Iona Island (Richmond)

The Iona Island wastewater treatment plant treated about 207 billion litres of wastewater in 2012. Located in Richmond at 1000 Ferguson Road, the plant provides primary treatment to wastewater from about 600,000 residents in Vancouver, the UBC Endowment Lands and parts of Burnaby and Richmond. Once treated, wastewater is discharged into the Strait of Georgia.

The plant opened in 1963 and has been expanded six times to accommodate population growth and treatments upgrades.

Treatment standards

The wastewater treatment plant is regulated through an Operational Certificate issued by the BC Ministry of Environment. The treated wastewater that is discharged from the plant is required to meet standards for biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids. Discharged wastewater must not exceed 130 mg/L for biochemical oxygen demand and 100 mg/L for total suspended solids. The plant’s daily average was 80 mg/L for biochemical oxygen demand and 54 mg/L for total suspended solids in 2012.

Recovering resources from wastewater

The plant uses anaerobic digestion to break down organic materials from wastewater to produce biosolids and methane gas. The methane is used to generate heat and electricity that is used to run the plant. The Iona Island plant produces enough energy to meet all of its own heat requirements and some of its electricity requirements. This reduces its greenhouse gas emissions by 390 tonnes every year. The plant produces about 9,500 bulk tonnes of biosolids every year.