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Headshot - Jeremy Klarenbach

Jeremy Klarenbach

Project Director, Graham Construction

Headshot - David Houghton Collared

David Houghton

Water/Wastewater Process Engineer, AECOM

Through an integrated partnership focused on community engagement and sustainability, AECOM and Graham Construction’s latest design-build project for the Capital Regional District is a masterpiece.

The design and construction of the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) recently-completed McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Victoria, BC, was a watershed moment for the community. Prior to the plant treating wastewater, it was only screened before being discharged into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, making Victoria one of the last major municipalities in Canada to treat its wastewater. Decades in the making — marked by years of planning and development — the site became operational in December 2020, thanks to a successful partnership between AECOM, the world’s premier infrastructure firm, and Graham Construction, a leading Canadian construction company.

Engaging the community every step of the way

“The design-build for the wastewater treatment plant had quite a few complex elements, including the plant being constructed on a very small worksite adjacent to the marine environment, a 1.8-kilometre high-density polyethylene marine outfall, and a horizontal directional drill across the Victoria Harbour ,” says Jeremy Klarenbach, Project Director at Graham.

Because of the project’s scale and complexity, engaging all stakeholders was critical. “We recognized early that our success was aligned very closely to engagement with the many stakeholders impacted by this project,” says David Houghton, Water/Wastewater Process Engineer at AECOM. “Fostering community relationships that feed into critical decision-making for large projects like this is something that AECOM and Graham collectively do very well.” AECOM and Graham supported the CRD in engaging stakeholders — including local community residents, Indigenous peoples, marine users, and the Department of National Defence — to ensure that their interests were understood and considered.

“Our focus at AECOM includes environmental and social aspects. We deliver a better world for everyone around us and that includes our neighbours,” says Houghton.

AECOM - Construction workers
Photo courtesy of AECOM

Putting a spotlight on sustainability and energy efficiency

Focusing on sustainability was an important consideration when designing and building the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, from protecting the surrounding natural environment during construction to an energy-efficient design.

The design includes many features that promote sustainability and energy efficiency, including heat recovery, a green roof, and more.

“We deliver projects that have intricate designs that are highly-efficient,” says Houghton. He notes the importance of designs that use fewer resources, not just in the construction phase but also once operations begin. “This plant will operate for the next 50 to 75 years. The long-term impact and future use of its daily energy consumption are very important in the design considerations,” he says.

Delivering excellence and a better world

Through strong community relationships, a focus on sustainability, and an integrated approach to partnership, AECOM and Graham succeeded in delivering critically important infrastructure needs to the community.

“Our partnership brought both companies’ strengths to the joint venture,” says Klarenbach. “We all took off our company hats before walking in the door to make sure we created a one-team environment. In combining our strengths, we were able to be quite nimble in our execution and to deliver the project on time and on budget.”

“Being able to complete this project on schedule, especially during a global pandemic, and making sure that safety protocols were met really speaks to our teamwork and the outstanding quality of the project,” says Houghton.

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