Through the Investing in Canada Plan, the federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in water and wastewater infrastructure, public transit projects, natural and social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
A major focus for the investment is upgrading, replacing, and building modern Water and wastewater supply, treatment and distribution systems which are the backbone of Municipalities and First Nations communities across Canada. The investments will improve water quality and system efficiency, and increase redundancy and treatment capacity.
Safe and reliable drinking water and wastewater systems are critical to maintaining the health and safety of communities, while also protecting the environment and responding to the impact of major climate change events and their impact on built and natural infrastructure.
Over the last six years, $694 million was spent funding 236 water and wastewater infrastructure projects, including 4 announced in B.C.
In the same period, $38 billion was earmarked for communities across Canada to support world-class, modern public infrastructure, including over $4 billion for major water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
One example is the upgrades to the District of Kent’s wastewater treatment plant funded by the BC provincial or federal funding. Improvements were made to the plant’s aerobic digester, a system which uses a biological digestion process to separate and break down solids in wastewater. District of Kent estimates that around 350 cubic metres of sewage will flow through system by 2040.
The scope of the project includes the design of the second digester, installation of new pumps and aeration grids. The project is part of a wider initiative across the Fraser Valley to improve critical water infrastructure following the major flood event in 2021.
The flood of 2021
The 2021 Pacific Northwest flood event affected British Columbia, Canada, and parts of neighboring Washington state in the United States, caused by a type of atmospheric river, which brought heavy rain to parts of southern British Columbia and northwestern United States. The natural disaster triggered a state of emergency for the province of British Columbia.
A major issue for southern British Columbia was extreme and immediate impact from the event on the transportation corridor linking the coastal city of Vancouver, Canada’s largest port, to the Fraser Valley, the rest of British Columbia and the rest of Canada.
The Fraser Valley, a region responsible for agricultural production in the province, was severely impacted, resulting in the regions inability to feed livestock in the absence of rail service. During the event, dikes, dams and water barriers failed causing widespread destruction and devastation to properties and businesses.
BLP members have worked extensively in the region on various water and waste water projects, including with First Nation communities, as well as providing strategic and technical support in the areas of flood resiliency planning, flood risk assessment and flood protection and defenses.