May 1, 2010


Construction crews are busy with the current water and sanitary sewer project on Highway 19A in Campbell River.

FEATURE | Water, Wastewater, Sewer & Watermain

Campbell River, British Columbia tackles water and sewer upgrades

The city of Campbell River, B.C. is meeting challenges head-on for road, sewer and watermain upgrades along a 900-meter stretch of Highway 19A.

The total project budget is $13.5 million with some of the money coming from the Building Canada Fund - Communities Component (BCF-CC) .

Securing that funding meant the project had to be ready to go and demonstrate substantial performance by March 31, 2011.

The City of Campbell River divided the work into three distinct phases to meet the tight timeline.

Phase one includes replacement of the existing asbestos-concrete water main and sanitary line.

The contract for $2.02 million was recently awarded to Upland Excavating Ltd. of Campbell River and the work is underway with substantial performance expected by June 11.

The watermain has a meter of cover; the sanitary line is between 3.5 meters deep at its southern limit and 5.6 meters at the northern-most point.

It also passes under Sims Creek, which means the crew had to bore and jack a casing under the creek through which the sanitary main was fed.

This part of the project, although challenging, was completed four days ahead of schedule, said Jason Hartley, capital works manager for the City of Campbell River.

“It was a boring and jacking job, so a carrier casing pipe was jacked under the existing culverts that support the creek so the flow of the creek wasn’t interrupted in any way,” he said.

“Once it was jacked under, it is augered and cleaned and set, and the sanitary main is passed through and grouted into place.”

It also required the excavation of a launch pit on one side of the casing and the pipe was forced under the culverts.

“Another major challenge was that the casing pipe being jacked under is 1.040 meters, and it encountered a rock that was 1.0 meters, so it just fit,” said Hartley.

Water is also an issue, as the excavation is directly adjacent to Discovery Passage, meaning the site is flanked on either side by the ocean and the creek.

Excavation is about two meters below the high tide mark.

Managing water infiltration requires that a fairly sophisticated dewatering system be in place and that it satisfies the specifications indicated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in terms of treating and filtering the water before it is released.

Water is filtered via pumps that send it from the excavation sites into a filtration box holding 18 cubic meters of drain rock. Once sediment is removed by the drain rock, the water is then released for safe run-off to the foreshore.

Phase two is the construction of a lift station at the northern most point of the site, where the sanitary gravity main connects. It is currently out to tender and will close April 15.

Phase three is the complete reconstruction of the road with storm sewers, curb and gutter, sidewalks, street lighting and medians; upgrading the Oceanside Seawalk, adding landscaping, irrigation and retaining walls; and, a duct bank beneath the highway for the undergrounding of cable, phone and gas utilities.

The final phase went to tender in the middle of April and closes soon.

The last two phases are expected to commence construction concurrently on the week of June 21.

Comprehensive environmental plans are in place for each phase, as are letters of advice from the DFO.

The main issues impacting construction involve controlling offsite sediment release and limitations on the fresh water side of the site which can change what time of year work can be completed.

“Phase two also involves a Section 9, which is a more involved process,” said Hartley.

The BCF-CC timeline affected the geographical scope of the project, said Marci Hotsenpiller, spokesperson for the project.

“To extend the project northward would have required the upgrading of the sanitary forcemain that carries the lift station discharge toward the city’s sewage treatment facility,” Hotsenpiller said.

“The development of the forcemain upgrade works is not as advanced as the current scope... Expanding the project to the north would have significantly increased the complexity of the project and would have put funding at risk if the project were not completed on time.”

Continued cost escalation in the construction market and ensuring a broad interest in the competitive process were also challenging, as is co-ordinating utility companies’ resources for the undergrounding of services.

The project will receive $4,380,250 in federal stimulus funding through the BCF-CC and that much again from the province.

Campbell River will provide $4,739,500 through surplus sewer and water funds and development cost charge reserves.

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