created an extremely loud howling sound that disturbed neighbours and people in the nearby campground. Replacement of this system has reduced noise pollution in the community.
  • Decreased odour pollution: The improvements to the treatment process have eliminated the odours perceived by local residents and pedestrians.

Social benefits

  • Protection of public health: The quality of the discharge has improved, benefitting the natural environment and, in turn, improving human health.
  • Improved staff health and safety: The upgraded wastewater treatment plant meets health and safety regulations, creating safer working conditions for municipal staff.
  • Community beautification: The project improved the aesthetics of the treatment site by making the facility more compatible with its surroundings.
  • Improved service delivery: The upgraded plant has a greater water treatment capacity.

Economic benefits

  • Decreased operating costs: The plant's upgraded technology is more efficient, reducing operating costs.
  • Decreased maintenance costs: The new equipment will be less likely to break down, resulting in less downtime and reduced maintenance costs.
  • Increased potential to attract new residents and businesses: The increased wastewater treatment capacity will allow the town to attract new growth and support sustainable development.
  • Local business development: The improved effluent water quality may contribute to the return of shellfish harvesting in the local area, which has been suspended for many years due to poor water quality in the Chamcook Lake and the larger Passamaquoddy Bay. In addition, increased presence of larger marine life, such as sea birds and whales, will attract visitors and may represent a source of income for local tour boat operators.


Pie chart depicting the funding breakdown for the Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative.

Technical highlights

This project was a new facility. Technical highlights are current as of 2013.

Municipal population: 1,889

Urban/rural: rural

Treatment: Aerated lagoon

Disinfection

  • Before: None
  • After: UV disinfection system — 136CFU/100 ml

Biosolids management: Ponds dredged periodically

Annual average daily flow (AADF)

  • Before: 2.1 MLD (million litres per day)
  • After: 2.5 MLD

Design capacity

  • Before: 1.3 MLD
  • After: 2.1 MLD (9.2 MLD is what the system could handle if the recorded influent data were used as a model)

Per cent of total capacity used for AADF

  • Before: 161 per cent 
  • After: 104 per cent 

Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)

  • Before: 17 mg/L
  • After: 8.2 mg/L

Project contact information

Chris Spear
Treasurer/Deputy Clerk
Town of St. Andrews, NB
T. 506-529-5250

Dan Bartlett
Water & Sewer Technician
Town of St. Andrews, NB
T. 506-529-5255

Case study: St. Andrews revitalizes community after wastewater plant upgrades

Project overview

The Town of St. Andrews, NB, upgraded its wastewater treatment plant to meet environmental standards, improve quality of life for residents and create capacity for growth. To increase capacity while minimizing costs and the environmental impact of construction, the town chose to make one of its two existing facultative treatment ponds deeper and add a lining to the pond, rather than build a new pond. The town also introduced submerged aeration and UV disinfection systems and installed a monitoring and control system. The upgrades are part of a broader, ongoing wastewater plan that includes separating the town's storm sewer connections from its sanitary collection system and encouraging citizens to remove foundation drains from their sanitary sewer service lines. 

Figure depicting the  Town of St. Andrews, NB , wastewater project timeline.  Figures depicting the population served by Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative and its budget.  Figure depicting the improvement in water quality resulting from the Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative.

Reasons for the project

  • The town needed to increase the capacity of its wastewater treatment plant to allow for growth.
  • Some equipment was reaching the end of its service life.
  • The system was not in compliance with Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations and standards set by the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government.

Innovative aspects of the project

  • The upgrades will lead to significant improvements in the watershed and allow the community to grow in a sustainable manner.

Best practices and key lessons

The municipality's experience with this project demonstrates some best practices and key lessons that can inform similar projects.

Engage early and broadly

  • The town met with the provincial Department of Environment and Local Government early on to gain support, expedite the permitting process and learn from its expertise.
  • During the scoping stage, the town engaged with local residents to explain the project and its benefits and obtain feedback. The town ended up modifying the design to address residents' concerns.
  • For a small municipality, obtaining community buy-in and support is particularly important when a project involves borrowing funds or increasing user fees to pay for upgrades.

Conduct background research

  • As a smaller community, it was important that the town do its own research, rather than simply rely on a consultant, in order to explore a full range of options and make the best choices for the community. The research helped the town identify new technologies, estimate costs and learn from other municipalities' experiences.

