CN wastewater treatment plants handle industrial wastewater generated by railyard activities, such as locomotive oil changes and exterior washes, use of industrial lubricants from locomotive repair shops, and locomotive coolants before these can be safely discharged into municipal systems.
CN’s outdated wastewater treatment plants at its MacMillan (Toronto) and Prince George (British Columbia) yards were recently upgraded thanks to dedicated ‘EcoChampions’ who took on the challenge.
Syed Tibu, Manager, Wastewater, who is based in Calgary, and Seble Afework, Manager, Environmental Operations Assessment, from Toronto, led a complete replacement of the system at MacYard and a partial upgrade of the system at Prince George after a risk assessment, CN says.
Essential site support was provided by Suzanne Carlson, Environment Officer, based in Prince George, and Patrick Noonan, Environment Coordinator from Toronto, during the upgrades. The specifications for the facilities, the railway says, were run through a CN sustainability software that considers social, economic and environmental factors in a system’s design and construction.
“We installed new technology that not only improved wastewater effluent compliance but also increased the energy efficiency of the plants,” said Syed. The new systems, according to CN, are 5% more energy-efficient, saving more than 121,459 kWh of energy per year, or $11,239. The increased efficiency is expected to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other pollutants. Approximately 47,612 Kg of CO2 will be saved per year, the railway says.
During the upgrades at Prince George, city bylaws were changed to include more stringent effluent limits. The team decided to use salvaged equipment to meet the new requirements from another CN site. According to the railway, the upgraded Prince George wastewater treatment plant is the first CN site using this treatment method with the help of the salvaged equipment. “The new design improves employee safety, environmental compliance, sustainability and work efficiency, thanks to automation,” added Syed. “There were strong benefits all around.”
CN’s EcoConnexions Employee Engagement program–a partnership with Earth Rangers–“drives sustainability across CN’s network by empowering employees and their families to conserve energy, reduce waste and improve housekeeping.”
Click here to view a video about EcoChampion Syed Tibu.