Olds wastewater starts flowing
By RENÉE FRANCOEUR
The Red Deer treatment plant is now receiving a portion of Olds wastewater as the multimillion-dollar South Red Deer Regional Wastewater project finally takes off after a few construction hiccups.
Somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 cubic metres of wastewater is travelling from Olds to Red Deer.
It’s one of the phases of the 100-plus-km project that will pipe wastewater to the city from Olds, Bowden, Innisfail, Penhold and the counties of Mountain View and Red Deer.
The main goal of the undertaking is to protect the Red Deer River and water system, which supplies water to more than 200,000 people.
It will also clean wastewater to a higher standard than normally achieved in smaller communities.
Dennis Cooper, chair of the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission (the body driving the project) said it will most likely be one of the largest pressurized pipelines in North America when it’s done.
“It’s state of the art and it’s going to be able to move effluent and look after growth for the next 20 years for all those communities,” said Cooper, who is also mayor of Penhold.
The Olds line was a few months behind schedule. After detailed testing, crews found a series of faults, mainly with the leaking couplers that link sections of the line together.
“Those were repaired by the contractor and we continued to do testing. We started by moving 500 cubic metres of potable water down the line and from there we went to 500 cubes of effluent and then 1,000 and 1,500 and so on,” Cooper said.
The Olds treatment plant was reaching its limit and “if you limit sewage treatment, you definitely limit growth,” Cooper said.
“This will take the pressure off the Olds system and ... with the additional monies we have now to finish the project, that means the towns do not have to go out and borrow. In Penhold, that will basically save a 30 per cent increase in sewage charges that would have to have been added on to the residents’ bills,” he said.
The project is estimated to be worth $132 million.
The province will put in 10 per cent of the funding, distributed in segments over the next two years.
“Because we’re going to finish the project sooner than 2015, we’re going to have to do some bridge financing,” Cooper said.
The commission has two more lines to finish and one more lift station to put in at Penhold, which is set to be tendered at the end of November. They estimate at the very latest construction will be done by March 2015.
There will be approximately 9,000 to 10,000 cubic metres of wastewater pumped through the system a day after it’s completed.
As the line has been developed to handle almost triple that figure, Cooper said the commission is looking into the possibly of diverting more than 2,000 cubic metres — the cap — from Olds.