Kingston lake water cooling project showcases DCC teamwork

The photo shows 1 of 12 piles being driven 7 m into sound bedrock in late November 2013.

The photo shows 1 of 12 piles being driven 7 m into sound bedrock in late November 2013.

Teamwork and smarts are helping DCC put an end to the impact of the ubiquitous zebra mussels on a district cooling system at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston.

The college’s main academic complex comprises three buildings with a combined area of 42,000 m2. For air conditioning, each facility relies on a cooling system constructed in the 1970s that draws raw Lake Ontario water through a vast network of piping. When zebra mussels invaded the Great Lakes in the late 1980s, they colonized in the cooling system at RMC. This invasion fouled the intake pipes and disrupted operations, and has required unplanned maintenance ever since.

The current project involves creating new distribution loops that separate an open lake-water side of the system from a new closed loop on the building side, all with a new heat exchanger in the inside of a new pump house.

The DCC team has faced its share of challenges with this project, says Craig Butler, DCC Technical Specialist, Project Management, including substantial work in the water. This required scheduling in-water site work only during the cooler months when fisheries habitat wouldn’t be disturbed. That led to sending divers into frigid Lake Ontario, first in December for exploratory work, and then in February to vacuum up 16 m3 of contaminated sediment near the current installation, allowing further work to proceed.

Between March 3 and 7, 2014, contract divers took the polar plunge to vacuum up approximately 16 m3 of contaminated sediment from Navy Bay, using a 152-mm hose and pump.

Between March 3 and 7, 2014, contract divers took the polar plunge to vacuum up approximately 16 m3 of contaminated sediment from Navy Bay, using a 152-mm hose and pump.

When it came time to dewatering that sediment, the team supervised the set up of an elaborate system of Geotube sediment bags into which the lake water was pumped, so the contaminated sediment remained contained. To prevent leakage of water, the bags had to be located in a plastic-lined metal container. The team searched around for ideas, and Ron Bachelder, Coordinator, Construction Services, came up with a good one—a dumpster, something easily found on a construction site.

Butler, Bachelder and colleague Andrew Mack, Team Leader, Environmental Services, have been the driving forces behind this construction project, and have worked as a team to tackle the various challenges the project has presented. “It’s a very good example of the integration of services that DCC is trying to achieve,” notes Butler. “We have had the fast and flexible expert resources at hand to move the complex site issues along.”

With winter finally receding, the team is working to have the $2.8-million project completed and the new system up and running by late May, in time for the summer cooling season.


In our past issues

Digging deep to overcome challenges and build a new home for CFS St. John's

The world was a different place back in the 1950s when the perceived threat of a Soviet nuclear attack over the Arctic weighed heavy on the minds of American and Canadian politicians, the military and Canadians at large. As a result, the Mid-Canada Radar Line (MCRL) was born, a sort of "Plan B" or reinforcement for the primary Distant Early Warning (DEW Line) designed to warn of incoming Soviet threats from the air.