Lacombe County reviewing septic options

Lacombe County residents who use septic systems could see their bills to get rid of waste soar by hundreds of dollars a month.

Lacombe County residents who use septic systems could see their bills to get rid of waste soar by hundreds of dollars a month.

Companies that haul septic waste for customers are running out of disposal sites because municipal treatment locations are nearing capacity and won’t accept more waste. The only clear option currently is to truck waste to Red Deer, which drastically boosts transportation costs, said members of a delegation representing several septic companies that appeared before county council Friday.

The problem is about to get much worse because Alberta Environment has ordered septage haulers to stop spreading waste from outside sources on farmland at the end of the month because of safety and environmental concerns. Dumping on frozen ground increases the chances waste will run off into creeks or other water sources.

In hopes of offering temporary relief to homeowners, council voted to ask Alberta Environment to allow dumping on farmland this winter while other solutions are sought.

County Reeve Terry Engen said the county will be looking at all options in coming months.

“I think in the short term if people think we can just snap our fingers, and (say) ‘Oh, by the way, we have a place to look after this;’ it’s not in the cards right now.”

Bob Szasz, who is part owner of D&R Septic, said his customers west of Gull Lake could see the bill to get rid of the contents of their septic tanks jump to $400 from $140. Rural customers typically need tanks emptied at least once a month and some even more frequently.

Finding a place for septage wasn’t a big problem in the past because there was plenty of capacity in municipal lagoons and haulers could dump on farmland throughout the year. Although winter dumping has technically not been allowed for a number of years, it was not enforced by Alberta Environment.

Council heard the issue came to the forefront when rural residents complained about regular dumping on nearby farmland.

Rhonda Szasz, another D&R Septic owner, said she fears the provincial government’s lack of enforcement will put companies like hers at a disadvantage. Customers faced with big bills may just pick a company that dumps on farmland despite the ban in return for reduced hauling charges.

David Helmer, an approvals manager for Alberta Environment’s Red Deer office, said it’s up to the county to take the lead on finding places to take septic waste. If the county wants to approve housing, it should consider whether there is a place for waste.

Helmer said the province is identifying places that can take the waste and their capacity. The county can then negotiate agreements with municipalities to take waste water.

“The situation is there is no available waste water treatment in this area. There’s no waste water treatment because no one has looked for it yet.”

The county hopes a sewage line being built in the county just north of Sylvan Lake will provide some solution. A sewage receiving station will be built as part of the project that will take septic wastewater. However, it won’t be ready for six months.

Rhonda Szasz said the Sylvan sewage station will help that area, but residents in more distant parts of the county will still face expensive hauling charges unless something is done. Szasz favours the county and Alberta Environment working together to establish a series of lagoons.

She also plans to send a formal request from area hauling companies certified by the province will be sent to Alberta Environment asking them to step up enforcement of operators so there is a level playing field among all in the septic hauling business.

Just Posted

Cannabis legalization won’t impact one Red Deer pot dispensary

Nothing changes for Compass Cannabis Clinic in Red Deer despite legalization

Cannabis retail store will open later in October in Red Deer

Two cannabis stores coming to downtown Red Deer

Neighbours drop opposition to Red Deer County communications tower

Communication tower to be located in Balmoral Heights

Legal cannabis comes with many unknowns: Red Deer County councillors

Councillors question how rural municipalities will be able to enforce cannabis regulations

Kitten season puts pressure on Red Deer shelter

More public education needed to control cat population

Video: Windows smashed at three Red Deer businesses

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vandalism spree

‘Start low, go slow’: Experts walk bud beginners through cannabis 101

With the countdown to cannabis legalization Wednesday ticking towards 4-20, some novice… Continue reading

NHL stays with status quo as Canada pot legalization looms

As Riley Cote took and delivered countless punches over more than a… Continue reading

Paul Stanley: Kiss farewell tour could include ex-members

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — It won’t be all night, but former members… Continue reading

Judge tosses Stormy Daniels’ defamation suit against Trump

WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President… Continue reading

Canada open to growing trade with China now that USMCA is a done deal: PM

TORONTO — Canada is open to doing more business with China now… Continue reading

Pot shop raids “highly unlikely” on Wednesday: head of police chiefs

VANCOUVER — Police departments across Canada are fully prepared for marijuana legalization… Continue reading

Campers will be able to smoke cannabis at campsites in Canada’s national parks

Parks Canada says visitors should do their research on cannabis before going… Continue reading

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to deny Canadian producers’ ‘competitive advantage’

WASHINGTON — An American cannabis producer is warning President Donald Trump that… Continue reading

Most Read