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Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant gets another $55 million for upgrade

The City of Regina is now using its backup reservoirs and wells after a power failure shut down the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant’s lake pumping station. File / Global News

The Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corporation (BPWTC) has received approval from the cities of Regina and Moose Jaw to borrow up to an additional $55 million for construction of the renewed water treatment plant.

The renewal project will begin June 22 and it intends to ensure the plant meets standards of providing Regina and Moose Jaw with safe, reliable drinking water well into the future.

It is expected to finish by 2025.

“I am pleased today to announce that the Graham-AECON team can start the construction phase of the BPWTC Plant Renewal Project,” Ryan Johnson, CEO of BPWTC said.

Johnson said the plant was first built in 1955 and has been running successfully since then. The last major renewal was in 1989 when they expanded the plant.

“We don’t have a lot of redundancy,” Johnson said. “So if a process fails or breaks down, we don’t have the ability to bypass it to continue treating water.”

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He added that they want fix that redundancy, and they also have aged infrastructure which hasn’t been updated since 1989.

Dated technology, evolving regulatory requirements and operating systems with limited controls to address a poor and variable source of raw water are all challenges that are faced by the current plant, and will be addressed by the plant upgrades.

The renewed plant will:

  •  Help to prevent loss of water supply to the cities,
  •  Address the dated water treatment technologies,
  •  Enable the plant to meet environmental regulatory requirements,
  •  Enable the plant to meet OH&S requirements,
  •  Enable the plant to address regulatory requirements into the future,
  •  Increase the capacity of the plant to meet future demands, to 2050,
  •  Enable and support residential and economic growth in the region serviced by the Corporation,
  •  Enhance the plant’s environmental sustainability, by reducing its carbon footprint and implementing the use of renewable energy.

Johnson said that the renewal will give them better control of how they treat the water, produce it at least possible costs and make sure it is safe. He added that right now they are using the granular activated carbon process which is turned on for about seven months and then turned off every year.

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“We will have a better supply of water and we’ll be able to guarantee the water is not going to have production issues that could prevent us from supplying water to the cities,” he said.

The initial cost of the project was estimated at $252.8 million. The federal government announced it was investing $89.13 million back in June through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) and another $74.26 million was to be given by the Government of Saskatchewan.

The City of Regina also approved up to $60 million for the project.

Due to the pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine, inflation and other factors, the number rose to about $325.6 million. BPWTC then asked the cities of Regina and Moose jaw to approve $55 million more in financing.

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