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A Northern Treat

The North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant (NSWWTP) will provide an essential service providing secondary treatment services to more than 250,000 residents and two First Nations on the North Shore in the District of North Vancouver.

Vancouver, BC

The Unexpected

Vancouver’s North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant (NSWWTP) is what we expect: a highly functional, safe and operationally sustainable treatment plant. It is also something new and compelling, a facility that has a positive impact on the environment, the community and the region by restoring a contaminated site and creating a landscape that supports a biodiverse ecosystem. Using the most up to snuff practices in wastewater treatment, NSWWTP will be capable of treating 102 million liters on a normal day. During the wet seasons, it will be equipped to treat up to 320 million liters of storm water. Not just functional, the vision for the project is to make a positive impact on the environment and the region. The health of a community is dependent on the health of how it cleans up after itself. And this state-of-the-art facility will be a place of learning, embracing waste and demonstrating the process of wastewater treatment, environmental stewardship and resource recovery.

How Stuff Works

What are the best practices that will protect British Columbian waterways? Odour abatement – A world-class odour abatement system that will capture air from the processes inside the building, cleaning it prior to its release into the atmosphere. This system will eliminate virtually all odours from the facility and subsequently keep North Vancouver smelling fresh and clean. Water conservation – Waste not, want not. By using native and adaptive plant species to reduce water needs, using low and ultra-low flow fixtures throughout the facility and using waste process water for all flushing and irrigation, the building itself will reduce potable water consumption by over 40%. Water use will also be metered to enable continuous measurement and improvement. Environmental – The facility will remove 90 per cent of organic matter and suspended solids during the treatment process through a phosphorus recovery system which will treat the centrate from the centrifuges to recover a fertilizer know as struvite. Community Spaces – The new design includes a public plaza, education spaces and community meeting spaces. These areas will significantly enhance inhabitant experience. These have been designed to support and participate in the life of the community without impacting the security and operations of the treatment plant. The arrival plaza can be an outdoor classroom or a farmer’s market, the arrival hall a performance venue, the multipurpose rooms a learning space and the roof terrace an event space with views to the Burrard Inlet, the community and the mountains.

Bio-diverse Treatments

The facility collects rainwater for outside use, filters reclaimed process water for non-potable water use, and uses ultra-low flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water consumption. Heat pumps extract waste heat for use in the treatment building and the district energy centre. Biogas from the wastewater treatment process generates electricity and heat, and an optional phosphorus recovery system produces struvite pellets that can be used as fertilizer. Inspired by the resource at hand, the public plaza celebrates water through a reflective water terrace fed with filtered and disinfected secondary clarifier effluent and storm runoff water from the treatment facility itself. This water terrace also collects rainwater for cleaning. Leaving no stone unturned, the landscaping in the plaza is comprised of native and adaptive wetland plants that naturally clean and filter water.

Squeaky Clean

The design optimizes energy use, using energy-efficient exterior envelopes, combines daylight with low-energy LED fixtures, recovers and reuses process heat, selects materials that meet LEED and Envision standards, delivers heat to the district energy system, and will be landscaped with biodiverse native and adaptive species. Additionally, the Plant’s green roof will reduce heat islands within the built environment while providing natural plant and animal habitat for inhabitants to connect with.

Project facts

Services: Architectural, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Planning and Landscape Architecture, Structural Engineering
Size: 30,700 sq m
Collaborators: Tetra Tech (Process Plant Designer)
Client: Metro Vancouver
Completion: 2020