Clearwater County will pump $2.2 million into Rocky Mountain House’s sewage plant so it can once again accept rural wastewater.
The town closed its sewage lagoon to out-of-town users in November 2010 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.
A proposal to build a $6.1-million wastewater plant in the county about 10 km west of town ran into opposition from neighbouring residents.
At the same time, the county and town have been working together on shorter-term alternatives and a number of engineering studies were commissioned.
Clearwater County chief administrative officer Ron Leaf said an agreement in principle has now been reached with the town to upgrade its facility to meet county needs.
It is expected to be signed next month.
“I’m happy to see our councils continue to work together to serve the best interest of the regional community,” says Rocky Mayor Fred Nash in a statement.
Leaf said once complete, the upgrades are expected to meet the county’s requirements for up to 15 years.
A new fine air bubbler aeration system, monitoring system and septage receiving system will be added to the town facility.
It is expected the plant will take county wastewater again by mid-December.
In the meantime, the two municipalities will begin long-term planning to meet future sewage needs while anticipating tighter federal regulations that are coming down the pipe.
Leaf said the 10-acre site that was designated for the wastewater plant remains an option.
“We are keeping that designation at this particular point in time.
“But there are a lot of other options that have been identified that we are going to have to prove out.”