Water project gains $2 million saving

A sluggish economy has saved millions on a new Innisfail-to-Penhold sewer line, which is part of a massive project to create a regional wastewater system in Central Alberta.

A sluggish economy has saved millions on a new Innisfail-to-Penhold sewer line, which is part of a massive project to create a regional wastewater system in Central Alberta.

It is hoped there could be more savings as other components of the roughly $32-million project go to tender, said Dale Withage, chief administrative officer of the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission, this week.

The pipeline for the 25-km route came in $2 million lower than the $18-million estimate. Savings were also boosted by dividing the pipeline into three tenders, which were awarded to two companies.

“We definitely saw some competitive bidding, that’s for sure,” said Withage.

The commission will also be watching closely to see if there could be some pencil sharpening by contractors on a multimillion-dollar lift station, which will go out to tender in the fall.

The provincial government pledged $32 million last November towards construction of the line from Innisfail to Penhold, where it can tie into an existing hook-up to the City of Red Deer. A ground-breaking ceremony will take place in Innisfail on June 26 to officially kick off construction.

Withage said construction of the pipeline is expected to begin in July for an end-of-year completion date.

The project is the first of three stages involved in building a pipeline connection from Olds to Red Deer’s wastewater treatment plant, which is being upgraded to ensure it can handle all the additional sewage that will be sent its way in coming years. Stage 2 involves improving the connection from Penhold to Red Deer with a new regional line and Stage 3 will connect Olds to Innisfail.

Provincial funding has not been announced for the remaining stages. The commission hopes to have the money in place to finish the project in the next couple of years.

“Our goal is to have by 2011-2012 everybody connected and all the wastewater would be moving to Red Deer.”

The Olds-to-Red Deer line comprises the southern leg of a major provincially endorsed effort to regionalize wastewater treatment in Central Alberta.

A northern leg would extend to the Lacombe area and a western leg would go to Sylvan Lake. Funding has not yet been announced for the other legs.

The total cost of the project has been estimated from $285 million to as high as $395 million.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com