Pigeon Lake group says wastewater approach flawed

Pigeon LakeWise Society says some systems cheap for developers, less so for residents

Some residents around Pigeon Lake feel low-pressure wastewater systems aren’t the best way to go.

Some residents around Pigeon Lake feel low-pressure wastewater systems aren’t the best way to go.

A lobbying organization in the Pigeon Lake area says that the regional approach to wastewater development is flawed, mostly because it doesn’t seem to take into account the wishes of residents, documented problems related low pressure wastewater systems and the $40 million dollars could be used for the lake.

The Pigeon LakeWise Society was represented at The Pipestone Flyer office Apr. 21 by Linda Kerr and Darlene Bouclin, both residents of Crystal Springs, and Dan Neil of Ma-me-o Beach.

Bouclin said, because of all the issues going on in the Pigeon lake area, including algae blooms and the various approaches to solving the wastewater problem, the founders of LakeWise wanted to develop a website that collected scientific evidence on wastewater systems.

Neil said other motivation included addressing what some lake residents feel has been a lack of public consultation and a lack of transparency when it comes to planning wastewater systems for the summer villages around the lake.

First and foremost, the group said they love the communities they live in. “We do care about the lake,” said Kerr.

However, the impetus for their website, an objective place for scientific evidence about wastewater systems, was needed.

Kerr said the group feels there are many serious issues about proposed “low pressure” wastewater systems that are being overlooked for whatever reasons.

The group stated it seems developers want to install low-pressure wastewater systems because they’re cheap to build, compared to gravity-operated systems. However, the low-pressure systems require expensive upkeep that will be passed on to taxpayers. They stated that the County of Wetaskiwin, after developments are completed, will pass all maintenance problems and costs over to the villages for property owners.

A point made by Neil, an engineer, was that low-pressure wastewater systems rely on water movement to keep things flowing, no pun intended. He said in the summer when villages are bustling, it may not be an issue. But in the winter months, when all villages have less than 15 per cent occupancy, the system may not have enough material to operate.

Another point Neil made is that the low-pressure wastewater systems have to be protected from freezing in the winter. Apparently this problem has occurred in other lake communities like Wolf Creek and Cadomin.

Lastly, a serious issue the group pointed out is the confusion surrounding what low-pressure wastewater systems cost; some community leaders have stated such systems may cost only a few thousand dollars. While the group stated they hope that’s true, Kerr said a sheet supplied by village CFO for On-Lot costs, who are planning the system, placed their costs at $1,200 plus landscaping if her newer tank is not cracked during the coring. The county minutes estimates are $19,000 for a complete system, including a new tank.

“No one can agree on the costs,” said Bouclin.

As many lake residents are retired, they live on a fixed income stated the LakeWise members, and paying up to $20,000 for a low-pressure wastewater system would be a hardship.

The group stated other municipalities appear to regret going with low-pressure wastewater systems. They have discovered a Canmore community went with them in the Eighties and a few years ago changed to gravity systems instead, abandoning the low-pressure systems.

Kerr said that disagreements around the lake about wastewater systems often end in one group labeling another. “If you speak up, you’re a naysayer,” said Kerr.

The group also stated that it’s not helping that some summer villages have the ability to opt out of programs, or stick with their old system entirely, while residents of other summer villages will have to pay. This could also affect the real estate market around the lake, as buyers could potentially face higher maintenance costs in some villages, lower or no costs in others.

Bouclin said wastewater is a serious issue around the lake that more residents should take seriously. “We think they think it’s a flush and forget,” said Bouclin.

LakeWise has applied for, but not yet received, its non-profit registration from the provincial government.

More information is available online at PigeonLakeWiseSociety.wordpress.com.

 

Just Posted

Flora Northwest was taken to the Ermineskin residential school when she was six years old. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Most Read