Vancouver gets $250 million to upgrade water treatment plant

The province of British Columbia is providing Metro Vancouver with a third of the funding to needed upgrade the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond. 

The Province is providing $250 million to Metro Vancouver to cover one-third of the total cost of Phase 1 of the upgrade project. Funds will support facility upgrades that will help improve wastewater capacity and quality for more than 750,000 residents, address seismic resiliency, and protect residents’ health and the Fraser River’s ecosystem.

The Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant is one of the last remaining facilities in the Metro Vancouver region that needs to be updated to meet a federal regulatory requirement.

Plan for the new Iona plant.

“The Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant provides services to people in Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, University of British Columbia and the University Endowment Lands, and the Musqueam Indian Band,” said Anne Kang, minister of municipal affairs.

“We are working together to make sure needed infrastructure is updated and maintained so communities can thrive into the future.”

Metro Vancouver is engaging with local First Nations through the project planning phase and is working closely with the Musqueam Indian Band whose primary lands are directly across the north arm of the Fraser River from the Iona facility.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to the Province for cost sharing in one of the largest and most transformative infrastructure projects Metro Vancouver has ever undertaken,” said George V. Harvie, board chair, Metro Vancouver. “Together, we are protecting important marine environments, creating jobs, improving resiliency to climate change and taking meaningful steps toward reconciliation.”

The upgrades must meet federal regulatory requirements. Phase 1 is underway and is scheduled to conclude in 2026. This work sets the foundation for additional updates to address treatment regulations.

The federal Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulation requires a minimum of secondary treatment at the Iona facility.

Metro Vancouver is completing upgrades to each of its five regional wastewater treatment plants within the region.