Developing a Major Port: The Sustainability Challenge

Jan. 13, 2009

About the author: Brett Johnson is marketing director for Monteco. Johnson can be reached at 416.960.9968 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Deltaport—a shipping hub on the northwest coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and a key player in Asian/North American trade—has been expanding, with construction of a third berth to be completed in 2009. It is currently the largest container terminal in Canada and a central part of the Port of Vancouver, which ranks No. 1 among North American ports in total foreign exports.

Residents of the region are keenly attuned to water quality issues, and stringent environmental monitoring is integral to the Third Berth Project. The area contains critical watersheds and fragile ecosystems essential to the salmon run and the region’s entire economy.

At the core of its planning, Deltaport is installing 14 Stormceptor treatment systems, in addition to the 43 it installed during Stage I in 1996. Stormceptor systems trap and contain pollutants in rainwater runoff and spills, protecting water quality.

“With coastal projects, it’s all about water quality,” noted Brian Lee, P.E., a storm water specialist with Imbrium Systems. “Cities, ports authorities, developers—what they want are ironclad products. And when it comes to the long-term, you really get what you pay for.”

An “Inter-Modal” Gateway

Opened in 1997 and operated by TSI, Deltaport is located at Roberts Bank, 40 km south of Vancouver's inner harbor. Together with other Port of Vancouver sites, it trades $43 billion in goods annually with economic leaders in Asia and around the world.

Mostly impervious surfaces comprise the Pacific shipping hub.

With more than 65 hectares of mostly impervious surface, Deltaport is an inter-modal site filled with trucks, trains and heavy equipment constantly on the move. It is a hub for a wide variety of cargo, including hazardous materials with the potential for spill of plastics and numerous chemicals, not to mention hydrocarbon runoff during rainstorms and daily cleaning.

Engineering for the Environment

In Phase I, Deltaport’s engineers installed groups of smaller Stormceptors working in tandem rather than one or two large end-of-pipe units. This has proven to be the best solution for the site conditions. With less flow to handle and less dilution, the concentrations of pollutants are the highest at the immediate sources, and the tandem systems achieve optimum removal capacity.

Engineers installed groups of smaller systems in tandem.

The Third Berth Project will similarly install Stormceptors in tandem. The project increases the capacity of the Port by approximately 450,000 20-ft equivalent units by adding a third berth and 20 hectares of container storage facilities. Central project components include a wharf; land for a container storage yard; tug moorage area; a ship access channel; terminal services and infrastructure; environmental habitat creation; and additional rail track.

Stormceptors are in use at numerous major ports in North America, in a variety of configurations depending on specific environmental conditions.

About the Author

Brett Johnson