January 31, 2005

Ottawa, Kingston sign $25M accord for upgrading of treatment plant

The federal government and the city of Kingston, Ontario have signed a $25-million contribution agreement which will fund an upgrading of the city's Ravensview Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) from primary to secondary treatment in order to improve the plant's capacity and the quality of wastewater. Ottawa has committed up to $25 million through its Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF), while Kingston will dedicate up to $55 million for these and related necessary improvements at the facility. The total estimate cost of the upgrading project is $80 million, and the city is hoping the provincial government will chip in.

"The support of the government of Canada is, without a doubt, a most significant one, without which we could not even begin to undertake this reconstruction," said Kingston Mayor Harvey Rosen. "However, we are looking to Queen's Park for the third and final piece of this partnership. I know that [Municipal Affairs and Housing] Minister [John] Gerretsen is taking up this challenge on behalf of the province and the citizens of Kingston," he added.

Although short-term improvements to the Ravensview WPCP were made in 1992, a subsequent environmental assessment study report confirmed that other upgrades and system improvements were necessary to keep the plant operating at optimum levels and to protect water users. Upgrading the plant to secondary treatment will not help protect public health and improve overall water quality in the Great Lakes. The improvements will also help ensure compliance with Ontario Ministry of Environment surface water quality guidelines, which have a direct impact on the WPCP's day-to-day operations. The project will promote further economic development in the area as well by allowing construction of more commercial and industrial parks.

Immediate results of secondary treatment installation will include the reduction of effluent biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS). The upgrade will also improve nutrient removal in the discharge effluent and will enhance energy efficiency at the facility.

The project is now in the preliminary engineering design phase. Construction is expected to begin in March 2006, with completion expected in 2010.

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