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

design-build advantagesThe 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  • Many treatment plants are outdated or are undersized for growing communities.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”


Emergency water treatment plant arrives for Ontario First Nations Community

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