Overview of Projects

The Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant is being upgraded to ensure continued protection of public health and the environment in a growing region.

Metro Vancouver wants to ensure the wastewater treatment plant makes a positive contribution to the health and well-being of people and the environment. A number of ecological restoration projects are planned in coordination with the plant upgrades.

About the Treatment Plant

The Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1963 and today serves approximately 750,000 residents. The plant serves residents in the Vancouver Sewerage Area, which includes Vancouver, parts of Burnaby and Richmond, the University Endowment Lands, and UBC. The facility processes about 200 billion litres of wastewater each year.

The upgraded plant and complementary ecological projects are being designed to provide:

  • Tertiary wastewater treatment to improve the treated wastewater quality being discharged to the Salish Sea
  • Ecological restoration projects to restore Iona Beach Regional Park’s diverse and sensitive ecosystems, build climate resilience, increase park visitor connection to nature, and create integration between the wastewater treatment plant and Park
  • Resource recovery opportunities to help support the region’s carbon neutrality objectives, by recovering important resources such as reclaimed water for non-potable uses, and biogas captured and used at the plant to generate heat for operations as well as supply for renewable natural gas to the Fortis BC natural gas distribution system
  • Extensive ground improvements to protect the plant from earthquake events and account for future sea level rise this century

The Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant Projects are in the Early Works and Preliminary Design Phase, with work to prepare the site underway.

  Location: Richmond

Current Project Work

Early Works and Priority Activities

Metro Vancouver continues to deliver early works and priority activities to prepare the site and inform design. Visitors to xʷəyeyət /Iona Island may see crews conducting work related to the following activities:

  • Clean out of treated sludge lagoons west of the existing treatment plant
  • Design of a barge berth for transportation of construction materials to and from Iona Island
  • Removal of biosolids stockpiles east of the existing treatment plant
  • Geotechnical investigations, on land and in-water around Iona Island
  • Technical studies for ecological restoration projects
  • Work to obtain required permits and approvals
  • Improvements to roads and upgraded electrical servicing on Sea Island and Iona Island

We will keep you updated about what to expect on xʷəyeyət/Iona Island and in the surrounding area as the projects progress.

Lagoon Clean Out

Over the next seven years, the existing treated sludge lagoons will be cleaned out to prepare the site and support wastewater treatment plant upgrade construction. Each area will be re-purposed for alternate uses during and after project construction. The sludge lagoons will eventually be transitioned to wetlands, terrestrial habitat, and park amenities that will be integrated into Iona Beach Regional Park.

During clean out operations, a barge floats on the lagoon surface and dredges out biosolids from the bottom of the lagoon. Liquid biosolids are then pumped through two centrifuges located on a concrete dewatering pad to separate the water and biosolids.

In spring 2023, water is expected to be removed from the southeast lagoon. Clean out operations on the other sludge lagoons will begin in spring 2024 for approximately nine months, and occur yearly until 2030. Work will occur from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday to Saturday.

Metro Vancouver will continue to monitor and mitigate noise, odour, and wildlife impacts throughout operations.

Barge Berth Design

Metro Vancouver has proposed the design of a barge berth located on the North Arm of the Fraser River in proximity to the new Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. Constructing a temporary barge berth will help reduce construction traffic on Ferguson Road and will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles travelling to xʷəyeyət/Iona Island, which is only accessible via a two-lane road.

The barge berth will:

  • Replace approximately 260 to 270 dump trucks per day
  • Reduce both traffic throughout the Lower Mainland and greenhouse gas emissions, consistent with regional objectives
  • Help to minimize costs and delays

The barge berth design process will include further study of potential facility locations. This study will include an assessment of the visual, noise, dust, light, and related health impacts at each of the potential locations.

In summer 2023, Metro Vancouver will provide an engagement opportunity for community members to share their feedback on the barge berth design.

Community Engagement

Metro Vancouver is working closely with key stakeholders, the public, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Indian Band to consider their interests and the project’s fit with the community.

Metro Vancouver will:

  • Provide information in a timely manner
  • Listen to interests and priorities
  • Collaborate on how the plant is integrated with Iona Beach Regional Park and the surrounding environment
  • Collaborate on resource recovery opportunities
  • Take feedback to the project team and report back on how it has been addressed
  • Establish a single point of contact the community can reach to discuss the projects

Ongoing opportunities for engagement will continue to be provided. Please see the Community Engagement section below for previous engagement activities.

Questions or comments? Please email ionawwtp@metrovancouver.org.

