© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Stratford Mayor David Dunphy shows off some of the town's new Blue Frog units at the sewage lagoon.
STRATFORD — Reducing the stink from Stratford’s sewage lagoon cost about $400,000 more than the town thought it would.
Council approved a budget increase at its regular public monthly meeting Wednesday to cover the cost overruns, from $1.5 million to $1.9 million.
Council awarded the tender for the wastewater treatment plant upgrade screening facility to the lowest bidder, WM&M for $368,562 (HST included) and to increase the budget to $1.9 million. It covers the entire cost of the Blue Frog installation and the screening device.
The screening device came in more expensive that originally thought, partly due to the inclusion of a bypass pipe to better handle flows during extreme weather events.
The screening process involves the removal of large non-biodegradable and floating solids that frequently enter a wastewater works, such as rags, papers, tins, containers and wood.
Stratford Mayor David Dunphy said the $1.5-million figure was an estimate.
“When we approved our capital budget six months ago we allocated in our budget $1.5 million and that was before any tenders had gone out,’’ Dunphy said. “We were just in the stages of coming up with the engineering and what it would look like.’’
The town’s lagoon didn’t have a screening device before the blue frog system was installed. The $1.5-million estimate also didn’t include the HST cost.
The Blue Frog devices float on the lagoon’s surface and help break down organic material. The devices were installed by C&M Aquatic Management Group.
The idea behind the program was to, once and for all, solve the problem with the smell from the lagoon.
Each of the big blue units is tethered to the shore and floats on the wastewater, bobbing on the surface like a buoy as bubbles churn up from below. There is a total of 19 Blue Frogs in the lagoon, each acting as a small containment units that help break down material away from the lagoon’s surface to help reduce the smell. They use electric motors that turn propellers and move wastewater horizontally to aerate the lagoon.
The units also keep sludge from building up.
Dunphy said like any project the actual cost of the work doesn’t always match the estimates. As for the screening device, the mayor said while it contributed to drive up the figure he’s glad they have it.
“We felt we should have this screening device to catch garbage so it doesn’t get processed.’’
The town would still like to find a long-term solution to the lagoon. Options include building a treatment plant or piping the sewage over to Charlottetown’s plant but either idea is likely to cost well into the millions. Those options are still a few years off yet.