Include contingencies in the project budget to avoid schedule delays

  • The project was delayed because of weather, contractor delays and cost overruns.
  • The bids received by the town were significantly higher than anticipated in the project budget (close to $4 million compared to the budget of $3 million). This was compounded by the fact that the project had been pre-approved by the Building Canada Fund for funding that would cover two-thirds of the original (lower) budget. The town was responsible for all the additional costs, which would have doubled its financial contribution to the project. To move forward, the town worked with the contractor and a design consultant to modify the project design and schedule, reducing costs without sacrificing the integrity of the project.

View of lagoons for Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater treatment facility.
View of lagoons for Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater treatment facility. (Credit: Town of St. Andrews)

Project benefits

This project yielded a number of environmental, social and economic benefits. 

Environmental benefits

  • Decreased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions: The plant upgrades have yielded a 26 per cent reduction in annual power consumption.
  • Improved effluent quality: Water quality now meets regulatory standards.
  • Reduced chemical residuals: With the introduction of ultraviolet disinfection, water discharges are now cleaner.
  • Protected biodiversity and ecosystem: The quality of the discharge has improved, benefitting the surrounding ecosystem and leading to greater aquatic health.
  • Decreased noise pollution: The previous mechanical aerators created an extremely loud howling sound that disturbed neighbours and people in the nearby campground. Replacement of this system has reduced noise pollution in the community.
  • Decreased odour pollution: The improvements to the treatment process have eliminated the odours perceived by local residents and pedestrians.

Social benefits

  • Protection of public health: The quality of the discharge has improved, benefitting the natural environment and, in turn, improving human health.
  • Improved staff health and safety: The upgraded wastewater treatment plant meets health and safety regulations, creating safer working conditions for municipal staff.
  • Community beautification: The project improved the aesthetics of the treatment site by making the facility more compatible with its surroundings.
  • Improved service delivery: The upgraded plant has a greater water treatment capacity.

Economic benefits

  • Decreased operating costs: The plant's upgraded technology is more efficient, reducing operating costs.
  • Decreased maintenance costs: The new equipment will be less likely to break down, resulting in less downtime and reduced maintenance costs.
  • Increased potential to attract new residents and businesses: The increased wastewater treatment capacity will allow the town to attract new growth and support sustainable development.
  • Local business development: The improved effluent water quality may contribute to the return of shellfish harvesting in the local area, which has been suspended for many years due to poor water quality in the Chamcook Lake and the larger Passamaquoddy Bay. In addition, increased presence of larger marine life, such as sea birds and whales, will attract visitors and may represent a source of income for local tour boat operators.


Pie chart depicting the funding breakdown for the Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative.

Technical highlights

This project was a new facility. Technical highlights are current as of 2013.

Municipal population: 1,889

Urban/rural: rural

Treatment: Aerated lagoon

Disinfection

  • Before: None
  • After: UV disinfection system — 136CFU/100 ml

Biosolids management: Ponds dredged periodically

Annual average daily flow (AADF)

  • Before: 2.1 MLD (million litres per day)
  • After: 2.5 MLD

Design capacity

  • Before: 1.3 MLD
  • After: 2.1 MLD (9.2 MLD is what the system could handle if the recorded influent data were used as a model)

Per cent of total capacity used for AADF

  • Before: 161 per cent 
  • After: 104 per cent 

Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)

  • Before: 17 mg/L
  • After: 8.2 mg/L

Project contact information

Chris Spear
Treasurer/Deputy Clerk
Town of St. Andrews, NB
T. 506-529-5250

Dan Bartlett
Water & Sewer Technician
Town of St. Andrews, NB
T. 506-529-5255

Webinar recording: Opportunities and best practices in climate change action

Are you an elected official looking for a clear understanding of why your municipality should focus on climate change? Are you wondering how and where to start? 

This introductory webinar explores how Canada's climate is changing and the challenges and opportunities this creates for municipalities. Learn ways you can champion climate change action in your community and how you can gain support for climate related initiatives from internal and external stakeholders. 

Discover how Leduc, AB is adapting to climate change impacts and how they gained support to develop their Weather and Climate Readiness Action Plan. Hear about the steps Oxford County, ON took to gain support from their council for a resolution that would move them to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

This webinar is intended for elected officials from Canadian communities of all sizes.

