Courtice Water Pollution Control Plant

An Integrated Resource Recovery (IRR) strategy was developed for the Courtice Water Pollution Control Plant and was a first step towards the sustainability of this 68.2 MLD plant. The study searched for technical solutions to derive value from the plant’s waste and to minimize its inputs. The results not only brought focus to the Region, which lead to the IRR option to pursue further into the design and implementation phase, but also immediate improvements with the implementation of short-term solutions.

Commissioned in late 2007, the Courtice Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP), located in the Region of Durham, Ontario, has an average day rated capacity of 68.2 MLD with a peak hourly flow capacity of 180 MLD. Courtice WPCP treats wastewater using a nitrified activated sludge process with an anoxic selector and ferric chloride addition for phosphorus removal. WSP was retained to produce an Integrated Resource Recovery (IRR) strategy for the Courtice WPCP, which identified technical solutions to derive value from the plant’s waste and to minimize its inputs.


Phase 1

During the first phase, the IRR feasibility study included brainstorming sessions with operators and engineering staff from the Region of Durham, as well as engineers and technical staff from WSP (including several world-wide specialists). During the brainstorming sessions, 62 IRR opportunities were identified. The solutions were divided into five categories: Biogas Production/Biosolids Utilization; Biogas Utilization; Energy Efficiency; Heat, Electricity & Water Optimization; and Nutrient Recovery. Each of these opportunities passed through an initial screening to assess their feasibility and practicality for implementation at the Courtice WPCP, resulting in 32 solutions being short-listed.

Following a technical assessment, the short-listed alternatives underwent a sustainability assessment whereby the level of economic, social and environmental benefits for each solution was evaluated and scored. Based on the sustainability assessment, the preferred alternative was determined to be process optimization, in order to increase biogas production (thickening or thermal hydrolysis) and biogas upgrades for injection into natural gas network use or use as transit fuel.

The first part of the IRR feasibility study created a powerful tool to help the Region identify and evaluate IRR options, not only at this moment, but also in the future. The developed analysis tool and evaluative framework can be further modified with new parameters (i.e. regulatory landscape, market and viability of various technologies, pricing of natural gas, electricity, renewable natural gas/biogas, environmental attributes/carbon pricing, etc.).

Aerial view of Courtice Water Pollution Control Plant.

Rated Flow
68.2 ML/d 68.2 ML/d
Peak Flow
180 ML/d 180 ML/d
970 m 970 m
Number of Opportunities Identified
62 62
Number of Opportunities Short-listed
32 32

Phase 2

In the second phase, the solutions with higher scores were carried forward for additional considerations by the Region. The main objectives of Phase 2 were to assess the selected options and define a preferred option in each category. The scope of work included different features, depending on each category, as follow:

Biogas Utilization

  • A financial/economic model to reflect structural changes.
  • Risk assessment and sensitive analysis.
  • A decision matrix to assist in selecting a preferred option.


Biogas Production/Biosolids Utilization

  • Analysis and comparison of options to recommend preferred option.
  • Preliminary design of selected option, including conceptual drawings, technology review and equipment selection, construction sequencing plan, implementation plan and schedule, scope of work for all design stages.

Energy Efficiency

  • Preliminary/detail design, including contract documents, specifications, process control narratives, and tendering of two blowers and aeration mixing system upgrades.


Nutrient Recovery

  • Preliminary layouts and schematics of Bio-P use with side-stream hydrolysis.


Water Optimization

  • Review of the effluent water system current deficiencies and developing a preliminary action list to upgrade and optimize the existing effluent water system.

The Integrated Resource Recovery strategy has brought focus to Durham Region and enabled further pursuing of the design and implementation phase. Moreover, it has brought immediate improvements with the implementation of short-term solutions.