Water, sewer upgrades underway

For a small community, Sundre is tackling some big ticket projects. The town of 2,500 is in the middle of $15 million worth of water and sewer projects.

For a small community, Sundre is tackling some big ticket projects.

The town of 2,500 is in the middle of $15 million worth of water and sewer projects. A $9-million project will see water and sewer pipelines extended to the east side of town, which is home to about 250 people, a trailer court and an industrial park, and up until now has been without municipal services.

“We are in the process of drilling under the Red Deer River right now,” said Ron Baker, the town’s director of operations. “We are putting two lines, water and wastewater under there.

“It’s a huge job for a small town to be doing.”

The cost of the project was split between the town and the federal and provincial governments.

It’s an infrastructure boost two years in the making, he said.

“Trying to find a route across the river was huge.

“You can only drill in the actual bedrock itself. So the bedrock was covered in gravel and we needed to find where the bedrock was.

“So we did a lot of prep work to get this ready.”

The pilot hole was completed using directional drilling and the hole came out within 30 cm of the target after burrowing a path 450 metres long underneath the river.

The pair of 50-cm lines are expected to be completed in early September. A lift station must be built before the first homes can be hooked up in about a year.

Sundre’s first water treatment plant is also under construction. The $6-million plant is being built on the top of Snake Hill near the town’s water reservoir.

Sundre’s water is drawn from four wells and is clean enough that only limited treatment has been used.

“Starting in 2003, we started chlorinating it, but this will be the first time it’s actually going through a filter and ultraviolet protection,” he said.

Although no viruses have ever been found in the water during regular checks, the new plant will offer additional safety. “Every town in Alberta will have a water treatment plant one day.”

Construction on the plant began last September and it is expected to go into operation next month. ATCO Energy Solutions has been hired to operate the plant.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com