WEX NEWS: Mohsen Mortada talks COLE’s wastewater success as Toronto goes Google-smart ahead of WEX 2020

Mohsen Mortada is President of Cole Engineering, a Canadian consulting and advisory services group involved in planning, engineering and P3 in the water, transportation, urban development and environmental sectors. At WEX 2020, Mohsen is chairing the Leaders Forum. This important panel discussion allows industry leaders from different sectors to share their vision of the future of the water and energy sectors in the context of changing economies and climate change. The session will also explore common themes in infrastructure development from various geographies and economic maturity.

Why do you come to WEX?

“The thing I like best about WEX is to see the old faces and keep up the relationships – even though I’ll be inviting some new people along this year. But it’s the spirit of the event that makes it special.”

What’s Cole Engineering up to at the moment?

“We have a contract to design one of the largest municipal WWTPs in Canada, a greenfield project in Western Canada. It’s an exciting opportunity. In the less developed parts of the world, green field wastewater treatment plants are common place.   The project has been prompted by a change in Canadian wastewater treatment regulations. The client has to increase their treatment capacity, to include tertiary treatment, and they will decommission their current plant.

“I am proud that COLE has been involved in two greenfield wastewater plant projects in Canada. COLE’s performance record and reputation, as well as strong client relationships are key to our continued success.   As regulations change, and in light of climate change, we will see more projects to modernise infrastructure”

“We’re also working on a crucial biosolids facility in Ontario, where Cole Engineering is based. The team conducted an economic and social analysis of the best method to treat these biosolids.”

“We have also been involved in many climate-induced projects as well as water modelling projects to optimise system performance and manage contamination in waterways.”

What about the circular economy?

“We are involved in water recycling, rain water storage, and energy generation projects.   Our planning and design teams have been very active in shaping the industry to create and support circular economies within our sphere”

And smart tech?

“In terms of smart tech, we’re involved in the federal Smart City Challenge, which is awarded to 5 cities across Canada for designing smart-city solutions. This initiative, which aims to improve quality of life through innovation, data and connected technology.  COLE has been involved in the Smart Cities initiative for the Toronto Region which provides the blue print for a smart region in the Greater Toronto Area (over 7.5 million people)

“In Toronto currently a smart city is being built on the Waterfront by Sidewalk Labs, a sister company to Google. There have been a lot of issues with privacy in terms of getting this to happen, and originally it was conceived to be 12 acres, whereas now it’s 5 acres. But it’s a really exciting project.

COLE has been investing in artificial intelligence as well to help provide better value to our clients.   This is in the form of internal systems and external services we offer clients.

Any other business?

“Here at Cole we’re placing a lot of emphasis on ‘resilience’ these days, and this will only continue to grow. We also continue to support our CSR initiative through support of Water for People, and working on projects like the Toronto Wild Life Center.”

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