From left to right Steve Christie (Lacombe mayor), Amarjeet Sohi (federal infrastructure and communities minister), Ken Wigmore (Lacombe County councillor), Brian Mason (Alberta infrastructure and transportation minister), Melodie Stol (Blackfalds mayor), Tara Veer (Red Deer mayor) and Paula Law (Lacombe County reeve) break ground on the $71 million North Red Deer Regional Wastewater project. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

New wastewater project connects Blackfalds and Lacombe with Red Deer treatment plant

It’s not sexy but it’s essential to community health

Announcing the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater project, Alberta infrastructure minister Brian Mason joked with his federal counterpart that when they asked for pipelines this wasn’t quite what they meant.

The $71-million wastewater pipeline will be built in Central Alberta by March 31, 2018. The project will connect Blackfalds, Lacombe and Lacombe County with Red Deer’s wastewater treatment facility.

Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol and Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie said it was much needed infrastructure to support growth in their communities.

“It’s not the sexiest project,” said Christie. “It’s hard to explain the importance of underground infrastructure to sustain growth, ensure viability and ensure once you flush your toilets, it’s looked after.”

The project has a long history, powering through two federal and provincial administrations and a municipal election. The federal government is providing $32.6 million and the provincial government is kicking in $27.4 million. This leaves about $11 million for the municipalities to shoulder.

Stretching 26 kms, the pipeline will have two new pumping stations, one in Lacombe and another in Blackfalds, before arriving in Red Deer at a new odour control facility. From there it will go the Red Deer wastewater treatment plant.

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said the city built capacity into the treatment plant in order to be the regional service provider.

“Our citizens have the right to expect quality drinking water and this project is one way we can protect it in the future,” said Veer.

Six contracts were awarded on March 20 after the tendering projects. The contracts include the pipeline from the City of Red Deer Wastewater treatment plant to the odour management facility, the odour management facility, the pipeline from the odour management facility to Blackfalds, the Blackfalds and Lacombe stations and the pipeline from Blackfalds to Lacombe.

“This project really indicates how critical health is to people in the region,” said Amarjeet Sohi, federal infrastructure and communities minister. “How critical it is that our waterways stay clean and environmentally sustainable. I’m very proud to work with regional partners and minister Mason to help this project get shovels in the ground.”

Blackfalds and Lacombe get their water from the Red Deer River and Christie said after they treated it they put it into the Battle River. Now the water is going back to where it came from.

“Sometimes with large infrastructure projects you get told a lot of why you can’t do something,” said Stol. “I’m so very happy everyone on this project sat down and asked how can we make this happen. In doing that, from a positive point of view, we now have a fantastic project going ahead.”

Stol spoke about the environmental benefits, making sure the water being put back into the Red Deer River is “of the highest quality.”

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