Secondary Treatment for metro Vancouver
Tucked away neatly on Annacis Island, metro Vancouver’s largest wastewater treatment plant is overwhelmingly large. The plant build in the 1970s originally only provided primary wastewater treatment. Almost 30 years later, before the turn of the millennium, it was upgraded to secondary treatment. Currently the plant cleans the water of over 1 million people. It received around 350 million liters per day in the summer and around 700 million liters per day in the winter. The plant is primarily cleaning influent from residents.
After the mechanical process of the primary treatment (primarily a physical separation) the water entering Annacis island goes through two secondary wastewater treatment processes. The first one is the trickling filter. This is done in towers filled with rocks. The water is expelled through a stream at the top of the tower, and then the water is allowed to flow through the rocks. From there the water is brought over to activated sludge tanks. Here natural soil bacteria are added to the water and they consume and dissolve organic material and consume whatever is consumable. What is left is called floc and this settles to the bottom of the tank. After this process is completed there are only approximately 4 parts per million (PPM) of total suspended solids making the water exceed the minimum standards of the of the Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment. At the end the water is disinfected by chlorine, removed of the chlorine and then pumped into the Fraser river.
The various sludge and floc remaining from the various processes is thickened and digested over a 20 day period, where it is then made into biosolids. The Annacis Island wastewater treatment plant trucks out 4 trucks full of biosolids every single day. The majority of it is trucked (with costs carried by the plant) in order to reclaimed strip-mines throughout the BC province.