(file photo)

(file photo)

City of Wetaskiwin moves forward with wastewater treatment plant improvement project

City of Wetaskiwin Council has officially approved the funding for the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant.

The treatment plant will operate as its own corporate entity under the name of Peace Hills Utilities Inc. which was created as a partnership of Graham and Aquatera Utilities Inc. by the city.

This partnership will provide construction, financing, and long-term operations and maintenance services for the wastewater treatment plant. Associated Engineering is providing the design services for the new facility.

“With regulatory requirements around wastewater treatment facilities becoming more stringent, we had to be innovative to cover the cost of the mandated wastewater treatment plant upgrade with the grant funding we had available,” said city manager Sue Howard.

“Graham’s new approach allowed us to secure all the financing we needed while ensuring financial flexibility remained for other municipal priorities. Additionally, we have an active role in the entire process as an equal partner which is not the norm in most P3 projects.”

There will be significant upgrades made to the city’s current lagoon-based treatment system. One of these upgrades will be the addition of a new Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) system to align with the required effluent limits set by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) and Environment Canada.

The city states that through Graham’s Municipal Asset Partnership the city and Graham have reduced the financial burden of the project through cost efficient private financing. Private financing combined with $12.9 million Alberta Provincial Grant will fund the $53 million project.

Now that project development has been completed and financing secured- construction is set to commence in May 2022 and be completed by December 2023 to meet the deadlines set by the other orders of government.

“Municipalities should not have to give up control of their utility assets to the private sector in order to finance vital infrastructure projects,” said Grenville Riley, Managing Director of Concessions at Graham.

“Through Graham’s Municipal Asset Partnership, municipalities now have an equitable solution available to ensure regulatory compliance while maintaining control of their infrastructure.”

The city says Graham’s utilization of Green Bonds through their sustainable finance framework to finance the project provides a clear indication to the public that the project will have positive impacts on the local environment.

A Green Bond designation can only be achieved by projects that meet specific evaluation criteria including maintaining robust reporting practices and demonstrating the achievement of strictly defined environmental objectives.

Vaugn Bend, CEO of Aquatera Utilities Inc. says, “throughout this project we have worked alongside Graham, the City of Wetaskiwin, and Associated Engineering to ensure a sustainable and affordable utility upgrade is delivered to the community.”


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