What you will learn:

  • Understand the challenges that climate change represents for municipalities
  • Recognize the benefits of taking action on climate change in your municipality
  • Learn ways to get support for climate related initiatives from internal and external stakeholders

Speakers:

  • Bob Young, Mayor, Leduc, AB
  • Trevor Birtch, Mayor, Woodstock, ON

Read the transcript

 

Webinar recording: How to build partnerships to help revitalize your brownfields

Learn from the City of Nanaimo's experience in reviving its downtown and waterfront

Downtown waterfronts are at the heart of many Canadian communities. For many, waterfronts were once bustling engines of a past industrial economy; some now sit vacant — void of the productivity that once supported their communities. Often derelict and sometimes contaminated, these brownfield sites create barriers between citizens and their waterfronts — and there are often challenges for redeveloping these sites. 

Watch this webinar to find out how municipalities can work through partnerships to move beyond these barriers. Speakers will describe how partnerships have been central to efforts in the City of Nanaimo, BC, in reconnecting its shoreline and downtown communities. Since 2000, the city has collaborated with local businesses, property owners, the Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Government of Canada and the Province of BC. FCM's Green Municipal Fund has supported Nanaimo's brownfield redevelopment strategy to help guide this progress.

You'll learn:

  • How visioning and planning has set Nanaimo's course toward implementing successful brownfield redevelopment initiatives
  • How strong partnerships with stakeholders are vital to brownfield redevelopment
  • How the city set its risk tolerance in acquiring a contaminated site  

Speakers

  • Bill Corsan, Manager, Real Estate — City of Nanaimo, BC
  • Darren Moss, Chair of Planning, Design & Development Committee — Downtown Nanaimo BIA, and Professional Engineer, Tectonica

Request this resource

Would you like to receive this resource by email? Contact us today. In your request, please include the full name of the resource.

Webinar recording: Opportunities and best practices in climate change action

Are you an elected official looking for a clear understanding of why your municipality should focus on climate change? Are you wondering how and where to start? 

This introductory webinar explores how Canada's climate is changing and the challenges and opportunities this creates for municipalities. Learn ways you can champion climate change action in your community and how you can gain support for climate related initiatives from internal and external stakeholders. 

Discover how Leduc, AB is adapting to climate change impacts and how they gained support to develop their Weather and Climate Readiness Action Plan. Hear about the steps Oxford County, ON took to gain support from their council for a resolution that would move them to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

This webinar is intended for elected officials from Canadian communities of all sizes.

What you will learn:

  • Understand the challenges that climate change represents for municipalities
  • Recognize the benefits of taking action on climate change in your municipality
  • Learn ways to get support for climate related initiatives from internal and external stakeholders

Speakers:

  • Bob Young, Mayor, Leduc, AB
  • Trevor Birtch, Mayor, Woodstock, ON

Read the transcript

 

Case study: Saint John explores options for district energy system

Feasibility Study for a Green Thermal Utility (GTU) District Heating and Cooling Loop in Downtown Saint John

City of Saint John

The City of Saint John studied the feasibility of a district energy system to serve buildings in the downtown area. These systems distribute thermal energy from a central facility to heat and cool multiple buildings.

Saint John's study examined various energy options including raw sewage heat recovery from the nearby waste water treatment plant and energy recovery from  Saint John Harbour seawater and industrial waste. In the end, the recommended approach was to use waste energy from the nearby Irving pulp and paper mill. Initially, 15 buildings would be connected. The district energy system would reduce energy costs, greenhouse-gas emissions and the city's fossil-fuel dependency. It would also encourage the development of green buildings in the heart of the city.

Results

Environmental Economic Social
  • GHG emissions reduced by 9,500 tonnes per year
  • Reduced reliance on fossil fuels
  • Annual energy savings of $2.2 million
  • Six full-time operations jobs and 200 construction jobs
  • Green development revitalizes the downtown core
  • Building residents enjoy the lack of boilers, furnaces and other equipment

Challenges

  • The lack of a project champion in city government and limited city staffing capacity to oversee the study.
  • Limited understanding of the potential of a district energy system among property managers and owners.
  • Financial constraints at the city, which put the district energy system project on hold in 2011.

Lessons learned

  • Visit district energy sites in other municipalities and consult with managers, designers and developers to clearly understand the potential of these systems.
  • Develop a master community energy plan to list local energy sources, buildings and future infrastructure projects before undertaking this kind of study.
  • Consult early and often with the public and local developers and property managers throughout the project.

