Itall boils down to the money

Published on Thu, Oct 21, 2004 by Meg Olson

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It all boils down to the money

By Meg Olson

At a joint work session of the Citizens Wastewater Advisory Committee and Blaine City Council participants listened to 10 different ways Blaine could treat its sewage, and narrowed it down to a choice between money and cleaner water.

“Both would produce high quality effluent for discharge purposes but the membrane bio-reactor produces water that can be reused,” said Blaine public works director Steve Banham. “This is clean water.”
At the October 18 work session consultants presented 10 options to treat and disinfect the waste stream at the new plant planned for Marine Drive, from conventional activated sludge with chlorine disinfection to the membrane system and disinfection using ultraviolet light. The group settled on two alternatives that consultants will work into the final facility plan for the new plant, due to be presented in December.

The membrane bio-reactor treatment system with ultraviolet disinfection would cost $18.4 million dollars so a cheaper alternative was also selected – a sequence batch reactor which costs about $2 million less. “The sequence batch reactor would be a slightly larger footprint but both systems would fit in the space we’ve allotted,” Banham said.

The difference, he said, was that if the membrane system was used, water flowing through the pipe under Drayton Harbor and being discharged off Semiahmoo spit would be clean enough to water lawns, rather than what one expects from treated sewage. “That increases the chances the shellfish areas outside the spit could be opened,” he said.
In addition, Banham said, there was the possibility that the water could be sold to golf courses, industry, or other uses.

Planning for the new sewer plant will continue at work sessions scheduled for November 15 and December 13, when a draft facility plan will be unveiled.