Cleaner water will soon be returned to the Red Deer River

New residual treatment facility to be built in Red Deer

The final stage of a $90-million multi-year-upgrade to Red Deer’s water treatment plant is to begin this year with the construction of a “residual management facility.”

The quality of Red Deer River water is expected to improve when traces of chemicals used in the water treatment process are removed, as well as residual silt, forest and animal debris, before the water is returned the Red Deer River, said Tim Ainscough, environmental services manager for the city.

New equipment at the facility will put byproducts of water treatment through further cleansing, and the separated materials be landfilled or put to other uses,” Ainscough explained at Monday’s city council meeting.

To make space for the new residual management facility, older parts of the water treatment plant, northwest of Superstore, will have to be demolished. Two brick buildings from 1920 and 1950 will be leveled this summer or fall, before new construction begins later in 2018.

Ainscough said both structures, which are located right next to the main water treatment plant building (the 1920s building is visible from the riverside bike trail), were assessed. Neither were found to be entirely re-usable, or to have historic value — except for their bricks, which the city will attempt to salvage for future uses.

The construction of the residual management facility was required as part of an updated provincial environmental approval for the water treatment plant. Ainscough said environmental laws are changing, and the city had to be in compliance with the new requirements.

The City of Red Deer provides treated water to more than 112,000 people and companies in the city and surrounding area, including Blackfalds, Lacombe and Ponoka.

The $90-million upgrade was approved in 2008 and expected to be completed in 2019. The goal was to meet anticipated regional water demands to 2031, comply with new regulations, and become a better environmental steward.

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