The City of Saskatoon announced that work is now completed on the digester and heating upgrades project at the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).
The three-year, $48.2 million project is funded by the Government of Canada ($9.5 million) and Government of Saskatchewan ($9.5 million) through their New Building Canada Fund, with a $29.2 million investment by the City of Saskatoon.
“Investments in modernizing wastewater infrastructure address communities’ needs and help protect the environment. By partnering with Saskatchewan to upgrade Saskatoon’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, our Government is supporting the local economy while ensuring residents benefit from improved water quality and healthier local ecosystems,” said Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.

“Reliable local water systems are important to position Saskatchewan communities for growth and attract new business,” Saskatoon Riversdale MLA Marv Friesen said on behalf of Don McMorris, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Government Relations. “The Government of Saskatchewan is proud to invest $9.5 million toward this important wastewater infrastructure project in Saskatoon, which will benefit the local economy, residents and environment.”

“As our city continues to grow, it’s important to maintain our high standards and stewardship in protecting people and property downstream from Saskatoon,” said Mayor Charlie Clark. “The investments in a new digester and heating upgrades at the Wastewater Treatment Plant will help us meet demand by improving capacity, sustainability, as well as maintaining our high-quality standards into the future. The expansion includes an exciting sustainable energy recovery process that will recycle biogas to be used as fuel in boilers and solid matter as nutrients for local and nearby crops.”

The new digester is the Wastewater Treatment Plant’s fourth and will improve capacity to allow the plant to maintain Water Security Agency processing standards whenever another digester is taken out of service for maintenance. The digesters are large circular tanks that hold the solids removed during the wastewater treatment process. The solids are deprived of oxygen to allow bacteria to form and break the solids down, and methane biogas is produced during the process. The methane biogas helps heat the WWTP, which in turn, reduces reliance on the use of natural gas for heating. Boiler upgrades and the installation of a methane biogas treatment filter were also a part of the project.

Rendering of gas scrubbing and heating building. (City of Saskatoon)

Summary of Facts

  • Construction on the fourth digester and Heating and Gas Scrubbing Building began in 2019 and was completed in 2021, ahead of schedule and under budget.
  • Digesters are the last stage in the wastewater treatment process. The solids removed during the treatment process are held in an oxygen deprived environment to allow bacteria to form and break the solids down.
  • The digesters produce two types of renewable resources; biogas (energy) and biosolids (soil nutrient).
  • This expansion includes a new sustainable energy recovery process that will condition biogas to be used as fuel in the boilers while the solid matter is used as nutrient for local crops.
  • Construction of a fourth digester tank improves capacity and allows the City to maintain Water Security Agency processing standards when another digester is taken out of service for maintenance purposes.
  • Upgrades to boilers were also made to accommodate the additional heat that will be required to run all four digesters.
  • Now that construction is complete, residents can no longer see an open flame at the Wastewater Treatment Plant as the flare has been replaced with two enclosed flares.

Featured image: (City of Saskatoon)

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