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Stormwater plan concerns Lacombe Lake residents

Residents fear stormwater from Blackfalds will contaminate lake

Lacombe Lake residents are concerned about a proposed plan to divert stormwater from Blackfalds into their water.

Blackfalds has applied to Alberta Environment and Parks approval to direct stormwater that would run off developments in the northwest part of the town through wetlands and holding ponds and on to Lacombe Lake.

A pair of housing developments are on hold in Blackfalds because Alberta Environment and Parks has concerns there is not an adequate outlet for runoff.

Anita Alexander’s family has had a home on the lake just north of Blackfalds since 1960 and does not want to see it become part of a stormwater system.

“I think everybody is very, very concerned about contamination,” she said on Friday. “If we’re bringing stormwater into it, how are we going to ensure our lake is kept clean?”

There is much at stake at the lake, which is home to fish and nesting loons and is a stopping point for trumpeter swans and pelicans, she said.

Anita’s mother, June Alexander, said the stormwater plan concerns many neighbours.

“They’re really upset about the whole thing,” she said. “They don’t want the toxic water to run into the lake.”

Members of the Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society plan to raise their concerns with Alberta Environment, which had a 30-day response period to the stormwater proposal. It ends in about a week.

Society members will also be at a Lacombe County open house on the project set for June 15 at 7 p.m. at the county offices on Hwy 12, three km west of Hwy 2. Blackfalds representatives will also be there.

The proposed stormwater plan would transport rainwater through underground pipelines to settling ponds and constructed wetlands. The treated water will then go through Lacombe Lake, Whelp Brook and then into Wolf Creek.

The stormwater system will also “handily” meet Alberta Environment water quality standards, says the management plan from Stantec.

“We are confident that the Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society will experience no appreciable decline to Lacombe Lake water quality as a result of treated stormwater that is originating in the Northwest Area,” says Stantec.

The system has been designed so that water release rates remain unchanged, ensuring there isn’t downstream erosion or other environmental degradation.

Consultants have also determined that Lacombe Lake levels will not be affected except in a one-in-100-year storm event, when water levels might increase one centimetre.

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