Buffalo Treatment Plant to see major upgrades
After almost 30 years, the Buffalo Water Treatment Plant will be receiving well needed upgrades.
The Government of Saskatchewan recently announced more than $20 million in federal-provincial funding to upgrade electrical systems at the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant. The remainder of the estimated $32.1 million project will be funded by the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corporation, which is owned by the cities of Regina and Moose Jaw.
Work involves replacing the plant’s aging electrical substation, improving the power supply and upgrading the raw water pumps to prevent future electrical failures. Once complete, this work will ensure the plant has a reliable and sustainable source of back-up power to minimize service interruptions and prevent drinking water advisories for the approximately 260,000 residents it serves.
“These vital upgrades to the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant will ensure residents of Regina and Moose Jaw have an uninterrupted supply of high-quality drinking water for years to come,” said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, on behalf of François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Government Relations Minister Warren Kaeding. “Canada’s investment in this project underlines our commitment to protecting public health and our quality of life, all while bolstering economic growth and a strong middle class.”
Ryan Johnson, Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corporation says the upgrade is welcomed because the fa- cility hasn’t been upgraded in 30 years. “The treatment plant is owned by the Cities of Regina and Moose Jaw. It is run under an independent Board of Directors as a non-profit corporation. The water treatment plant itself was commissioned back in 1955 and the last major work was done was 1989 when they expanded the plant. The treatment plant produces potable water for the Cities of Regina and Moose Jaw and we supply water to approximately 260,000 people in the region. So, for the most part, we’re the sole source of water for those communities that are on the system,” said Johnson. “Typically, a water treatment plant will undergo renovations every 20 or so years and we’re pretty much approaching the 30 year mark since the last time we’ve done major upgrades. We are near the end of life with our assets that can cause frequency in breaks. Over the last 5 years, we’ve seen an increase in maintenance and things we had to do to keep functioning. ”
Johnson said a business case was developed which identified what areas of the plant that need to be addressed immediately. “We started a business case in 2016, completed in 2017 and we found that we really needed to look at doing major work at the plant. We have done about 30 research projects on things at the plant that we know needs to be dealt with. What we don’t know is other things that haven’t failed yet or could fail soon because we haven’t looked at every aspect of the facility. With the business case, we looked at the problems that we know about. It identified that we needed to start doing something now and over the next 5 years.” He explained the next steps going forward. “What we’re doing now is going out in the market to find designing and construction teams to do work at the facility. We’ll choose up to three teams or groups of companies to shortlist to do some design work and we will choose the best design at a certain stage. Subsequently, we’ll decide if we’ll proceed with that design. We hope to select the teams by the end of this year and design will start in January. In late 2019, we’ll pick one of those teams to continue with the process. We should start seeing some construction in 2020. The whole process won’t be complete until about 2023. That’s our goal.”
The City of Moose Jaw welcomed the recent announcement. “This is tremendous news for Moose Jaw residents and all Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant customers,” Mayor Fraser Tolmie said. “The importance of a safe water supply can’t be over-stated, and we are grateful to the federal and provincial governments for their significant partnership stake in these crucial plant upgrades.”
“The Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corporation is extremely pleased with this funding announcement of financial support by the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan for the Electrical Capital Upgrades Project,” Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corporation Board Chair Dale Schoffer said. “These funds will be used to replace electrical infrastructure that has reached the end of its life and increases the reliability of the supply of potable water to the Cities of Regina and Moose Jaw and the Region we serve.”