The Town of Sylvan Lake is staying ahead of the game by temporarily diverting lake water to assist Sylvan Creek in receiving treated wastewater effluent, Dave Brand, director of Public Works, said Thursday.
The town wants to avert the crisis it had last summer when a combination of heavy rains and the need to meet new federal effluent standards resulted in its lagoons being full, he said.
At that point the town had to haul effluent to Red Deer’s wastewater treatment plant, and also impose water use restrictions on the resort community.
The town has just received approval from Alberta Environment and Parks for a Temporary Diversion Licence so it can begin to divert water from Sylvan Lake into the drainage ditch system.
The approval allows for up to 1.41 million cubic metres, (1.4 billion litres) of lake water to be used between between June 5 and July 21. Brand said that last year’s licence allowed them to divert 1.8 million cubic metres but they only needed 990,000.
This year’s permit would amount to a lake-level draw down of three cm if there were no water at all coming into the lake, Brand said.
The water diversion process is in full compliance with all regulatory controls, including federal and provincial requirements and the temporary diversion licence is critical to ensure the downstream receiving environment can sustainably receive treated effluent until alternative effluent disposal locations can be implemented, the town said.
The town releases effluent twice a year, in the spring and fall.
The lake is high and there isn’t a problem now but they want to be prepared in case the forecast turns. They are monitoring the situation three times a day, Brand said.
The town won’t need to take the extraordinary measures once a new wastewater line is built to Red Deer’s waste water treatment plant, he added.
Alberta Transportation recently announced it would fund $37.08 million of a $41.2 million wastewater line from Sylvan Lake to Red Deer.
Construction could commence as soon as 2018, with operation of the system commencing no later than 2019.
The line will transport wastewater from Sylvan Lake; the surrounding summer villages including Norglenwold, Birchcliff, Half Moon Bay, Jarvis Bay and Sunbreaker Cove; and Red Deer and Lacombe counties.