Maps & Images

Other Projects and Background

  • Other Projects in the Area

    Raincoast Conservation Foundation’s North Arm Jetty Breaches Project


    Raincoast Conservation Foundation is constructing two 30-metre-wide breaches in the North Arm Jetty in the Fraser River estuary to restore natural migration pathways for juvenile salmon and other fish species, and natural movement of freshwater, saltwater, and fine sediments.

    The first breach was completed in February 2022. Initial monitoring has already demonstrated project success, with high rates of juvenile salmon passage, including Chinook, chum, pink, and sockeye salmon, and with no impacts detected to navigation in the main river channel.

    Construction of the second breach is expected to occur in fall 2023, along with site maintenance and remediation. Breach locations are informed by ease of fish passage through jetty midpoint, accessibility, construction feasibility, cost, and stakeholder and First Nations feedback.


    The North Arm Jetty was constructed in 1916 to aid in navigation, creating a 6.8-kilometre-long barrier and altering connectivity between the North Arm of the Fraser River and the rest of the estuary. This barrier interrupts the natural movement of juvenile salmon and other fish species, forcing them directly from freshwater river areas into the deeper waters of the Strait of Georgia, bypassing the brackish marsh, tidal channels, and mudflat habitats upon which they rely to make the transition from freshwater to saline ocean water. The jetty is under the jurisdiction of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. It extends from the northwestern tip of Iona Island, and is located directly adjacent to Iona Beach Regional Park.

    Shared Goals

    The North Arm Jetty Breaches Project is supported by Metro Vancouver and is aligned with the ecological restoration goals of the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant projects.

    Project Partners

    Ducks Unlimited Canada, Tsawwassen First Nation, Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, with support from Metro Vancouver.

    Funding for Raincoast’s project provided by the Coastal Restoration Fund and the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund.

    Contact Raincoast Conservation Foundation

    Email Dave Scott at dave@raincoast.org

    Learn more about Raincoast's work in the Fraser River estuary at the Raincoast Site.

    Project Information Session

    A project information session, cohosted by Metro Vancouver, was held on May 27, 2021:

  • Procurement

    IIWWTP Pre-Procurement Market Sounding – Consulting Engineering Services

    In November 2022, Metro Vancouver invited consulting engineering firms with expertise in wastewater design to participate in pre-procurement market sounding discussions. The purpose of the market sounding was to give participants an opportunity to learn more about the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant (IIWWTP) Upgrade, share their interest in the project, and offer feedback in support of Metro Vancouver’s planning for procurement in 2023. Participants were provided with an Information Brief and a Discussion Guide to learn more about the project and to prepare responses and questions of their own.

    Using these materials to guide the conversations, IIWWTP project team members held several meetings with participants that were focused on level of interest and marketplace capacity, packaging and procurement approaches, terms and conditions, and risks.

    Insights from the market will help the project team improve and finalize its procurement strategy and timelines, which will support Metro Vancouver as it embarks on its largest infrastructure project to date. The team will continue to welcome and review submitted feedback and incorporate input, where applicable, as it refines approach, procurement processes, and associated documentation related to the IIWWTP Projects.

    Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade – Consulting Engineering Services (Designer) Procurement

    The project team continues its pre-procurement activity in anticipation of the release of the Consulting Engineering Services (Designer) Request for Proposals (RFP) for the design of the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade. The RFP is scheduled for market release in mid-spring 2023, with the intent to award the contract towards the end of the year. Over the past several months, the team has been undertaking market sounding activities with wastewater and water project owners as well as with firms with expertise in designing large-scale wastewater projects.

    Reference Documents

    November 2022

    February 2023




2018 – 2022False12018 – 2022<div class="ExternalClass93E0B306BBE344AEA8263ADFE37A1E9F">Project Definition<br></div>
2022 – 2028True22022 – 2028<div class="ExternalClass9865035ABCB94BA892462C6B00935A25">Design & Construction of Early Works and Ground Improvements</div>
2022 – 2035False32022 – 2035<div class="ExternalClass08EAAA4BABF94891B12E923DEA29C470">Design & Construction of Treatment Plant</div>
2022 – 2038False42022 – 2038<div class="ExternalClass27A5A6CB977A495CB46DCBD7E4654291">Design & Construction of Ecological Restoration and Park Projects</div>
2035False52035<div class="ExternalClass1E32746A1DBB4EB1B1D763A891B6AE19">Plant Operational<br></div>




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