The Brief

Any plan involving water requires a certain amount of flexibility. We worked with the Niagara Region to rebuild wastewater servicing infrastructure in ways capable of addressing local needs now, and down the road.

Project Overview

Agile plans drive lasting results

Agility is key to managing water well. When the Niagara Region kicked-off a pre-upgrade assessment of a key pumping station, leadership recognized that the aging infrastructure was in worse shape than they’d realized. Building a new pumping station became the most cost-effective route forward—and we were on board to design the facility with them.

Even the best laid plans must build in a certain amount of flexibility. As we dove into the design process, a section of the existing force main became a critical concern. Negative pressures during transient conditions were putting the force main at risk. Adapting to this new insight, we worked in collaboration with the Region to find the best possible solution. The project itself expanded to replace 3.5 km of the force main and 250 m of water main, while also reconstructing stretches of regional and local roads. That new reality made one thing abundantly clear: we’d need to coordinate the entire project strategically to manage this added complexity. Challenge accepted.

Working closely across stakeholder groups to sequence construction activities became a top priority. Limiting impacts to pumping station operations and minimizing the effects on local residents would require us to incorporate a smart sequencing strategy from the get go. From developing a connection method for the new force main to creating detailed emergency response plans to mitigate potential shutdowns: we mapped out every risk, and designed accordingly.

This included accounting for any potential environmental risks at every stage of the game. Through continuous monitoring, we were able to effectively spot issues as they arose, and take action. Case in point: when groundwater entered the excavation site at a much greater rate than predicted—and with unusually high volumes of hydrogen sulfide—an aeration system was created to dissipate those levels before the water was discharged back into a local creek. This was critical.

Fast forward to now, and the Niagara Region’s wastewater servicing is more reliable than ever. By helping to reduce potential coordination issues, and developing detailed plans for construction sequencing, shut downs, traffic control, commissioning and environmental monitoring, we helped the Region get there on time and on budget. All while building in enough flexibility to mitigate anything that arose along the way. The real magic, though, lies in the fact that local residents can now count on their wastewater services for decades to come.