Residents opposed to planned sewage lagoon

Clearwater County residents opposed to a proposed sewage lagoon have submitted a petition to get the project moved further from their subdivision.

Clearwater County residents opposed to a proposed sewage lagoon have submitted a petition to get the project moved further from their subdivision.

A petition of about 70 names was presented to council last week by an area resident. But it came in too late to give those opposed to the lagoon an opportunity to address council, said county manager Ron Leaf. That is expected to happen at the Feb. 28 meeting.

Council must decide whether to direct staff to go ahead with an application to the province to build the lagoon on the proposed site or consider additional locations suggested by residents.

“There have been about two or three other locations around the community that have been proposed and council may decide to explore those options as well,” Leaf said.

Leaf said the proposed lagoon is about a kilometre away from the nearest residence. The Ferrier Acres subdivision is located south of that home, about 1.6 km away from the lagoon site.

Irate residents turned out at a recent public open house on the proposed $6.1-million sewage lagoon to be built about 10 km west of Rocky Mountain House. Some criticized the county for not doing enough to consult with residents before choosing a location for the lagoon.

The county unveiled plans for the lagoon in December. It was billed as an Alberta first, because it is the first lagoon designed exclusively for external hauling and located outside an urban centre.

To reduce odour problems, the system is designed so sewage hauling trucks can lock their discharge hoses into a connection as part of a contained system. At many lagoons, trucks back up to the lagoon and simply dump their contents, allowing the smell to escape into the air.

The process uses a series of treatment and polishing cells to filter out waste. Treated water can also be run through a second time if necessary.

Finding a place for disposing of waste became a pressing issue for the county in November 2010, when the Town of Rocky Mountain House closed its sewage lagoon to out-of-town users to ensure it met environmental regulations. The decision meant county haulers had to use other facilities in Leslieville, Drayton Valley, Sylvan Lake or Nordegg, boosting travel time and costs.

The new lagoon, which will be completed next year, is meant to address that problem.

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