Council hears sewage lagoon timeline and update

Sylvan Lake Public Works department provided Town Council with a timeline of events of the critical lagoon situation

  • Thu Jul 28th, 2016 8:00pm
  • News

The Town of Sylvan Lake Public Works department provided Town Council with a timeline of events leading up to and following the critical lagoon situation earlier this month, in addition to providing updates on short term and long term solutions the Town may be utilizing.

July 12: A special session of Council provided direction to staff on various issues regarding the lagoon effluent release, the public notification process, and a budget adjustment to accelerate a wastewater quality study to begin immediately in 2016 (moved up from the original planned start in 2018).

July 13: Administration met with representatives from Alberta Environment & Parks (AEP) to seek approval for temporary measures to alleviate concerns with wastewater effluent dischargeas per the motion from Council on July 12. A public request from the Town was issued to residents, businesses, adjacent summer villages, and visitors to voluntarily reduce waste water usage. The R.V. dump station was closed until further notice. The Septage Receiving Station (SRS) was allowed to transmit sewage to the Town’s lagoons on the premise that the Sylvan Lake Regional Wastewater Commission would be required to truck away from the lagoons an amount of wastewater equal to what they pump in, resulting in a net-zero impact on lagoon capacity. This amount was approximately 80 cubic metres/day and the Commission trucks were able to join the Town trucks in discharging at the City of Red Deer.Staff contracted Tagish Engineering to provide an analysis of the berm condition of Cell #9 at the lagoon to determine the maximum safe capacity and to evaluate the integrity of the berm.

July 14: Trucking of effluent from Cell #3 to the City of Red Deer commenced on a schedule of seven days/week and twelve hours/day. The Town received written approval from AEP to utilize above ground storage tanks, should the need arise to temporarily store waste water. The Town also received approval to discharge the contained storm water out of Cell #6 and to use that cell for the temporary storage of waste water should the need arise.

July 15: Upon receiving a passing result for acute lethality (40% mortality at 96 hours), the discharge of the lagoons began from Cell #9 at a rate of about 10,000 m3/day, which is the rate required to lower the lagoons to a winter level and to provide for maximum dilution over a twenty (20) week period pending AEP approval. Coinciding with the waste-water release is the pumping of storm water captured within storage ponds into the receiving ditch to provide dilution of the released effluent. Staff identified an optimum location along the lake where water may be diverted into Sylvan Creek, which eventually flows to the lagoon discharge area, offering an uninterrupted supply of water for dilution purposes. Staff contracted ISLEngineering to conduct a waste water quality analysis with the direction to provide a short and a long term solution to waste water quality. A report from ISL is expected within a few weeks with the results presented to Council at a later date.

July 17: The required follow-up effluent sampling was acquired and delivered to the laboratory.

July 18: SaskAlta Environmental and the Town signed a contract for the desludging of Cell #7, which will be completed in coordination with the lagoon release as necessary.

July 19: Council for the Summer Village of Jarvis Bay rejected the Town’s request to place a pump at the preferred location for pumping from Sylvan Lake into Sylvan Creek.Administration then proceeded to seek approval for alternate locations.

July 20: Trucking of effluent to the City of Red Deer ended with a total of 9,268 cubic metres (m3) of effluent hauled to the City over seven days.

July 21: The SRS returned to normal operations and their trucking operation ends.

July 21: A letter received from AEP indicated that they are tentatively in favour of a 3:1 dilution rate using lake water, which is approximately a 30,000 m3/day pumping rate.

July 21: After negotiating with landowners and the Summer Village of Jarvis Bay, the application for a temporary diversion license (TDL) from AEP was applied for. A condition of approval from the land owner is the requirement for the Town to cut the grass/weeds in this area. Sound abatement of the pumps will be a challenge and staff is currently reviewing options. Staff investigated the possibility of land application of effluent and/or bio-solids for future disposal of wastewater effluent.

July 22: A passing result was received for acute lethality (0% mortality after 96 hours) allowing the effluent discharge to continue. Further sampling is required within two weeks.

July 22: The R.V. dump station reopened. Voluntary wastewater restrictions were also lifted; however, residents, visitors, and business owner/operators are encouraged to continue to apply smart water and wastewater practices. The voluntary restrictions were considered highly effective and administration again thanks the public for their vast support and cooperation in reducing inflow to the wastewater facility. Wastewater restrictions may again be necessary, pending the success of the TDL.

July 22: Staff and consultants continue to evaluate the impact of lake water diversion on downstream lands including Ducks Unlimited, the Cygnet Lake Drainage District and landowners.

Project Budget: $400,000 (emergency contingency)

Budget Status: Approximately $150,000 spent to date