New Metro pump station will get water moving

$46-million project should be done by next June 2015

Engineer Steven Lewis beside one of the couplers that will link pumps to outflow mains in Metro Vancouver's Barnston Maple Ridge Pump Station.

Engineer Steven Lewis beside one of the couplers that will link pumps to outflow mains in Metro Vancouver's Barnston Maple Ridge Pump Station.

Neighbours seem to be getting used to the idea now that the Barnston Maple Ridge Pump Station at 200th Street and Lougheed Highway is nearing completion.

The $46-million project, which straddles the border of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, is less than a year from operation. Then the five big pumps start up and begin pushing water to Maple Ridge’s thirsty and growing eastern suburbs, as well as across the Fraser River to homes in Surrey and Langley.

“It should be very quiet actually,” said Metro Vancouver’s managing engineer Steven Lewis, who’s been keeping an eye on the project since construction started in March 2013.

“We’re not anticipating any noises issues whatsoever from the pump station at all.”

That’s because the machinery, five new Xylem pumps that will be able to move more than 300 million litres of water a day, will be below ground level, then enclosed in a new building with green roof with soil on top.

Metro Vancouver is building the pump station to prepare for more demand for tap water from suburbs in Maple Ridge and across the river.

The station will take water from the main that runs beneath the Lougheed Highway from the Coquitlam reservoir and pump it in pipes that run in two directions, south across the river and east into Maple Ridge.

The pumps, now in place but awaiting to be connected to their 1,000 horsepower electrical motors, will raise the pressure in the water mains.

“And by raising the pressure, we get higher flow through the mains,” said Lewis.

One feature of the pump station that had been considered is on hold, however. It had been thought that during times of low water demand that turbines could have been installed to take advantage of the normal, gravity-led flow of water. That could have produced electricity to offset the cost of power. But that feature is on hold for the moment, Lewis said.

In the meantime, the Barnston Maple Ridge Pump Station should open on schedule next June.

Once operating, the pump station will be controlled remotely from the Seymour filtration plant in North Vancouver, with staff making only periodic checks at the station.

The pump station dovetails with another Metro Vancouver project just underway in Maple Ridge – building a new metre-wide water main from along 128th Avenue from 200th to 224th Street.

That new supply will also ensure there’s plenty of water for the dishwashers and lawns of the new homes being built in eastern Maple Ridge. Completion for that project is expected early next year, after which widening of 128th Avenue to four lanes will begin.