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South End Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade

SEWPCC Aerial Image

The South End Sewage Treatment Plant, otherwise known as the South End Water Pollution Control Centre (SEWPCC), is Winnipeg's second largest sewage treatment plant. It treats approximately 20 per cent of the city's wastewater by replicating physical and biological processes that occur in nature, at an accelerated rate.

The Winnipeg Sewage Treatment Program (WSTP) is overseeing the upgrade of the treatment plant to:

  • add biological removal of both nitrogen and phosphorous from the wastewater
  • add a new process to treat wet weather flows
  • expand the plant capacity to meet expected population growth in the area.

These changes include the addition of industry leading technologies to the treatment process.

Adding bioreactors to remove nitrogen and phosphorous from wastewater

As part of the upgrade project, three bioreactors are being built at SEWPCC. Bioreactors are tanks where organic matter is broken down, at an accelerated rate, with the aid of microorganisms.

Integrated Fixed-film Activated Sludge (IFAS) plastic carriers increase surface area to promote more bacteria to grow, increasing treatment capacity.

The three bioreactors at SEWPCC will be equipped with a new process developed by Veolia called Integrated Fixed-film Activated Sludge (IFAS). One of the first installations in Canada, these small plastic carriers are added to the bioreactors tanks to create more surface area allowing for increased bacteria growth and greater capacity for nutrient removal.

Adding capacity to handle Manitoba's Weather

During periods of heavy rainfall or snowmelt, the additional volume of water in the sewer system can sometimes exceed the capacity of the SEWPCC.

To effectively treat these wet weather events, two new high-rate clarifiers will be added to SEWPCC . High rate clarifiers provide additional capacity to the plant as needed and can be turned off without affecting the rest of treatment process when not needed. This approach keeps the rest of the plant at an optimized size and reduces operating costs. The high rate clarifiers are expected to operate frequently during spring due to snowmelt and intermittently during the summer during high volume rainstorms. They should not be required during the dry winter months.

To see the high rate clarifiers in action!

  • Construction of the new facilities at SEWPCC requires more than 32,000 m3 of concrete. This is enough concrete to pour the basements for 640 new homes.
  • This project required the installation of approximately 2,200 piles. If all these piles were stacked on top of each other, they would reach a height of 72,200 feet - 2.5 times the height of Mount Everest.
  • The new technologies being added to the treatment processes at SEWPCC will result in significant performance increases:
    • Approximately four times more nitrogen removal.
    • Approximately three times more phosphorous removal.
  • The upgrades will allow SEWPCC to treat enough wastewater to fill 24 Olympic sized swimming pools, every day.

The scope of the plant upgrade includes:

  • New screens and grit removal
  • New Actiflo high-rate clarifier system for wet weather flow treatment
  • Three new Integrated Fixed-film Activated Sludge (IFAS) Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) reactors
  • Two new secondary clarifiers
  • Upgrades to the existing ultra-violet (UV) disinfection system
  • New 66kV power substation

SEWPCC Upgrade progress reports & plans


Detailed Design

August 2017

Construction of Site Preparation and Piling (Contract 1)

July 2015

Construction of High Rate Clarifier and Grit Removal Structural and Misc. Works (Contract 2)

August 2016

Construction of Major Concrete Works (Contract 3)

July 2018

Construction of Remaining Works (Contract 4)

December 2021 This link will direct you to the City of Winnipeg Purchasing webpage that provides Bid Opportunity information. Bid Opportunities can be searched based on the reference numbers listed below.

  • City of Winnipeg Bid Opportunity 333-2014 for Contract 1. Site preparation, earthworks and piling.
  • City of Winnipeg Bid Opportunity 601-2015 for Contract 2. High Rate Clarifier and Grit Removal Concrete and Miscellaneous Works.
  • City of Winnipeg Bid Opportunity 899-2015 for Contract 3. Bioreactors, Blower Building, and Secondary Clarifiers Structural Concrete, and Miscellaneous Work.
  • City of Winnipeg Bid Opportunity 976-2016 for Contract 4. Chemical/Electrical Bld, Grit Bld, Duct Banks, Bypass, Envelopes, Substation, Facility M&E, Headworks Modifications, System Integration

Manitoba Environment Act Licence No. 2716RR
This link will direct you to the Provincial Government of Manitoba website to view a copy of Licence No. 2716RR.

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  • Dry weather flow is the base flow of wastewater that reaches the treatment plant during the winter months of December, January, and February. During winter the flows arriving at SEWPCC aren't expected to increase due to weather conditions such as rainstorms or heavy snow melt.
  • Wet weather flow occurs with the snow melt in spring and severe rainstorms during the summer months, resulting in higher flows of wastewater arriving at the treatment plant. On average, we can expect 100 wet weather events to occur each year.
  • Biological nutrient removal reactors use activated sludge, which is composed of bacteria and organic material, to remove carbon, phosphorous, and nitrogen as the bacteria multiplies. No chemicals are required.
  • A biological nutrient removal reactor has six zones. Each zone is optimized for different types of bacteria, to allow them to flourish and remove nutrients from wastewater.
  • SEWPCC is at capacity and an expansion is necessary to accommodate the growth in the south end of the City
  • To meet the requirements of Manitoba Regulatory Licence (2716RRlink).
  • Currently, SEWPCC removes approximately 650 kg/day on average. After the upgrades are complete, SEWPCC will remove approximately four times more nitrogen, an estimated 3,000 kg/day.
  • Currently, SEWPCC removes approximately 150 kg/day on average.
  • After the upgrades are complete, SEWPCC will remove approximately three times more phosphorous, an estimated 450 kg/day.
Last updated: June 15, 2022

Did you know?

Service crews with the Wastewater Services, Local Sewer Branch work from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days a week, 364 days a year? They work on all holidays except Christmas Day. These are the staff that respond to sewer backups, plugged catch basins, missing manhole covers and street flooding. So, when you see these staff working on a weekend or on a holiday, you'll know they are not working overtime – they are simply working their regular shift.

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