A looming sewage treatment problem in Lacombe and Blackfalds has been addressed.
On Friday, it was announced the long-awaited funding had materialized for a $60-million regional sewage line from Lacombe to Red Deer.
The federal government has pledged $29.9 million, about half the cost. The province is expected to kick in about 40 per cent and Blackfalds, Lacombe and Lacombe County covering 10 per cent or about $6 million.
It is a project that has been on the books for about a decade but had become increasingly urgent as both communities’ sewage treatment systems were at capacity and required either expensive new plants or a regional solution.
The province favoured a regional sewer line and demonstrated its support earlier this year with $3.24 million in design funding. But the recent announcement means the cheque to complete the project officially is in the mail.
The sewer line funding follows a Thursday announcement that the province and federal government had reached an agreement to jointly invest $1.08 billion — $543 million from the feds — into infrastructure projects. Cash will be doled out through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund and the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.
Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol said as one of Alberta’s fastest growing communities the announcement means its future needs will be met.
“The environmental benefits of this regional treatment system cannot be stressed enough — wastewater will be treated to meet higher federal standards and returned to the watershed in the best possible quality,” says Stol, in a statement accompanying the funding announcement.
Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law says by ensuring wastewater is safely disposed of the regional sewage line will promote economic growth throughout the region.
The federal, provincial and municipal involvement demonstrates the kind of collaboration required for major projects and recognizes their importance, says Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie.
Construction on the line is expected to begin in November, said Matthew Goudy, chief administrative officer of the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater Services Commission, which will oversee the project.
The first phase — on which construction could begin next year — features an eight-km link from Blackfalds to Red Deer along with a pumping station.
Phase 2 would create a 17-km link from Blackfalds to Lacombe with a pumping station at the north end.
An odour management facility in Red Deer and other measures to handle the smell at other points in the system are also envisioned.