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Protecting the Bow: Rebuilding Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant

A sewage plant is not typically high on the list of things that make Calgarians proud of their city, but it should be. The Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant preserves the health of the Bow River and communities downstream by using ultraviolet light to disinfect effluent. It also breaks down phosphorous and nitrogen using naturally occurring organisms in a biological treatment process. It’s one of the largest plants in the world to use this technology, but when floodwaters hit in June 2013, the plant that serves 900,000 people, was nearly half underwater.

The day after the flood, Stantec’s Ryan Roberts was on site with City staff to assess the damage to Calgary’s largest wastewater treatment plant, which had never experienced flooding anywhere near this devastating.  The health of the Bow River’s ecosystem depends on the plant, so repairs had to get underway. Fast. Throughout the first week, Ryan and several Stantec employees with flood disaster experience assisted the City of Calgary in mapping out the work plan and coordinating contractors for the recovery effort.

The team provided support services to the City during restoration of the plant and assisted in documenting key activities performed by contractors critical to the plant’s operation. Once the City got past the recovery phase, our team worked with them to create a flood protection plan for the plant site, which assessed mitigation of flooding sources through the collection system, overland river flow, and high groundwater.

Once implemented, these recommendations will ensure the site remains operational if floodwaters hit again. Today, with Bonnybrook running at full capacity, the health of the Bow River is once again in good hands.

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