Quesnel City Council has renewed its contract with Cariboo Pulp for secondary sewage treatment at the mill, but this time with an added provision for a lengthy shutdown.
City Manager Byron Johnson, speaking at this week’s meeting, noted that it was for a temporary suspension notice…
“So in theory if the pulp mill was to be down for more than a one month period it could provide notice to the city that we would need to be willing to pick up the full cost of running that lagoon, if they chose to do that after a one month period.”
Johnson says it would actually be the city and the CRD paying as the Regional District has a similar agreement with Cariboo Pulp for the Red Bluff sewer system…
“Both the city and the CRD utilize the lagoon system at the pulp mill. The charge back is based on the relative volume of total wastewater treated. In addition any capital charges that relate to the specific lagoon used and conveyancing systems used are charged back on that same percentage to the city and CRD.”
Councillor Ron Paull wanted to know if the pulp mill were to shut down would the city be able to continue to use the lagoon.
Johnson’s answer was yes…
“In fact, there is language in the contract which specifically addresses that issue and creates ability for the city and the CRD to actually, in the worse case scenario of a permanent closure of that plant, we could actually take that over and purchase that off them. And we have done some engineer work around that as well and feel it would be feasible to do that.”
Johnson says the new five year agreement calls for an increase of 10.5 percent by the end of the contract.
He says the total cost for the city in 2019 was $108,000, an amount he says provides excellent value to the city, as it could not provide secondary sewage treatment for many times the cost of this current arrangement.