Resources

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Samir Yammine
Energy Manager
City of Saint John, NB
T. 506-648-4667

Case study: Saint John explores options for district energy system

Feasibility Study for a Green Thermal Utility (GTU) District Heating and Cooling Loop in Downtown Saint John

City of Saint John

The City of Saint John studied the feasibility of a district energy system to serve buildings in the downtown area. These systems distribute thermal energy from a central facility to heat and cool multiple buildings.

Saint John's study examined various energy options including raw sewage heat recovery from the nearby waste water treatment plant and energy recovery from  Saint John Harbour seawater and industrial waste. In the end, the recommended approach was to use waste energy from the nearby Irving pulp and paper mill. Initially, 15 buildings would be connected. The district energy system would reduce energy costs, greenhouse-gas emissions and the city's fossil-fuel dependency. It would also encourage the development of green buildings in the heart of the city.

Results

Environmental Economic Social
  • GHG emissions reduced by 9,500 tonnes per year
  • Reduced reliance on fossil fuels
  • Annual energy savings of $2.2 million
  • Six full-time operations jobs and 200 construction jobs
  • Green development revitalizes the downtown core
  • Building residents enjoy the lack of boilers, furnaces and other equipment

Challenges

  • The lack of a project champion in city government and limited city staffing capacity to oversee the study.
  • Limited understanding of the potential of a district energy system among property managers and owners.
  • Financial constraints at the city, which put the district energy system project on hold in 2011.

Lessons learned

  • Visit district energy sites in other municipalities and consult with managers, designers and developers to clearly understand the potential of these systems.
  • Develop a master community energy plan to list local energy sources, buildings and future infrastructure projects before undertaking this kind of study.
  • Consult early and often with the public and local developers and property managers throughout the project.

Resources

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Samir Yammine
Energy Manager
City of Saint John, NB
T. 506-648-4667

City-led economic development and entrepreneurship: The story of Mr. Ngan

City-led economic development and entrepreneurship: The story of Mr. NganThis article is part of a series written to highlight some of the success stories from FCM’s Municipal Partners for Economic Development (MPED) program. MPED projects seeks to improve local governance and economic policy development around the world while, at the same time, emphasizing the importance of gender equality and environmental sustainability. From 2011 to 2014, the Township of Langley, Canada, worked with the City of Hà T˜ınh, Vietnam, to support and improve local economic development (LED) in Hà T˜ınh.

Download the document

 

City-led economic development and entrepreneurship: The story of Mr. Ngan

City-led economic development and entrepreneurship: The story of Mr. NganThis article is part of a series written to highlight some of the success stories from FCM’s Municipal Partners for Economic Development (MPED) program. MPED projects seeks to improve local governance and economic policy development around the world while, at the same time, emphasizing the importance of gender equality and environmental sustainability. From 2011 to 2014, the Township of Langley, Canada, worked with the City of Hà T˜ınh, Vietnam, to support and improve local economic development (LED) in Hà T˜ınh.

Download the document

 

Statement by Mayor Gregor Robertson, Chair of Big City Mayors’ Caucus’ Task Force on the Opioid Crisis on the meeting of the FPT Health Ministers

"The opioid overdose crisis is having a devastating impact on Canadian families and communities, with thousands of lives lost to preventable causes. It's also taking a heavy toll on our cities' first responders, front-line workers and community volunteers, who are working around the clock to save lives.  

"Canada's cities are the front lines of the overdose crisis, where the death toll is spiking due to the gaps in addictions treatment and care. Convening a ministers' meeting without bringing mayors to the table is another missed opportunity to bring all orders of government together. We need to join forces to effectively tackle this crisis, and identify specific actions to connect people to the health services and supportive housing they need to end this tragic epidemic.

"Despite some progress on opening harm reduction services and improving data and reporting, this overdose crisis is escalating. We've seen almost no national progress to improve access to treatment, minimal awareness and education campaigns, and there are no established timelines or evidence-based targets to end opioid overdoses and deaths, as recommended by the Mayors' Task Force earlier this year.

"We urgently need a co-ordinated, pan-Canadian response led by the federal government - that sets clear targets and timelines for solving the overdose crisis, sharing information, and coordinating action across all orders of government. Canada must build and track evidence-based solutions and ensure that federal dollars urgently save lives through the Four Pillars - treatment, education, harm reduction and enforcement."  

The Mayors' Task Force on the Opioid Crisis convenes mayors of 13 cities: Vancouver, Surrey, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, London, Kitchener, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The Task Force was launched on February 3, 2017, by the Big-City Mayors' Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Read the full report here

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