After beginning construction over three years ago, the City of Owen Sound marked the completion of its new $48-million Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant Tuesday afternoon.
Dignitaries gathered at the 3rd Avenue East facility to celebrate finishing the largest infrastructure project the city has ever taken on.
The city's primary treatment plant was built in the 1960s.
Mayor Ian Boddy says this is a big achievement for Owen Sound, as it was one of the last major centres on the Great Lakes to have a secondary treatment plant operational.
"This removes more of the contaminants that could go into the water," Boddy says. "It makes it cleaner for our Bay and for the entire area."
Work included upgrading the treatment process to include secondary treatment, the addition of an effluent diffuser, increased biosolids storage and improving the reliability and performance of the previously existing plant by refurbishing older components.
Matt Prentice, Manager of Water and Wastewater, says the upgrades ensure water leaving the outfall and entering Georgian Bay is cleaner.
He says secondary treatment removes organic treatment more effectively, especially parameters like ammonia and phosphorus.
"The biggest concern is ammonia in the effluent," explains Prentice. "This secondary treatment plant removes almost all of the ammonia from the effluent. The primary treatment plant did not remove any."
The project was funded tri-laterally between the City of Owen Sound, Ontario government and Federal government.
The province and feds each chipped in $15-million through the Green Infrastructure Fund, while Owen Sound ratepayers were responsible for about $18-million.
According to a past Bayshore Broadcasting report, Owen Sound's share will be covered by revenue from its wastewater rates.