Lacombe’s Wastewater Treatment Plan
The City of Lacombe takes its role as an environmental steward seriously, and is committed to being ecologically responsible and maintaining prudent, sustainable practices for municipal operations, now and into the future.
We have been working collaboratively with Lacombe County, the Town of Blackfalds, and the City of Red Deer toward the construction of a regional wastewater line to transport wastewater from Lacombe and Blackfalds to the City of Red Deer Wastewater Treatment Plan, with subsequent discharge of the treated water into the Red Deer River.
Last March, after much delay, the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater Services Commission announced that the Government of Alberta has approved $3.24 Million in project funding for 2016 towards detailed design and development for the regional wastewater line connecting Lacombe and Blackfalds to Red Deer.
I am pleased that the provincial government recognizes this regional wastewater line as a top priority for the City, and we are thankful for their support for this important infrastructure project, which will yield immediate economic benefits in terms of employment during construction, and will provide for much-needed long-term sustainability in addressing Lacombe’s critical wastewater needs.
The North Red Deer Regional Wastewater System is the second component of the Central Alberta Regional Wastewater System to reach construction. The project is currently scheduled to start construction in 2017.
While I’m happy that the regional wastewater line is proceeding, the timing of the construction leaves us in a critical position, where we have to take interim action to ensure that our current treatment facilities are in compliance with the Federal Fisheries Act and the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations.
|The City of Lacombe's current wastewater treatment lagoons.|
The City has been performing minor upgrades to its current wastewater system since 2007 in anticipation of the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater line; however, due to the delays in provincial funding for the pipeline, changes to federal regulations, and the pressures of a growing population, the current treatment provided by the municipal sanitary sewer lagoons does not meet effluent quality regulations required by Federal Government.
With the investigation and direction given to the City by Environment Canada, last March Council asked Stantec to scope a treatment study with the best solution for ammonia reduction.
We submitted a Lagoon Effluent Release Plan to Environment Canada in April, which was subsequently accepted. The plan identifies measures that the City will take when releasing wastewater from any discharge or overflow point in the treatment facility to prevent the deposit of acutely lethal effluent or other harmful substances that do not meet the requirements set out in the Fisheries Act.
The plan also identifies measures to mitigate, remedy, or counteract the deposit of any such effluent or harmful substance.
Council also approved the purchase and installation of an aeration lagoon cover system – semi-rigid flexible foam sheets – to help treatment over the winter, at a cost of approximately $1.2 Million.
This practical option will allow us to achieve regulatory compliance in the short-term, and it helps mitigate the cost of a larger “throw-away” expenditure that will be decommissioned as soon as the regional wastewater pipeline is in service.