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CSCE 2007 Annual General Meeting & Conference Congrès annuel et assemblée générale annuelle SCGC 2007

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories / Yellowknife, Territoires du nord-ouest June 6-9, 2007 / 6 au 9 juin 2007

Engineered Improvements to Sewage Treatment System in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut Ken Johnson and Michelle Yu, Earth Tech Canada Navjit Sidhu, Government of Nunavut Abstract The existing sewage facility serving the community of Cambridge Bay is a typical northern lagoon system developed through a system of natural ponds, and refined with limited containment and control structures. All of the improvements to the pond system were essentially not engineered and as a result, the system has been a continuing source of concern for both the community and the regulatory organizations. A planning study was undertaken to try and identify a number of new locations for the community to relocate the sewage lagoon system, however, none of the proposed sites have presented a satisfactory alternative in terms of community, environmental, or financial impact. As an alternative to the development of a new site, “engineered” improvements to the existing site have been developed. The engineering of improvements to a natural system originates from the analysis of the system process and system capacity, and the identification of elements that may enhance the process and capacity. In the case of the Cambridge Bay facility, the existing pond system has the inherent facilitative process to treat sewage, and may be redeveloped to provide the appropriate long term capacity. A series of site investigations including wastewater sampling, and a topographic survey provided the basis for making these conclusions. The next step in the process is the engineering and implementation of the necessary improvements. A key to the engineering is the identification of appropriate materials and methods to carry out these improvements. The use of available soil materials from the community provides the basis for implementing the improvements in an economical and incremental manner.

1. Introduction A series of potential waste management areas for the community of Cambridge Bay were identified based upon the community’s interest in relocating the exiting lagoon facility. The planning analysis of the potential new sites included a "proximity" analysis of human activities and natural features; an analysis of potential road access to each site; an estimate of capital and operation and maintenance costs; and general site development configurations for the sites. Water sampling of the existing waste management facilities was also carried out to provide additional information to the existing sampling studies. A report suggested that the lagoon system of treatment is working satisfactorily to reduce the concentration of sewage contaminants to the acceptable level prior to discharge into the environment. Based upon the input from the community, and the direction provided by the Government of Nunavut, preliminary engineering for redevelopment of the existing sewage treatment


proceeded. It is anticipated that the preliminary engineering information will provide a basis for a submission to the Nunavut Water Board for approval of the improvements. Community stakeholder consultations on the redevelopment of the existing site will also continue. In support of advancing the redevelopment of the existing waste management sites, a topographical survey, and a geotechnical investigation of the sites were undertaken. The topographic survey generated accurate contour information for the lagoon pond areas, and the discharge stream; the geotechnical investigation provided information on the soil conditions around the sites, and information on the soil materials around the community that may be used for the construction of any redevelopment work.

2. Community Information The community of Cambridge Bay is the largest community in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut, and is geographically situated on the Dease Strait between the Queen Maud Gulf and the Coronation Gulf in the North West Passage. It is located on 69° 07' N latitude and 105°03' W longitude, and it is approximately 960 air km north east of Yellowknife. It is one of the most westerly communities of Nunavut, with a population of 1,609 in 2006. Recent population figures for the community point to higher than normal growth. The Hamlet of Cambridge Bay is situated in an area of sags and swells, dry debris-strewn knolls, and moist depressions, with limited vegetation. The climate can be characterized by long cold winters and short cool summers, and the daily average temperature is -14.4°C. The average total annual precipitation is 13.9 cm, consisting of 82.1 cm of snowfall and 7.0 cm of rainfall. The July mean high is 12.3°C, and the mean low is 4.6°C. The January mean high is -29.3°C, and mean low is -36.3°C. According to the 2004 Hamlet of Cambridge Bay Community Economic Development Plan, Cambridge Bay is a very progressive community with unlimited potential. It is expected that, being the hub of Kitikmeot Region, the community will experience a substantial economic growth in future years. The proposed Bathurst Inlet port, road, health center projects, and mining ventures, will increase social and tourism activities in the community, and will also place a significant burden on the existing infrastructure.

3. Existing Services The water use and waste disposal in the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay is regulated by a Type B Water License. The present source of the community's potable water source is Water Lake located approximately 3 km north of the community (see Figure 1). Water trucks are used to distribute water to houses in the community; water uptake from Water Lake totals approximately 20 truckloads per day (12000 L per truckload). The current water consumption is approximately 87,600 m3/year, although the current water license allows for the removal of 70,000 m3 of water from Water Lake annually. Sewage is collected from the community by sewage trucks, and discharged into a sewage lagoon system, which is used to treat wastewater for the community. Currently, on average 16 truckloads (12,000 L per truckload) of sewage are discharged into the lagoon each day. The existing lagoon is located approximately 1.5 km north east of the community, and has been in use for over thirty years. The system consists of several natural ponds connects in series, with a volume of approximately 72,000 m3 based on the normal operating level in the lagoon ponds. The sewage is discharged into the first pond of the lagoon at truck discharge site. The treated sewage the lagoon is ultimately channelled into Cambridge Bay. Currently, there is no discharge control structure in the lagoon, therefore, sewage effluent from the lagoon is discharged continuously. The lagoon is annually flooded due to the spring runoff from the adjacent catchment areas into the lagoon.


