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2002 Wastewater — Co-winner 3

Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia

Computerized Data Acquisition and Control System

Population: 2,000,000

Although many municipal governments use computerized data acquisition and control (CDAC) systems in wastewater collection and treatment systems, the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) has adopted the technology for a new use. Utilizing the programmable features of the CDAC systems that were installed at two of its wastewater treatment plants, the GVRD has achieved impressive energy and chemical cost savings estimated at $550,000 annually. For example, at both facilities, lighting systems were programmed using the CDAC system to operate according to occupancy and light level requirements, saving $50,000 in energy costs per year.


The Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) is made up of 21 member municipalities and provides air, water, wastewater and solid waste services, in addition to other regional services, such as air quality monitoring, parks, housing and regional planning. The GVRD provides regional wastewater collection and treatment service to 17 municipalities and one electoral area for a total service population of two million people.

In 1996, GVRD member municipalities endorsed the "livable region strategic plan," a regional growth strategy that formed part of its sustainable region initiative. The CDAC system supports the vision of the GVRD's wastewater treatment plant division to be "the safest, best run, most efficient, and innovative wastewater treatment utility in Canada." The CDAC system also brings the division into line with the directions set out in the GVRD's liquid waste management plan and the current sustainable region initiative.


  • Reduction in electricity demand has led to annual savings of $50,000.
  • Annual electricity energy savings of over 10 million kWh have led to annual savings of over $300,000.
  • 9,000 kilograms of polymer are saved per year, which amounts to $46,000 in chemical savings.
  • $2,000 is saved in natural gas per heating day.
  • There has been a daily reduction of over 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted.

Lessons Learned

  • Educating and informing people about the system takes time and patience, but it was well worth it. "The only thing more important than the tools used is the quality of people using them," said Mr. Palsenbarg. "The accomplishments so far demonstrate that staff will strive for and succeed if fully supported and encouraged by all levels in the organization."
  • The system's standards and integrity must be protected, particularly when bringing in new equipment or when changes to the existing controls are necessary.
  • Better documentation early on would have helped in the initial stages of installing the system and would also have helped the operators better understand the changes involved.



  • Local gas and utility companies


  • Information Technology department
  • Operations and Maintenance department
  • Engineering department
Page Updated: 21/12/2015