Supporting wastewater projects can be pretty routine for DCC, but a unique challenge during the replacement of a 70‑year-old lift station in the Fort Henry Heights area of CFB Kingston has made this particular project memorable.

“Last summer Department of National Defence (DND) personnel spotted a large Northern Map Turtle, a species of Special Concern, laying eggs in a gravel area of the work area,” said Mark Kent, DCC Coordinator, Construction Services, Kingston.

That single nest caused the course of the whole project to change. The team responded quickly to reconfigure schedules, workflows, and methodologies, as the area was zoned off for several months while awaiting the eggs to hatch. When they didn’t leave the nest prior to winter, the hatchlings were collected by an ecologist for re-homing at a wildlife care facility. Strong relationships between DND, multiple DCC service lines, the contractor, and environmental experts ensured the team was able to keep the project moving.

“It really represented a great joint effort in terms of resolution,” said Mark. “By working together, we were able to identify unexpected environmental conditions, collaborate on review, and take action to mitigate ill-effects to the project while remaining responsible environmental stewards.”

While most of the underground work was completed before the ground froze, commissioning of the lift station is expected in the spring. The new facility includes features like a Fibre-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) wet well, robust submersible pumps and advanced controls that bring it up to modern standards. A new more efficiently routed gravity sanitary sewer system incorporates a notable change in ownership of both lands and underground plant, relinquishing management of wastewater generated by the nearby Parks Canada-owned Fort Henry National Historic Site.

As for the turtles, the ecologist will release them into their natural habitat in the spring near their original nest location, with oversight from DCC’s Environmental Services team.

“I like baby turtles as much as the next person,” said Mark. “Just not on my jobsite!”

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