Waneta Expansion Project

Our work on the Waneta Expansion Project protected the local ecosystem, saved the client money and exceeded employment targets established with our First Nations partners.

In 2010, the Waneta Expansion Limited Partnership awarded us a design-build contract to enlarge the existing Waneta hydroelectric power plant in Trail, British Columbia. The project involved building a new 335‑MW powerhouse with two new Francis turbine-generator units, each producing approximately 167 MW.

Capitalizing on untapped power

At the outset, the Waneta power plant had ample unused water stored on site. We designed a second power generating facility on the left bank of the existing dam to capitalize on this surplus reservoir water. Our solution had a twofold advantage: it made effective use of an existing resource while reducing dissolved gases downstream. The power generated at Waneta is set to serve 60,000 households in British Columbia annually.

Working hand-in-hand with First Nations

Two First Nations have a cultural interest in the area surrounding the Waneta plant. Through a Community Benefits Agreement, we made them true participants in the project by hiring local Aboriginal workers and companies. During the construction, we frequently exceeded our 5% target for employing members of these local First Nations communities.

“SNC-Lavalin has met every condition of the benefits agreement and demonstrated themselves to be very open, honourable, dependable and diligent in maximizing the participation of Ktunaxa communities, citizens and businesses in any opportunities arising from the Waneta Expansion Project,”

said Helder Ponte, Director, Economic Sector, Ktunaxa Nation Council.

Caring for the local ecosystem

We created special environmental work and task plans for contractors to protect the at-risk species in the project area. This included rubber boas, yellow-bellied racers, western skinks and white sturgeon. For the first time on a hydro project, exclusion screens were used to prevent white sturgeon from being injured by the turbine runner.

Our teams also developed customized fencing to facilitate the movement of certain species, treatment plants for all construction and runoff water, sensitive and controlled blasting specifications, and a program to closely monitor nesting birds.

Finally, we recommended using special low-turbidity suction dredging to remove existing contaminants from the reservoir. This approach limited harm to fish and stopped contaminants from travelling downstream into the Columbia River system.

 Sustainability achievements:
  • Our design harnesses power from previously unused water to provide electricity to 60,000 households.
  • Our plans protected at-risk species and prevented contaminant migration.  
  • We exceeded targets for involving Aboriginal workers and businesses.

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