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Design-build package plant versus design-bid-build

Written by Marketing on . Posted in News

Design-build package plant versus design-bid-build for First Nations

The Assembly of First Nations provided a powerful forum Feb 6-8, 2018 for a discussion on how to resolve First Nations water issues. During one afternoon, Scott Foster of BI Pure Water proposed Design-Build of treatment plants rather than Design-Bid-Build. A productive discussion ensued. We welcome your comments.

The issues:

Potable Water Health Problems

  • Many treatment plants are outdated or are undersized for growing communities.
  • Hundreds of “Boil Water Notices” exist for the main treatment plants across Canada.
  • Boiling doesn’t remove dangerous items like Arsenic or Manganese.
  • Residents need to resort to expensive and inconvenient bottled water.
  • Small groups of residences are beyond the distribution pipeline and not served.


  • Many of the treatment plants are located in remote areas so it is difficult to bring in supplies.
  • Often the community wasn’t consulted as to their primary water needs.
  • Some plants are difficult to operate and cause water outages or downtime.
  • Operator training and plant capital maintenance is often difficult to fund.
  • Many plants don’t have remote monitoring.
  • Very high cost of Design-Bid-Build plants.

New solutions are being developed:

  • Community Circle approach to gathering information and defining the needs of the residents.
  • Cost and time savings by delivering standardized treatment systems.
  • Modern communications, remote monitoring, and new technologies make it a little easier to maintain the system
  • Design-Build approach to supplying the treatment systems vs the old Design-Tender-Build method.

Design-Build Your Water Treatment System:

  • Meet with Elders and Council to assess community needs
  • Determine Operator needs
  • Review potable water regulations
  • Engineering process, meet all requirements, consider also “Design for Resilience”
  • Specify low maintenance system
  • Review with regulators
  • Program the system
  • Remote monitoring
  • Manufacture & test in plant
  • Inspection by owner and approval
  • Deliver to site
  • Commissioning, training, servicing
  • Design-builders in general have ability to service plants over long term and provide correct replacement parts
  • Design-builders can remotely support the operator with proper electronics.
Top photo: (1) Checking out tank maintenance at Middle River First Nation; (2) Design-build package treatment plant delivered to location in Vernon; (3) treatment plant operator Gammale performs a backwash; (4) Monitoring a treatment system from a cel phone and remote computer

Potable Water Requirements

Water suppliers are required to provide long term plans to reach the goals of:

  • 99.99% inactivation of viruses – “Bugs”
  • 99.9% removal or inactivation of Giardia Lamlia and Cryptosporidium – “Cysts”
  • Two treatment processes for all surface drinking water systems
  • 0.1 NTU Turbidity – “Water clarity”
  • Zero tolerance for total and fecal coliforms and E.Coli – “Worst bugs”

Does your water treatment system include organics removal to prevent chlorine byproducts?

Written by Marketing on . Posted in water treatment tips

Does your water treatment system include organics removal to prevent chlorine byproducts?

“We’re not seeing all engineering consultants providing new water system designs that address organics before disinfection systems, such as chlorination and UV, and I’m concerned about it,” says BI Pure Water’s Engineering Manager, Paul Anderson. “Frankly I wouldn’t drink the water if the THMs were over 25 ppb.”

chlorine byproducts formationChlorine byproducts such as THMs (all are called TTHMs), and haloacetic acids (HAA) are formed when chlorine interacts with naturally occuring organic matter in the source water. “There are serious negative health effects with long term exposure to these disinfection byproducts. The City of Vancouver is concerned enough to lower their THMs to 25 ppb. The EPA has lowered the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule to regulate total trihalomethanes (TTHM) at a maximum allowable annual average level of 80 parts per billion (µg/L) from 100 ppb.”

“The water quality of communities, which they should have published on their websites, should indicate THMs well below the max, and we’re not seeing that. The public must demand good water treatment.”

Some UVs may even increase the problem of disinfection byproducts by breaking organic material into smaller particles with more surface area that results in even higher THMs.

BI Pure water’s senior engineer, George Thorpe, who watches the EPA studies, notes that research underway is showing that there are many more disinfection byproducts than are currently known, and long term studies on human health are underway.

MBRs allow water reuse of sewage treatment

Written by Marketing on . Posted in News, ultrafiltration

MBRs allow water reuse of sewage treatment

Advanced Waste Systems brochure Advanced Wastewater Treatments explained
Brochure download (4pps,Zip PDF)

Subdivisions continue to multiply. Developers routinely contact us for proposals for communities that are ‘outside the water treatment grid’ and are sourcing water and wastewater treatment systems. Water can be expensive to bring to these communities and they are keen to reuse water wherever possible.

With a membrane bioreactor communities are able to both treat sewage and recover bacteria and pathogen free water for their fire stations, as well as irrigation. This can mean big environmental and promotional benefits for developers, not to mention cost savings!

At BI Pure Water we would like to see communities using MBR because it can be a completely closed loop system. Dewatered sludge can be spread on fields, recovering nitrogen and phosphorus, or mixed into compost. The MBR requires a little more skilled maintenance than a MBBR or SBR system because it requires – two or three times a year typically – a chemical clean of membranes. Also the membranes need to be monitored for breaks or fouling, though these symptoms would be monitored through the computer control system.

A budgetary price proposed for this typical subdivision is under $200,000 for the first 100 dwellings. MBR is modular so in Phase II and III of the development another MBR would be added later to defer capital costs.

MBRs are built and tested complete inside a container or steel framed building. This can save on construction costs and are hassle-free by being built and tested in the factory and shipped complete and ready for implementation in the community. The plants are by nature steel frame structures that are resistant to extreme weather events, as well as mold, wildlife and rodents.


#AFN National Water Symposium was a powerful forum for #FirstNations, we had meaningful debate on design-build vs design-bid-build

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