Town looks at short term options for sewage lagoons

Planning begins for long term solutions to wastewater challenges

Short and long term solutions to the Town of Sylvan Lake’s ongoing wastewater challenges were the topic of conversation during a special Meeting of Council held at the Municipal Government Building on Monday evening.

Director of Public Works, Dave Brand, presented Town Council with what has been done so far to address the challenges the municipality currently faces, as well as options to address the issue of waste water in the coming years. Brand explained the Town is working with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) to obtain conducive test results and a license to allow the release of the effluent this spring.

Waste water and sewage from Sylvan Lake is presently pumped to a waste management facility often referred to as sewage lagoons. Once in the lagoons, the waste water is required to past fish lethality tests. The tests require the waste water to be low in ammonia with high biological oxygen levels in order to receive a pass. If the tests pass, the Town then discharges the accumulative waste water bi-annually into an entity known as Sylvan Creek. Because this body of water has a very low and often non-existent flow, AEP applies the strongest conditions to the Town’s waste water before it is able to be released to minimize environmental damage.

In July of 2016, the municipality was faced with a waste water crisis after the lagoons nearly reached capacity due to the inability to release earlier that year due to failed test results. A public request from the Town was issued to residents, businesses, adjacent summer villages and visitors to voluntarily reduce waste water usage.

On July 15, upon receiving a passing result for acute lethality the discharge of the lagoons began from one of the cells at the facility at a rate of approximately 10,000 m3/day, which was the rate required to lower the lagoons to a winter level and to provide for maximum dilution over a twenty week period. Coinciding with the waste-water release was the pumping of stormwater captured within storage ponds into the receiving ditch to provide dilution of the released effluent.

Town 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. The Town later contracted ISL Engineering to conduct a waste water quality analysis with the direction to provide a short and a long term solution to waste water quality.

To date, a number of improvements have been made at the waste water management facility to provide short term solutions. Solar aerators were ordered over the winter, which Town staff hope will lead to lower ammonia levels during test time and a fourth blower motor was also added to increase aeration, in addition to burm upgrades on one of the cells to allow more storage.

“The first thing we need to do as an administration is tell AEP what we are doing, what we have in place, that we’re ready to go and this is how we’re going to comply with the federal regulations in 2017,” Brand told Council. “That should allow us to obtain our operating approval renewal. Then we head into the discharge period where the rubber hits the road and we have to meet those regulations.”

Brand explained the Public Works department plans to again utilize the lake water diversion method which showed success in the past. He explained they will also be implementing more proactive testing methods including earlier sampling which will allow for a potential early release if the test passes.

While these measures will hopefully allow for short term viability, Brand detailed to Council the need for a long term solution. He explained the Town must develop a plan which doesn’t require the use of Sylvan Creek, as chronic dumping will inevitably lead to ecological changes.

Brand proposed to Council a number of long term solutions including the construction of a $95 million pipeline which would see waste water transported from Sylvan Lake to Red Deer. Another solution posed was the construction of a reclaimed water system known as ‘Purple Pipe’. The system sees former waste water and sewage being treated to remove solids and impurities then reused for irrigation and/or commerical and residential use.

The Public Works Director described the purple pipe option as ‘the ultimate in sustainability’. However, he emphasized the need for an official long term feasibility study to be conducted to ensure the best possible option is chosen for the Town of Sylvan and residents of the municipality.

“We need to protect human health and the environment,” said Brand.

jenna.swan@sylvanlakenews.com

 

Just Posted

Toque Toss brings in warm clothing for communities

Bantam AA Tigers asked attendees at their Dec. 10 game to toss hats, mitts, socks and more on the ice

Senior girls win gold at home tournament

The H.J. Cody Lakers hosted a basketball tournament Dec. 8-9

Christmas classics and more at the House of Music Christmas Recital

The Christmas recital was held at the Alliance Church on Dec. 9

Photo: Visit with Santa Claus

Old St. Nick stopped for a special visit at Canadian Tire on Dec. 9

Sylvan Lake participates in Canada-wide Skate Day

Free Skating was offered at the NexSource Centre, Dec. 10

WATCH: Red Deer’s Outreach Centre begins construction with a smash

Dragon Fly Centre, a location dedicated to healing for children and youth

WestJet Christmas video turns children’s wishes into reality

This year’s annual video took a new spin on the 12 days of Christmas

Firefighters protect seaside California towns as blaze rages

A flare-up on the western edge of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday

Putin declares victory on visit to air base in Syria

Declaring a victory in Syria, Putin on Monday visited a Russian military air base in the country and announced a partial pullout of Russian forces from the Mideast nation.

Pipe bomb explodes in NYC subway

Pipe bomb strapped to man explodes in NYC subway, injuring 4

Toronto FC to hold victory parade following MLS Cup championship

Toronto FC to hold downtown victory parade following MLS Cup championship

Canada’s only commercial spaceport hopes to launch 12 rockets per year

Nova Scotia’s rocket launch site hopes to eventually host 12 launches per year

‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globes

The nominees were announced from Beverly Hills after still-burning fires ravaged Southern California for the past week.

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

Most Read