Worker photographs the microtunnel boring machine as it is removed from Comox Lake. This machine created an under-water tunnel to make way for the installation of a marine pipe that will pull water from the lake. (Supplied by the Comox Valley Regional District)
The Comox Valley Water Treatment Project is marking a few key construction milestones as the year comes to an end.
A big one came in October with the completion of the raw water transmission main that will move water from the lakeside pump station through about 2.7 kilometres of pipe to the treatment plant.
In the final two months of 2020, the CVRD made note of other key construction milestones including:
- completed tunnelling into Comox Lake;
- completed construction of Cell 1 of the treated water reservoir at the water treatment plant; and
- completed installation of structural concrete and steel in the water treatment plant.
In total, crews have poured over 8,000 m3 (cubic metres) of concrete, installed over 1,300,000 kg of rebar and excavated over 60,000 m3 of material – which is enough to fill 24 Olympic size swimming pools.
“The important work completed to date is a testament to the dedication and hard work of all team members,” said CVRD regional water committee chair, Ken Grant.
“We’re thankful to the project team, our contractor and its amazing crews for keeping this important project on track through a year full of challenges.”
The project team is also celebrating other achievements that are not as visible.
They include successful COVID-19 protocols with no recorded cases on site, and over 300,000 hours worked with no lost time due to injuries.
The CVRD says it implemented a Community Employment Benefits plan to create opportunities for the community and diverse workers.
It includes targets of 10,000 hours for Indigenous peoples, 15,000 hours for apprentices and 10,000 hours for under-represented populations.
“These numbers were achieved in October 2020 and continue to rise, with the project anticipated to almost double the total hours set by the targets,” the CVRD said in a release.
The Community Employment Benefit hours achieved to date represent approximately 15 percent of the 300,000 total work hours on the project.
As well, the AECON team has contributed volunteer hours to Project Watershed, Broom Busters and United Riders of Cumberland.
“Despite added challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project remains on schedule with expected construction completion in spring 2021, and commissioning of the new system next summer,” said Russell Dyson, Chief Administrative Officer.
Work through 2021 will focus on finishing construction at the water treatment plant on Lake Trail Road, and completing the raw water pump station at Comox Lake.
The CVRD says the new system will deliver three main benefits:
- eliminate the need for turbidity-related boil water notices;
- remove the risk of viruses and bacteria in our drinking water; and
- provide a secure supply of reliable, high quality drinking water for decades to come.