Saskatoon’s water treatment system is getting an upgrade.

This latest project’s origins go back to 2015, when Saskatoon Water completed the Avenue H Water Treatment Plant Pumphouse and Reservoir Expansion Project. The expansion boasted a reservoir expansion, an ultraviolet (UV) inactivation system, and new high lift distribution, but still needed a new transfer pumping facility to convey water from the clear wells through the UV reactors and into the Avenue H Reservoir to be pumped to the distribution system.

That Transfer Pumping facility is now being built and will be operational in early 2024.

The current Transfer Pumping and Electrical Upgrades Project will ameliorate water treatment services for the 300,000 people the plant services within the City of Saskatoon and the surrounding communities, Quintin Tuchscherer, P.Eng., Senior Project Management Engineer, tells Business Elite Canada.

The project will see the new Transfer Pumping Facility along with several electrical upgrades throughout the entire Water Treatment Plant. “The new facility will have four new transfer pumps and will have a design flow of 400 million litres per day,” Tuchscherer says.
The Project has a total capital cost of approximately $40 million. Included in the scope is the addition of two new 2 Mega watt diesel generators that will be integrated together with the two existing, 2 Mega watt diesel generators that were installed in the Avenue H Water Treatment Plant Reservoir Expansion Project.

“Upon completion of the Transfer Pumping and Electrical Upgrades Project, all four generators will be tied together to provide a fully redundant electrical supply in the event of a power outage,” says Tuchscherer. “Various other aspects of the Water Treatment Plants electrical system will also be upgraded and were designed to allow the Water Treatment Plant’s electrical and process systems to become fully redundant. This will improve reliability, increase ease of maintenance, and reduce complexity of future expansions.”

The design allows for the system to make the whole of the Water Treatment Plant more reliable, create opportunities for more effective maintenance with increased safety, and increase the efficiency of the pump system. Delivering safe drinking water requires the systems and equipment to be put together in a way that allows for flexibility and gives the operators the ability to address a variety of situations.

“The key component to this project is the addition of two new 2 Mega watt diesel generators that will be integrated with the two existing 2 mega watt diesel generators to provide a robust and reliable source for back-up power in the event of a power outage. This will significantly enhance the operational reliability of the plant to achieve the City’s goal of providing a continuous source of drinking water to the citizens of Saskatoon and surrounding area.

The electrical upgrades on this project have been designed and set up in such a way to establish two fully redundant process trains, meaning it essentially allows for easier shutdowns and allows the Water Treatment Plant to continue to produce a safe reliable source of drinking water at the same time as performing maintenance to equipment that would otherwise not be maintainable without a full Water Treatment Plant shutdown.

Keeping the Water Treatment Plant operational throughout the project, especially during the commissioning phases will be particularly challenging. “As one of my coworkers stated, ‘This project will be like doing brain surgery on the Water Treatment Plan while the City operations staff continue to keep it operational.’ The project will essentially touch all processes in the Water Treatment Plant and ensuring that the work gets completed without disrupting anything is key,” says Tuchscherer.

When working with a facility that has sections that are over 100 years old, there have been other challenges too. Tuchscherer says the most significant one has been the discovery that existing subgrade and infrastructure were not in conditions initially expected. “The key to overcoming these challenges has been through strong collaboration and working together as a team. The contractors, consultant, and the City’s internal team have all played an integral role in figuring out solutions along the way. As the project gets closer to completion, there are still challenges that may/will arise but pushing through with the team approach is how we have succeeded and will continue to succeed.”

As the City and its regional partners continue to grow, the facility offers enough capacity to provide reliable service for many years to come.

Working on a legacy project is not lost on Tuchscherer and his team. “I take pride in all the projects that I have been assigned to; however, it is in a different context for this project,” he says. “Knowing that this facility will play a much larger role in providing good quality drinking water to the citizens for years to come is just a small bonus, but the real sense of pride comes from the fact that it is such a complex project that has provided a tremendous amount of learning opportunities. The thing that provided the largest sense of accomplishment is the fact that the project team has been able to overcome a significant number of challenges because of strong collaboration and creative ideas. Overcoming those challenges is possible because of the very talented and knowledgeable people that are a part of the team. Once this facility is operational, thinking back on the hard work that was involved and knowing that I played a role in bringing the facility to reality will provide a great sense of satisfaction and will be something I pride myself on for a very long time.”

For more information, please visit