Town awards $930,000 contract for wastewater treatment plant

ERIN – Town council here has awarded another contract for consultation work on the municipality’s proposed wastewater treatment plant.

In a unanimous vote on May 18, council approved a motion to accept the WSP Canada Group Limited bid of $936,125 for the construction engineering portion of the wastewater treatment plant contract.

“As we are getting close to issuing for the tender of the construction … staff feel it is time to award this portion of the consulting contract,” states a staff report presented to council.

Tuesday’s decision brings the pre-construction total committed to the project to almost $7 million.

Town officials say that as of May 7, the total amount actually spent on the project is $577,000, which includes consultant, engineering and legal fees.

A year ago council awarded the RFP for the plant and outfall design to WSP in the amount of $1,533,553. The construction phase of engineering fees – valued at $936,125 and included in the same contract as the plant and outfall design – was not awarded at that time.

Last month council awarded to WSP the contract for design of the trunk sanitary sewers, pumping stations and plant infrastructure, in the amount of $4.4 million.

Town officials have stated they expect the entire project to cost about $126 million, but taking contributions from developers into account, the town’s portion will be closer to $22 to $32 million.

On Tuesday councillor John Brennan urged the application of foresight in the design even though the science and engineering presented to council shows the potential temperature of effluent coming from the plant won’t be a problem.

“One of the factors that’s also being cited is the climate change and the impact that climate change might have,” he said.

“At some future point what we’re looking at now may be good enough for now, but it might not be good enough somewhere down the road.”

Brennan added, “What I’d like to make sure that we have in the back of our minds as we go forward with this, is making an accommodation where if we have to apply a fix at a future date, it becomes easier to do.

“Let’s try, if we can, to really rough in something so that should a fix become necessary at some point in the future, it can be more or less easily applied instead of having to go back and say okay now it’s a major thing.”

Nick Colucci, the town’s director of infrastructure services, said the plant is being constructed in a modular manner to allow room for additional items or requirements if needed.

“During the design process we looked at many aspects to ensure that those concerns are already addressed,” Colucci explained.

“So, things like not having above-ground tanks or partially buried tanks, ensuring that there’s a lot of shading over the tanks so it doesn’t heat up the effluent.”

He continued, “Climate change is looked at in every aspect of designs that engineers do, but we don’t know what the effect of climate change is in 20 years and neither does anyone else so we can’t really plan for that, but we can plan in general for climate change effects on the effluent.”

Councillor Michael Robins also brought up concerns surrounding risk management, asking if the project factors in risks “beyond the things that are in control of the engineers.”

He noted, “For instance, on May 26 federal government is going to opine on this project; what do we do in the event that there’s impediments? How do we respond to these things?

“What are the implications in terms of delays? What about sources of money? Do we have to give money back?”

Robins asked if WSP is “going to be delivering a risk management plan as part of their deliverables in this contract.”

Colucci noted the first deliverables WSP provided is a risk matrix looking at both design and construction, including environment-related risks.

“So, the risk of the contractor not being able to get part of the equipment or the contractor maybe having flooding,” he explained.

“All those things will be looked at during the construction stage.”

Responding to Robins’ question about federal review, Colucci explained it’s a risk the town didn’t have at the beginning.

“A bump up by the federal approval agency will be a risk and it will delay the approval, but we will have to go through that environmental assessment on top of what we’ve already done,” said Colucci.

“The risk is there but we have all the data that would be required if there was a federal assessment, so it’s a matter the team together and getting them to submit the data.”