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B.C. Contractors and Engineers Practice Innovation in Infrastructure

B.C. Contractors and Engineers Practice Innovation in Infrastructure

Publication: Journal of Commerce
Date: September 8, 2016

Thanks to their experience working in British Columbia's challenging geography and climate, the province's contractors and engineers have developed a reputation for creativity in industry circles.

Their talent for innovation can be seen in three recently completed infrastructure projects, two of which bring fresh drinking water to thirsty mouths and one which provides alternate electricity to a school on a remote island.

People who live in big cities and their suburbs like a drink now and then, too. In early 2016, the Vancouver office of Knight Piésold Ltd. (acting, with its subs, as design engineers) and owner Metro Vancouver finished commissioning the Capilano Break Head Tank and Energy Recovery Facility and put it into service.

"The facility was built to provide reliable water supply and also to disperse excess pressure before the water is delivered to residents and businesses in Vancouver, North Vancouver and Burnaby," said Knight Piesold senior engineer Rob Adams.

Situated in North Vancouver, the plant is located at the end of a seven-kilometre, gravity-driven tunnel from the Seymour–Capilano Filtration Plant (SCFP).

Because there is an elevation drop of 30 metres from the SCFP to the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF), Knight Piesold designed and built a system that dissipated the excess pressure energy.

The ERF is one of the largest hydroelectric turbines in a treated drinking water system in North America.

The turbine is expected to generate approximately 9,600 Megawatt hours of electricity per year.

The energy that is generated by the turbine is sent to Metro Vancouver’s Capilano Pump Station, where it offsets the energy consumption of one of the large 2,000-horsepower pumps.

The cost savings due to reduced electricity purchases are expected to recover the costs of the hydroelectric turbine, as well as to reduce Metro Vancouver operating costs.

Credit: Peter Caulfield, Journal of Commerce


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