Cone to be a breath of fresh air in White Rock

‘Super-oxygenation’ treatment for West Beach sewage system

Metro Vancouver is bringing a super power to White Rock’s West Beach to help address poopy complaints and corrosion stemming from the sewer main that runs along North Bluff Road.

In a presentation to White Rock council Monday, Metro engineer Geoff Third explained the ‘superoxygenation’ equipment – which will mix pure oxygen with the sewage before it heads up Oxford Street – is a first for Canada.

The system – which is funded by Metro Vancouver – is anticipated to be installed before the warmer summer weather arrives, a time when complaints of sewer smells ramp up. It consists of an oxygen generator, a compressor and an oxygen-mixing cone.

The generator and compressor are to be installed in a sound-insulated kiosk on BNSF property at the south side of the Oxford Street pump station; the 3.7-metre high cone will stand beside it.

Third noted that while adding oxygen to sewage flow on its own is not a new technique for addressing odour and corrosion, using the cone to do it is. Its shape enables the oxygen to be mixed freely and evenly with the flow, which will be drawn into the cone from the main line and then returned after it is oxygenated.

The process is anticipated to eliminate odours and extend the life of the sewer line “all the way to the treatment plant,” Third said.

He said corrosion has been the root of most problems – including collapses – on the sewer line along North Bluff Road.

The ‘super-oxygenation’ system is also “completely green,” Third said. It will not pollute the air or water “whatsoever.”

While Coun. Doug McLean expressed concern over the safety of having pure oxygen in the area, Third assured council the risk is “very low.” The system will be tightly sealed and closely monitored, he said.

Third confirmed BNSF has approved its installation.

And while the system has a “reasonably high initial capital cost,” Third said the savings realized over the long term – fewer complaints and no corrosion – will be worth it.

After Monday’s meeting, Third told Peace Arch News costs of installation will be paid over the first year, and amount to about $22,000 per month, including the electrical costs associated with its operation.

That amount is expected to drop to $7,600 per month for the next four years, and then to about $1,000 per month after that.

Coun. Mary-Wade Anderson said she is confident Metro has “completely vetted” the system.

“I think we’re very lucky, quite frankly, to get it,” she said.