When the City of Wetaskiwin’s current wastewater treatment system was built in 1979, it did the job it needed to do at the time. They system has been upgraded as needed over the years, but as populations, technology and regulations change, systems need to change with them.
For the City, that means committing to a federally mandated effluent regulations that will require the construction of a mechanical wastewater facility by 2023, estimated at $33 million, to align with current federal and provincial government regulations.
“Our lagoons – which have always been our means of treating our wastewater – can no longer meet the regulations dictated in the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations,” explains Sue Howard, Wetaskiwin’s Director of Municipal Services.
The federal government established the regulations for communities nation-wide as a way to address Canada’s largest source of water pollution – the more than 150 billion litres of under-treated and untreated wastewater.
“That means the City will need to build a mechanical wastewater treatment plant in order to comply with the current effluent release limits – and we have been given a deadline of 2023 to do so,” Howard adds.
The City recently completed a feasibility study which provided a strong idea of the best option for this region. Currently the design of the facility is out to tender and is expected to be completed by July 2020.
What’s coming next: Funding and planning
The main issue is the cost of the facility, which is expected to total $33 million.
To help offset the projected costs, the City of Wetaskiwin is approaching both orders of government – provincial and federal – to determine their contributions to the project, Howard says.
“We do not expect to have to carry the entire cost of this facility, but may be expected to pay for as much as one-third of it, amounting to around $11 million,” she says.
Recognizing that the City will likely need to borrow money to fund the construction of this facility, it’s expected the province will share the amount they’ll be funding by March 2020, allowing for the City to fine-tune its funding plans.
In the meantime, the City has issued a request for proposals for the completion of the wastewater treatment design and construction monitoring, with the successful consultant responsible for project management and monitoring during and after construction.
To learn more, visit wetaskiwin.ca/200/Utilities.