Mayor's Report - July 2008

Metro Vancouver’s New Drinking Water Filtration Plant

Mayor Ralph Drew

When Belcarra connects to Metro Vancouver’s water distribution system in the near future, Belcarra residents will obtain their drinking water from the Seymour Reservoir, and that water will be filtered by Metro Vancouver’s new drinking water filtration plant located in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR) in North Vancouver. The Seymour Filtration Plant, Canada’s largest filtration plant and the world’s largest UV disinfection plant, will cost $600 million when completed and is expected to be operational by the end of 2008.

The project required 480,000 m3 of earth to be excavated –– enough material to fill GM Place more than half-full of dirt –– and 90,000 m3 of concrete to be poured to construct the filtration plant –– enough concrete to build a sidewalk from the plant site all the way to Seattle, Washington.

The Seymour Filtration Plant will filter up to 1.8 billion litres of water per day. The filtration plant facilities, together with the adjacent clearwells (underground water storage reservoirs), the overflow pond and two stormwater ponds, will encompass a space of approximately 9 hectares (22 acres). When the project is completed, the construction site will be fully restored –– approximately 75% of the construction site will be replanted with native species.

How will the water filtration plant work? Water from the Seymour Reservoir, located approximately 11 kilometres north of the new filtration plant, will be piped via an existing 2.3-metre-diameter water main to the filtration plant. When water enters the filtration plant, it will be filtered, disinfected with ultraviolet (UV) light and chlorine, pH adjusted, temporarily stored in the clearwells, and finally delivered to residences via Metro Vancouver’s drinking water distribution system.

The facility is extensively automated, and required 3,600 control instruments to manage the water filtration and disinfection process. As a result, the filtration plant plant can be operated by as few as three people per shift. There also will be a crew of 6 or 7 personnel required to maintain the facility on a 40-hour-per-week basis.

In accordance with Metro Vancouver’s Sustainable Region Initiative, sustainable building and environmental technologies and practices are being used in this project which includes:

  • Protecting sensitive habitat, including nesting surveys prior to construction, to ensure minimal impact.
  • Using EcoSmartTM concrete that utilizes industrial by-products such as fly ash to reduce materials going to landfill and to reduce greenhouse gases related to cement production.
  • Managing stormwater by using best practices for reducing run-off.
  • Using green roof technologies for the roof of the clearwells and for the Filtration Plant Operations and Maintenance Centre.
  • Using ground source energy (geo-thermal) to heat and cool the entire facility.
  • Taking advantage of natural processes such as daylight and a natural ventilation system.
  • Recycling construction materials.
  • Managing traffic, including performing brake inspections on loaded trucks leaving the site, and improving signage and intersection control.
  • Reducing truck traffic by 75,000 trips through the reuse of excavated gravel from a nearby pit in the LSCR to minimize air quality impacts on North Vancouver roads.
  • Conserving energy and water.
  • Re-vegetating the site with native plant species when construction is complete.
  • Creating additional opportunities for recreation and education.

Belcarra residents can take comfort in knowing that their future domestic water will come from a state-of-the-art filtration and disinfection system.


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Village of Belcarra
4084 Bedwell Bay Road
Belcarra, BCCANADA
V3H 4P8

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