ISL Wins National Award for the Drayton Valley Water Treatment Plant

Alison Burton

November 12, 2019

The Town of Drayton Valley’s new water treatment plant is an 11,000 square-foot facility with treatment capacity of 18 million litres per day as well as 2,800 m3 of additional potable water storage. ISL Engineering and Land Services (ISL) is proud to be a part of building this “Centre of Excellence”.

On October 23, 2018, The Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of Canada (ACEC) awarded ISL with the Award of Excellence in Water Resources for their work on the Drayton Valley Water Treatment Plant.

The original plant was commissioned in 1971, and when it reached its capacity to provide potable water to the Town, and could no longer sustain the growing population, ISL was brought in to create a new facility.

“The client really drove the design of the project,” said Deon Wilner, Discipline Manager of Water and Wastewater for ISL. “They wanted something different. They wanted something unique.”

ISL worked closely with the Town and other subcontractors to create a modern facility that would become a focal point for the Town’s Centre for Water Intelligence. The result, a state-of-the-art plant that features sustainable design, improved efficiencies and a modern workspace – operators are proud to call home.

Designing with the client in mind

“While water plants are done all the time, our focus on incorporating sustainable features into the project as a whole made this truly unique,” Wilner said. He said that we have found several ways of doing things differently, making it innovative in many ways and really making it a project that they can showcase.

Some of the treatment plant features include solar wall heating, maximum daylight utilization by way of translucent windows and photovoltaic energy generation. To save on construction costs, the existing water treatment plant was converted into a raw water pump station to feed a water supply to the new treatment plant.

In addition, while public awareness and engagement were not initially outlined as goals for the project, the design was adapted to create a multipurpose space to accommodate public education tours.

“The Town of Drayton Valley has the Clean Energy Technology Centre, so they’re very driven towards innovation, and ways to put their Town on the map,” Wilner said. “We also wanted to build a plant where the operators would be extremely proud because with the shortage of operators in the province of Alberta and throughout Canada you can sometimes have trouble attracting an operator. Now they have pride, and people want to work there, so they can now attract people a lot easier than most plants can.”

“It’s bright, it’s clean, it’s technologically advanced – We absolutely love it here,” said Shelly George, an operator for the Town of Drayton Valley. “We love to come to work, we’re happy to come into work and we’re excited to be here. Everyone seems more ambitious about their jobs. ISL designed the job with us as operators in mind.”

“This is one of the most complex plants that I have worked at, but ISL has made it very simple for us to operate and maintain and easy to understand,” said Bill Adams, the Public Works Manager for the Town of Drayton Valley. “They’ve made it a fun plant for us to work in and they’ve made it a fun plant for us to showcase.”

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One of the things that we as a department have used for years is ‘design with the operator in mind.’ That’s been one of our mantras and has been for a very long time.

National Recognition

“ISL’s commitment to innovation, consideration of the needs of the client and the environment and water resource education were definitely key factors in our success at this year’s CCE Awards,” said Jason Kopan, ISL’s Project Manager and Manager of the Edmonton office. Jason said that it was truly an honour to deliver a project that both our team and our client are proud of, and be recognized for this achievement on a national stage.

“One of the things that we as a department have used for years is ‘design with the operator in mind.’ That’s been one of our mantras and has been for a very long time,” said Wilner. “It’s not only this award but from what the operators told us, what we’ve done on this, is really designed a plant that the operator are proud of, it’s easy for it to run everything we wanted to do. So our design mantra, design with the operator in mind, we’ve met it.”

Wilner further elaborated that he thought it was also the recognition of others seeing that we have done what we set out to do of satisfying our client and giving them a project that is sustainable and visually striking.

In addition to the national award, the facility also received a 2018 Consulting Engineers of Alberta (CEA) Award of Excellence in Water Resources and Energy Production.