Figure 1. Cambridge Bay water and sewer facility locations. There are several issues of concern with the system. The main concern is the influence of large spring runoff flows into the lagoon, which reduce the storage and treatment capacity of the lagoon due to the magnitude of the flows. The other concerns with the system include the ultimate treatment capacity of the lagoon, and the discharge point of the lagoon, which is within 450 metres of the community. The results of limited effluent sampling suggest that the concentration of all the effluent discharge parameters (contaminants) collected from sampling points were below the respective Municipal Waste Water Effluent Guidelines. The overall sampling results suggested that the lagoon system of treatment is working satisfactorily to reduce the concentration of sewage contaminants to the acceptable level prior to discharge into the environment (Cambridge Bay).

4. Sewage Characteristics and Quantity Wastewater generated in Cambridge Bay is domestic in source and characteristics. The wastewater quality from the community may be considered to be a "high strength" waste because of the use of a


trucked sewage and water system. The "high strength" condition is typical for trucked sewage and water systems due to the low water usage, which translates into low dilution of the raw sewage. The Hamlet of Cambridge Bay's current water license stipulates the effluent requirement. The current water license came in effect on September 1, 2002 and expires on August 31, 2007. The conditions applying to waste disposal are stipulated in Part D of the license and presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Effluent Quality Standards Parameter Faecal Coliforms BOD5 Total Suspended Solids Oil and grease pH

Maximum Average Concentration 1 x 106CFU/dl 100 mg/L 120 mg/L No visible sheen Between 6 and 9

Based upon population projection by the Nunavut Bureau of Statistics, the generation of sewage waste is estimated for the next 20 years (starting from 2006). Table 2 presents the summary of sewage generation in the next 20 years.

Table 2. Estimated Sewage Waste Volume Generation for the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay, 2007 to 2025


2007 2010 2015 2020 2025


Daily Flow

Yearly Flow



1,642 1,752 1,939 2,137 2,360

230 356 271 299 330

83,906 89,527 99,083 109,201 120,572

Notes: 1. Population projection data (2020-2025) based on 2% growth rate (determined from GN population projection data). 2. Population projection data (2020-2025) extrapolated by Earth Tech. 3. Average daily sewage waste generation rate per person is 140 litres.

5. Sewage Lagoon Improvements The lagoon sample results indicates that the concentration of the effluent discharge parameters is below the concentration required by the water license. The sampling results suggest that the lagoon system of treatment is working satisfactorily to reduce the concentration of sewage contaminants to the acceptable


level prior to discharge into the environment. The existing lagoon system may still serve the Hamlet as a sewage treatment facility for next 20 years with the improvements that appropriately address all the issues of concern.

Table 3. Sewage Lagoon Design Criteria Design Treatment Capacity: Design Effluent Quality: Faecal Coliforms BOD5 Total Suspended Solids pH Lagoon Pond Area: Average Depth: Storage Volume: Freeboard: Discharge: Supplemental Treatment:

120,000 cubic meters per year (20 year horizon) 1 x 106CFU/dl 100 mg/L 120 mg/L Between 6 and 9 14.8 hectares 0.81 meters 120,000 cubic meters 1 metre Annually Wetland

The current sewage generation rate is approximately 70,080 cubic meters per year. The existing high water level of the lagoon is approximately 8.85 metres above sea level. On the basis of hydraulic retention time (HRT), the current lagoon may achieve a HRT of approximately 375 days based on the current sewage generation rate. This is based on a rough volume estimate of 72,000 cubic meters for the existing lagoon storage. This HRT achieves the maximum benefit from retention during the limited summer season. By the year of 2025 the sewage generation rate would be approximately 120,000 cubic meters per year. The HRT would be reduced to approximately 219 days based upon the current capacity. A 219 day HRT may not achieve the maximum benefit from complete sewage retention during the limited summer season (June, July, and August) resulting from solar energy, and biological activity. The lagoon volume may be increased by increasing the high water level. A water level elevation of 9.5 metres will provide a lagoon volume of 119,000 cubic meters, and the HRT will be approximately 360 days. The increased water level of 9.5 metres would be achieved by construction and reinforcement of berms. 5.1 Primary Cell In order to improve the lagoon performance and to extent the lifetime of the lagoon, a primary cell is proposed at northwest side of the main pond. A submerged berm is proposed to separate primary cell and secondary cell (see Figure 2). The sewage would then be pre-treated, and much of the suspended solids would be settled out within the primary cell before sewage enters the secondary cell. The sludge settled in primary cell could be removed on a period basis. A truck discharge flume will be located at the west end of the primary cell. The sewage truck will use the discharge flume to deposit raw sewage into the lagoon. There would be a treated lumber wheel stop and bollards at the edge of the pad to prevent the truck from backing into the sewage lagoon. From the truck pad the offload chute consisting of an 800 millimetre diameter nestable culverts will run down the inside slope of the berm to the rip rap area at the bottom of the primary cell.


