Overview of Projects

The Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond, BC is being upgraded. The design concept for the upgrade includes tertiary treatment and a range of ecological restoration projects.

Metro Vancouver wants to ensure the wastewater treatment plant makes a positive contribution to the health and well-being of people and the environment.

The upgraded plant and related ecological projects will be designed to:

  • Improve the level of treatment from primary to tertiary to protect water quality and the marine environment
  • Withstand an earthquake and sea level rise
  • Integrate with Iona Beach Regional Park and the surrounding environment
  • Restore fish habitat, protect bird habitat and enhance terrestrial ecosystems
  • Minimize odour
  • Recover sustainable energy and resources from wastewater 

Project Update

  • Lagoon Clean Out May to November 2022 - posted on November 01, 2022

    Over the next five years, each of the treated sludge lagoons will be cleaned out in preparation to support the wastewater treatment plant upgrade construction and to prepare the site. Each area will be re-purposed for alternate uses during and after the IIWWTP projects construction.

    From approximately May to November 2022, Metro Vancouver will begin cleaning out the southeast lagoon. This work will resume in spring 2023 for approximately six months, and occur yearly until 2027. Work will occur from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday to Saturday.

    During clean out operations, a barge will float on the lagoon surface and dredge out the biosolids from the bottom. The liquid biosolids will be pumped to two centrifuges, located on a concrete dewatering pad, which separates the water from the biosolids.

    All four lagoons will be cleaned out by the end of 2027.

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

  • In-Water Geotechnical Investigations (October 2022) - posted on October 01, 2022

    In May 2022, Metro Vancouver began land-based geotechnical investigations to support the IIWWTP Projects. In-water drilling and sampling investigations in the North Arm Fraser River and in McDonald Slough are expected to begin in October 2022 and will occur over a two-week period, see map below for locations. The on-land geotechnical drilling investigations on Iona Island will facilitate infrastructure planning and project design, and the in-water investigations will inform seismic modelling. The timing for the program will respect bird nesting and in-water work windows. Metro Vancouver is working with consultants and contractors to mitigate potential impacts to existing habitats throughout the site.

Ongoing Priority Activities

Metro Vancouver is continuing to deliver on priority project activities that will not be impacted by any design refinements, including:

  • Removal of biosolids stockpiles at the existing treatment plant
  • Lagoon cleanout activities
  • Geotechnical investigations
  • Technical studies for ecological restoration projects
  • Work to obtain required permits and approvals
  • Design of a barge berth for transportation of construction materials to and from Iona Island
  • Improvements to roads and upgraded electrical servicing on Sea Island and Iona Island

Visitors to Iona Island may see crews conducting field investigations or other work related to the activities listed above. We will continue to keep you updated about what to expect on the island and in the surrounding area as the projects progress.

March 2022 Conceptual Design and Project Definition Report Approval (Stage Gate 1) APPROVED

On March 25, 2022, the Project Definition Report and Conceptual Design was approved by the Greater Vancouver Sewerage & Drainage District (GVS&DD).

The overall project will now move into the preliminary design phase.

To learn more:

Project Definition Engagement Is Now Complete (2018 to February 2022)

Thank you to everyone who has participated in engagement and shared feedback with us since 2018. Your input, along with the conceptual design and Project Definition Report, was shared with the Liquid Waste Committee on March 9, 2022 and the GVS&DD Board on March 25, 2022.

Please see the “Past Engagement Events and Meeting Summaries” section below for more information about engagement activities.

Ongoing opportunities for engagement will be provided in the preliminary design phase.

Questions or comments? Please email IonaWWTP@metrovancouver.org

  • Community Engagement

    Metro Vancouver is working closely with key stakeholders, the public, and First Nations to ensure this project considers their interests and fits with the community.

    Metro Vancouver will:

    • 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
    • provide information in a timely manner
    • 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 project
  • Past Engagement Events and Meeting Summaries

    Preliminary Design Phase

    • Online meeting with North Arm Fraser River Marine Users Group - June 20, 2022
    • Online meeting with Hub Cycling - June 15, 2022
    • Online meeting with Ecological Technical Advisory Panel (ETAP) – June 1, 2022

    Project Definition Phase

    • Online meeting with Deering Island Homeowners’ Society & West Southlands Residents Association – February 24, 2022
    • Online Stakeholder Meeting (Birders & Naturalists) – December 17, 2021
    • Presentation

    • Online Stakeholder Meeting (Birders & Naturalists) – October 18, 2021
    • Meeting recording


    • Online Community Meetings – October 12 & 14, 2021
    • Meeting recording


    • Online meeting with Deering Island Homeowners’ Society – September 24, 2021
    • Online meeting with Vancouver Bird Advisory Committee – October 5, 2020
    • Online meeting with Deering Island Homeowners’ Society – September 29, 2020
    • Iona Beach Regional Park pop-up engagement booth – September 26, 2020
    • Online Stakeholder Meeting (Birders & Naturalists) – September 10, 2020
    • Presentation


    • Iona Beach Regional Park pop-up engagement booth – August 24, 2020
    • Engagement booth at Burkeville Daze – June 21, 2020 (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
    • Online Community Meetings – May 19 & 21, 2020
    • Presentation


    • Online stakeholder workshop (Birds, lagoons & community integration) - May 13, 2020
    • Presentation


    • Engagement booth at Richmond Public Works Open House – May 9, 2020 (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
    • Online meeting with Rotary Club of Richmond - April 22, 2020
    • Community Workshop #2 – March 31, 2020 (Cancelled and rescheduled as May 2020 Online Community Meetings due to COVID-19)
    • Engagement booth at Marpole-Oakridge Family Event Day event – February 15, 2020
    • Engagement booth at VSB Student Sustainability Conference – February 14, 2020
    • Stakeholder workshop (Breaches & fish migration) – January 29, 2020
    • Engagement booth at Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup event at Iona Beach Regional Park – September 21, 2019
    • Engagement booth at Wings Over Iona event at Iona Beach Regional Park – August 24, 2019
    • Stakeholder workshop (Ecology & partnerships) – June 11, 2019
    • Meeting with Vancouver Bird Advisory Committee – June 10, 2019
    • Meeting with Dunbar Resident's Association – May 7, 2019
    • Stakeholder Workshop (Birds & lagoons) – Thursday April 4, 2019
    • Presentation


    • Community Workshop #1 - Wednesday, January 9, 2019
    • Presentation


    • Engagement booth at Iona Beach Regional Park Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup – September 15, 2018
    • Iona Beach Regional Park pop-up engagement booth – July 21, 2018
    • Iona Beach Regional Park pop-up engagement booth – July 12, 2018
    • Musqueam Celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day – June 21, 2018
  • Other Projects in the Area

    Raincoast Conservation Foundation’s North Arm Jetty Breaches Project


    Raincoast Conservation Foundation is constructing three 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.

    Construction of the first breach will begin in January 2022 and will take approximately two weeks to complete. Construction of two further breaches is expected to follow in fall 2022 and 2023 respectively.

    Based on Raincoast’s recent experience constructing similar breaches in the Steveston Jetty on the South Arm of the Fraser River, the project is expected to allow for significant passage of juvenile salmon while having a negligible impact on navigation.

    Click here to see a map of the breach locations.


    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.

    Reference Documents

    November 2022

    February 2023




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