Port Dover going back on mobile filtration

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Performing basic repairs to water and wastewater infrastructure without an interruption in service is tricky and expensive.

But there are ways of doing it, as will be demonstrated in Port Dover in the days and weeks ahead.

On Jan. 5, Norfolk council approved a $316,260 expense for the rental of a temporary filtration plant that will allow the county to replace the failing clarifier unit at Port Dover’s water-treatment facility on Nelson Street West.

In a report to council, Jason Godby, Norfolk’s interim general manager of public works, and Jeff Demeulemeester, Norfolk’s manager of infrastructure projects, said the clarifier is in need of immediate replacement.

While that is going on, raw water piped into the Port Dover facility will pass through a “a temporary membrane water-treatment plant.”

Because of time constraints, the county is not putting the rental out to tender. Instead, public works has received two quotes, the lowest of which came from the firm Suez, of Ancaster, for the use of an M-PAK 80 trailer-mounted filtration apparatus.

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“The total cost of the Suez system is lower,” the staff report says. “The county has previous experience with the Suez system as it is the same system that was used in 2017 when the clarifier was removed from service for repair and inspection.

“If any emergencies occur, or if the county requires operational support for either system, Suez would provide appropriate back-up equipment or field support as needed.”

Godby and Demeulemeester reported that tender documents for the replacement of the clarifier unit are being prepared. Mobile filtration will be needed for about six months.

Norfolk has budgeted $8.4 million to replace the clarifier. At the Jan. 5 meeting, Turkey Point Coun. Chris VanPaassen wondered why the temporary filtration rental came to council as a separate report and not part of the overall report related to the clarifier’s pending failure and replacement.

VanPaassen suggested that approaching projects piece-meal instead of comprehensively might help explain why the county faces a significant infrastructure deficit that will cost tens of millions of dollars to correct.

Godby replied that the filtration rental was anticipated from the beginning and details had to come to council as a formal report due to the item exceeding council’s reportable limit of $250,000.

When Norfolk rented a mobile filtration unit three years ago, Godby said the repair in Port Dover involved re-inforcing the clarifier system with large steel bands.