• John Jantak

Pincourt looking into new system to eliminate wastewater odours


Pincourt will install a new mainframe computer at its wastewater treatment facility on Boulevard Cardinal-Léger as part of modernization efforts. It is also looking into possibly installing a new centrifuge system to separate solid waste which could help to significantly reduce foul odours emanating from the plant.

The Town of Pincourt will make important upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant beginning this year which should help to substantially reduce the foul odours that have bothered area residents for the past several years, especially during the summer.

One important renovation will involve modernizing the plant’s mainframe computer to make sure all the pipes and other components related to the wastewater treatment process are running in sync. The upgrade was announced as one of the town’s major triennial infrastructure projects for 2019. It was adopted during the town’s budget meeting in December.

New mainframe operating system

The importance of bringing the mainframe computer into the 21st century can’t be underestimated, said Town Manager Michel Perrier. “The equipment dates back to 1990. It’s more than 28 years old. It’s like trying to send someone to Mars with the same equipment that was used to send the astronauts to the moon in 1969,” he said.

“We can’t continue like this. We’re putting everything in jeopardy. We’re basically at the point now that whenever we have to do an update or maintenance, there’s no one that deals with this old technology. We have spare parts galore but you need people to be able to repair it and there’s no one out there anymore who’s able to replace it,” Perrier added.

The upgrade will allow the operator to see every aspect of the plant in operation including the pumping station. “It’s the main computer that controls the entire operation. There are different types of pumps. Some of them are on demand. Others operate at variable speeds. All these pumps have to be synchronized with the level of water coming through and the matter that has to be treated,” said Perrier.

New solid waste treatment process

The town is also considering installing a new centrifuge system to deal with solid waste particles. “We’re presently testing different types of components. Once we have all the results, we will make a recommendation to council to replace the electro-dehydration machine for another completely different type of technology,” said Perrier.

The major drawback to the electro-dehydration machine presently used is the odour it produces. “The machine we have right now uses electrical current that goes through the matter to dry it up. It’s like you’re baking it. It’s same principle as when you put something into the oven at home. It smells,” Perrier said.

“Even if we push the aroma up into the air, the particles fall back. It’s not a good thing to have in an urban setting like ours. It’s not the right technology for us, so we’re going to correct that,” added Perrier.

A change to a centrifuge system to deal with solid waste remains would help to significantly eliminate odours, said Perrier. “This technology is based on gravity which pushes the solid elements in the machine to the bottom so that the water is extracted,” he said.

Mayor Yvan Cardinal is optimistic the town will eventually find the right solution. “We’ve been working hard on this matter and we’re still trying to find a solution,” said Cardinal. “It’s not simple.”