The City of Charlottetown has completed the Spring Park Combined Sewer Separation Project. This monumental project, which began in 2012, is the final piece to separating the Capital City’s storm water and sanitary sewer system lines.
"This project resolves many of the operational and environmental issues associated with combined sewer overflows and essentially, is the final step required to clean up the Charlottetown harbour and protect the shellfish industry," said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. "I want to recognize and thank Councillor Edward Rice for his dedication and commitment to this project. He, along with Water and Sewer Utility Department staff, have spent six years working on the separation of these systems beginning with upgrades to the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant and the separation of the Brighton Combined Sewer."
The Spring Park Sewer Separation project was completed in eight tender packages, over five construction seasons from 2012 to 2016. Six of the tender packages involved the installation of a new gravity sewer main. One package involved the installation of new a pressure sewer and another included a new sewage pumping station in Desbrisay Park, along with upgrades to the existing Brighton pumping station. In total, there has been more than 12,000 meters of new gravity sewer installed, ranging in size from 200 millimetres in diameter to 600mm in diameter, including more than 500 new service laterals and 2,500 meters of 300mm and 350mm diameter pressure sewer.
The multi-year project was funded by all three levels of government for a total cost of approximately $18 million. The Government of Canada’s contribution of $3 million was through the Federal Gas Tax Fund.
"Completing this project would have been next to impossible without the financial support of the Provincial and Federal government," said Councillor Edward Rice, Chair of the Water and Sewer Utility Committee. "The real key to the success of this project was the public’s understanding and cooperation as the work was being carried out. We wish to thank the public for their ongoing support of the Utility. This necessary project required immense patience and cooperation from residents, visitors, contractors and staff – all of whom I personally want to extend a heartfelt thank-you."
This concept of combined sewers, although not considered an acceptable practice by today’s standards, was recognized throughout North America as a practical method to economically service rapidly growing communities in the 1950’s and 60’s. The City of Charlottetown, like many of the communities practicing this method of service at the time, soon learned that this practice was troublesome.
Prior to the separation project, the combined sewers in Charlottetown would collect sewage from residential, commercial and industrial properties and flow to the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant for treatment before being discharged into the environment. When it rained heavily or there was a lot of snowmelt, the precipitation would mix with untreated effluent, exceeding the capacity of the combined sewers and resulting in overflows of untreated sewage to the Hillsborough Harbour. Extreme rainfall events caused surcharging, backups and flooding in areas serviced by the combined system.
With the completion of the six-phase Spring Park Combined Sewer Separation Project, the City of Charlottetown no longer has any combined sewer systems, which will greatly reduce the chance of bypass events in the Capital City.
"The completion of the Spring Park Sewer Separation Project is a great example of how the federal Gas Tax Funds supports infrastructure work that ensures safe and healthy communities for the middle class. Through the federal Gas Tax Fund, the Government of Canada encourages communities in Prince Edward Island, and all across Canada, to make informed decisions about their infrastructure investments and how best to spend federal dollars," said MP Sean Casey, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
"The Government of Prince Edward Island is pleased to partner with the federal government and the City of Charlottetown to support key infrastructure projects that contribute to economic growth, protect the environment and improve the quality of life for residents. This project will benefit present and future generations of Islanders," said Honourable Paula Biggar, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy.
Attached below is a history of the project.
Photo cutline: Councillor Edward Rice, Chair of the City’s Water and Sewer Utility Department and Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee turn off the Navy Quay regulator completing the combined sewer separation project.
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