Golden town council agrees to accept CP Rail effluent into municipal treatment plant

The Town of Golden is satisfied with the latest request from CP Rail to accept its wastewater into the domestic treatment plant.

The plan has been years in the making, and CP Rail recently constructed a $7,000,000 pretreatment facility in the CP Rail yard in town which should meet the standards to discharge its effluent into a domestic wastewater treatment plant.

In June, after a year of testing done by CP Rail, the Town’s environmental consultants confirmed a low concern with CP Rail’s pretreated industrial wastewater to the Town’s sanitary sewer system.

Since 2002, CP Rail has requested permission from the Town of Golden to discharge industrial wastewater to the municipal collection and treatment system, but the effluent CP Rail was discharging at the time was not suitable for the domestic wastewater treatment plant.

Once CP Rail had completed its new treatment plant, the Town of Golden and CP Rail began work to collect data and study the possibility of accepting the company’s wastewater into the Town facility.

“This is a far better situation for them to discharge to us,” said Town of Golden manager of operations Chris Cochran. “It’s preferred over directly discharging in the wetlands.”

The Town has received domestic effluent from CP Rail for many years from various administration and operations buildings. The effluent CP Rail will pretreat largely originates from the car shop locomotive inspection and service bays, and will include water collected in drip trays, water from the rail car repair facility, the locomotive reliability centre, and lubrication oil transfer and maintenance of way buildings.

Town council voted unanimously to authorize the CP Rail wastewater connection with recommended conditions.

“There are some things that have to be put in place before they do that,” Cochran said.

An agreement will have to be drafted to detail the design of the connection point in order to meet Town infrastructure standards and emergency shut off requirements, an appropriate industrial effluent rate structure will be developed to be incorporated into the wastewater bylaw, and a ratification will have to be made to an agreement to discharge with conditions for volume, effluent content, testing, and data sharing.

Monthly monitoring was requested over a six-month period of water quality parametres, which CP Rail conducted from May to December 2018. In addition, concentration of metals was requested, and concentrations affecting water quality were deemed below limits stated in the Town’s bylaw and the BC Hazardous Waste Regulation.

“It’s meeting or exceeding all of the Town of Golden bylaw requirements for what would otherwise be domestic effluent,” Cochran said.

The Town of Golden’s consultant, Keystone Environmental, requested that a monthly Microtox testing of Daphnia magna (an invertebrate) be reduced to a quarterly toxicity testing, and monthly rainbow trout testing to be reduced to twice annually; once during high water flow periods, and once during low water flow.

“If they are going to discharge to our collection system, we’re going to be the ones responsible for the ultimate discharge to the environment,” Cochran said. “It’s in keeping with what our requirements are under the federal wastewater requirements, so it ensures we continue to be compliant.

CP Rail fell into trouble with the Province of B.C. for exceeding its effluent discharge permit, which likely occurred prior to building and operating the new treatment facility.

Since receiving its $31,500 fine, CP Rail has completed engineering upgrades to the treatment system and hired a full-time treatment plant operator, CP Rail media relations advisor Salem Woodrow said previously. CP Rail was penalized in the third quarter of the year in 2018.

Cochran expects that by the fourth quarter of this year CP Rail could be tied in to the Town’s sewage system.

“Discharging it to the municipal collection system and treatment plant will provide increased assurance of discharge quality to the environment,” Cochran said.

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