We use water in many ways, both at home and in commercial or industrial operations. This water becomes “wastewater” once it has been used, whether for washing dishes or clothes, flushing a toilet, or as part of a manufacturing process.
The Town of Gibsons operates and maintains a network of trunk sewers, pumping lift stations and a wastewater treatment plant that connects the Town’s sewer systems. Together, these infrastructure assets enable the Town to responsibly treat the wastewater created by our community.
Gibsons’ Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) was commissioned in 2005. Since then, the Town has consistently invested in upgrades and optimizations at the plant to ensure the best possible effluent discharge that exceeds permit requirements and minimizes odour.
For a detailed description of how the Town’s wastewater is treated before being discharged into the ocean, please click here.
Odor Control Update (September 2021)
During spring/summer 2021, we received many odour complaints from residents living close to the WWTP.
Several factors contributed to the increased smell during these months, including higher than normal outdoor temperatures, and weather inversions, which pushed odours down into Lower Gibsons instead of allowing them to disperse into the atmosphere.
We do take odour complaints seriously and have taken a number of steps in recent weeks to help alleviate the problem. These include:
- Ordering new diffuser membranes to increase the airflow and oxygen to the aerobic digesters. We expect to replace the diffusers in November 2021;
- Working with a Polymer supplier to optimize the activated sludge dewatering process; and
- Hiring a consultant with experience in wastewater treatment plant odour issues to help us identify other changes that may help alleviate unpleasant smells.
In collaboration with the consultant, we expect to have identified the cause of the odours and to have developed a clear path forward re: solutions to the issue by the end of 2021.
We also intend to order new biofilter media early in 2022, as the existing media does not seem to be absorbing odours effectively.
In the meantime, we ask our neighbours to continue to let us know when you notice strong odours originating at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, as this helps us identify links between activities at the plant and unpleasant smells. You can report strong odours by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 604.886.2274.
Thanks for your help and ongoing patience as we work to solve this issue.
Investing in Our Infrastructure
In 2019, a number of optimization and upgrades were completed at the facility, including the construction of an equalization tank, a chemical addition building and a chemical delivery system. Budgeted at $2.1 million, the upgrades were required so that the Town may continue to meet our Provincial permitting requirements to discharge treated effluent into the ocean, and to ensure the plant continues to run as efficiently as possible.
In fall 2020, the crew at the Wastewater Treatment Plant conducted comprehensive maintenance work on the process tank in one of two Sequencing Batch Reactors (SBR 1). This is a major component of our treatment process which breaks down and removes the ammonia and solid concentrations from our wastewater.
The much-needed maintenance involved cleaning the tank, repairing broken piping, tightening couplings, and replacing 660 membrane diffusers, and will enable the Town to deliver even better wastewater treatment.
For a full report on the work that was undertaken in September 2020, as well as lessons learned from the maintenance initiative undertaken in 2019, please click here.