Residents of Sundre and the surrounding area in central Alberta will soon benefit from a state-of-the-art electrochemical wastewater treatment plant made possible through an innovative partnership between the Town of Sundre, the Government of Alberta, and private sector technology partners.
The Government of Alberta has committed to fund $7.5 million starting in 2022-23 towards a full scale wastewater treatment plant that will use a closed loop system where only treated water is discharged. Resulting waste sludge will be turned into treated pellets that meet Fertilizer Standards which could then be sold as fertilizer or used as land fill.
This innovative technology will be tested for a one-year period, to satisfy the requirements of Short Term Testing of an Advanced Wastewater Treatment Pilot Plant, authorized under Section 67(3)(c) of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act by Alberta Environment and Parks for the pilot project. Construction will begin this year and the resulting wastewater treatment plant, expected to be operational in early 2022, will act as a pilot project to prove the capability of this technology to operate successfully in Alberta. The project will also allow the town to proceed with the requirement of upgrading and increasing their daily flow rate, allowing Sundre to grow and to continue processing excess wastewater from surrounding areas.
“With this $7.5 Million commitment from the Government of Alberta, Sundre will soon be home to a new generation of cutting-edge wastewater treatment technology,” said Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks. “This technology will set a path for other municipalities to explore innovative solutions to improve wastewater quality outcomes and reduce costs. I am excited to see the results of this project, which is the culmination of years of hard work by local officials to provide needed wastewater treatment services while ensuring protection of the pristine Red Deer River.”
Nixon is also MLA For Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre.
“I am pleased to announce $7.5 Million from the Government of Alberta for this exciting new project,” said Minister of Transportation Ric McIver. “The demand for new wastewater treatment facilities continues to grow across Alberta in both small and large communities. New technologies like the pilot project being undertaken in Sundre are exactly the kind of creative solutions that will help our municipal sector build for the future as our economy recovers.”
Beginning in 2017, the Town of Sundre began exploring new options to ensure a safe, environmentally sound, and cost-effective water treatment solution. In 2018, the Town commissioned a study of its infrastructure, as well as future growth projections for the commercial, industrial and residential needs of the community. The resulting Utility Master Plan determined that significant upgrades to the wastewater system or an entirely new system were required to serve the growing community. Initial capital cost estimates of a traditional wastewater treatment system for Sundre were escalating to near 45 Million – an extremely high price tag for a community of its size.
Many communities in Alberta currently utilize a traditional lagoon to treat their wastewater, and while lagoons are reasonably inexpensive to operate, they take up a significant amount of land, and can take up to 200 days to treat the wastewater. The advanced technology Sundre will deploy is more efficient and is designed specifically to outlast the lifespan of a lagoon. In comparison to a traditional lagoon, this proposed technology has a significantly smaller footprint, and can treat raw sewage in less than 60 minutes.
The overall cost of the full project is $11.5 nillion. This funding partnership between the Province, the Town, and the technology partners will include the total construction of the wastewater treatment plant including infrastructure and all required equipment to achieve the required standards set by Alberta Environment and Parks.
Upon successfully completing an agreed-upon testing period and meeting the discharge criteria set forth by Alberta Environment, the Technology Partners would be paid in full by the Town within an agreed timeframe. This arrangement effectively removes all financial risk for the Town of Sundre and the Province of Alberta.