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Water pollution facility upgrades fast tracked to meet Roquette opening

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Work on Portage's Water Pollution Control Facility will begin in April, phase one of a three part project. (File photo)

Work on Portage's Water Pollution Control Facility will begin in April, phase one of a three part project. (File photo)

Upgrades are coming sooner than originally planned to Portage la Prairie's Water Pollution Control Facility.


The installation of a new Low Rate Anaerobic Reactor headlines a list of upgrades coming to the city's wastewater treatment plant that will correspond with Roquette's 2019 production schedule.

"It was going to be a part of the overall upgrades for nutrient removal," says coun. Wayne Wall of the renovations. "Roquette came along in the middle of planning and took us by surprise. We had to advance the schedule, so now we’re calling this phase one. It will include this (reactor) which will handle Roquette, McCain and NutriPea."

The reactor - essentially a giant septic tank - will not service Simplot as the potato plant conducts its own pretreatment. Other upgrades include a pump station at the Poplar Bluff Industrial Park and a water supply pump. The project has been divided into three parts in order for work to begin while phases two and three are finalized.

The initial design of the reactor, which was already scheduled for a rebuild prior to the Roquette arrival, was further upsized to accommodate the pea plant's increase in water usage. Construction is set to begin in April and the reactor will start servicing McCain and NutriPea come the fall. The system is expected to be fully operational come February 2019 and able to accept Roquette wastewater the following month - deadlines that council most certainly expect met. 

"We don’t think there is any problem at all (meeting those deadlines)," Wall adds. "We’ve signed a contract for the first part of (the project). There are some very firm deadlines in there and some very stiff penalties if they are not met."


The second phase of the operation will see a second lift station constructed at the Poplar Bluff site as the existing pump isn't capable of handling water flow from both Simplot and Roquette. Phase three is the completion of the work at the civil level, which includes piping and valving.

The city of Portage has received confirmation that the federal and provincial government will commit nearly $29 million to the upgrades as part of the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. The funding is expected to sufficiently cover phase one of the necessary work.


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