Figure 2. Submerged solids retention berm 5.2 Decant System A mobile decant system will be located at the opposite end of the lagoon to the truck discharge flume. The lagoon will be annually discharged by pumping effluent into the receiving environment from the lagoon using a powered pump. Given the maximum annual sewage volume of 120,000 m3, a mobile decant facility which includes a diesel engine driven self priming pump is proposed to decant the lagoon annually over a period of three weeks. 5.3 Spillway A spillway is proposed in order to control the lagoon high water level in the event of an extreme runoff situation. The spillway route would be same to the discharge route as the existing lagoon system. Any water about high water level (9.5 metres) would overflow through the spillway on the proposed retention berm. 5.4 Supplemental Wetland Treatment An engineered wetland is proposed to further treat the effluent from the lagoon system. Water quality improvement is improved through a variety of natural processes that occur in wetlands. The technology of seasonal discharge from a lagoon to wetlands has been demonstrated to provide significant sewage treatment capabilities. Using natural filtration, sedimentation, and physical or chemical immobilization, the soil and plants of wetland systems effectively absorb and retain suspended solids, carbonaceous and nitrogenous components of BOD, nutrients (including phosphorus), pathogenic organisms including coliforms, and other pollutants. Although there is a limited wetland downstream of the existing lagoon, the performance of this wetland may be greatly enhanced by constructing an engineered wetland to optimize the flow and vegetation.


Figure 3. Lagoon Improvements and discharge. 5.5 Discharge Point The effluent will be diverted around an existing the bulky metal dump site with a pumped decant system. The effluent would enter the engineered wetland before crossing the existing road to the south. Twin 500 mm culverts running under the road will be required. From this point, the effluent will flow into the bay. The proposed discharge point would 420 metres east of the existing discharge point, and 675 metres east of the community. This changed point would avoid the conflict with the discharge proximity to the community. 5.6 Runoff Diversion One of the major concerns regarding the existing lagoon is the spring runoff flows into the lagoon, which influences the performance and capacity of the lagoon. Consideration of this concern suggests that runoff diversion berms would be required. The proposed runoff diversion berms are identified based on the watershed contours. The runoff diversion berms would divert most of the runoff around the lagoon either to the east or west.

5.7 Capital Cost The cost of a new lagoon site would be more than $3.7 million. In comparison, it would cost approximately $1.8 million (Class C estimate) to improve the existing lagoon.


6. Conclusions and Recommendations The existing lagoon system appears to be functioning to reduce the concentration of sewage contaminants to the acceptable level prior to discharge into the environment. Therefore, it is feasible to use the existing lagoon site with improvements regarding the current concerns. Redevelopment of the existing site is the more cost effective option if all the concerns regarding to the existing lagoon site configuration and operation are addressed properly. The improvements to the existing lagoon system can be planned and constructed in an incremental fashion according to the priority of each component of the improvement. This will give the community a funding and manpower flexibility regarding the ultimate development of the lagoon improvements. The recommended construction priority would be as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Improve flow under the road along the existing discharge channel by replacing culverts. Construct runoff diversion berms to divert runoff around from the lagoon. Construct retention berms and submerged berms related to capacity increase. Purchase decanting equipment. Extend access road and build the truck discharge flume. Construct the engineered wetland and the new discharge point. 7. References

Earth Tech, February 2006, Hamlet of Cambridge Bay Integrated Sewage and Solid Waste Facilities Design – Progress Report No. 1 (Research Report). Earth Tech, July 2006, Hamlet of Cambridge Bay Sewage and Solid Waste Facilities – Planning Report. Earth Tech, August, 2006, Cambridge Bay Waste Facility Improvements Sewage Analysis – Summary Report. Earth Tech, April, 2007, Cambridge Bay Waste Facility Improvements, Preliminary Engineering Report for Redevelopment of Existing Sewage Lagoon. Inuvialuit Environmental and Geotechnical, October 2005, Cambridge Bay Municipal Sewage Lagoon and Waste Facilities Assessment (GN Project No. 04-4807). Municipal and Community Affairs, GNWT, April 2003, Guidelines for the Planning, Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Sewage Lagoons in the Northwest Territories. Northwest Territories Water Board, 1992, Guidelines for the Discharge of Treated Municipal Wastewater in the Northwest Territories. Nunavut Bureau of Statistics


Engineered Improvements to Sewage Treatment System in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut