Jail lagoon work done

Construction to expand Bowden Institution’s wastewater lagoon system wrapped up last month.

Construction to expand Bowden Institution’s wastewater lagoon system wrapped up last month.

The new storage cell to support the growing inmate population and provide an additional 133,000 cubic metres of capacity to the original three lagoon cells was completed on March 7.

It is located on the northeast section of the federally-owned land where the prison sits, between Bowden and Innisfail.

The expansion, first proposed over two years ago, was originally scheduled to be completed by Jan. 1. But there was a two-month delay due to the flooding last summer, said Chantal Guérette, media relations advisor with Correctional Service Canada.

“The water table in the Bowden area was one metre to 1.4 metres higher than previous years, which delayed excavation of the lagoon and installation of the liner,” Guérette said.

The lagoon project stirred emotions in Central Alberta after the prison made it known it would not connect to the South Red Deer wastewater system.

This system is a multimillion-dollar project that will transport wastewater from outlying communities through more than 100 km of pipe to the Red Deer treatment plant when it’s finished in 2015.

Members of the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission, the group behind the project, say it safeguards the Red Deer River, which supplies water to more than 200,000 people, unlike lagoons.

Correctional Service Canada conducted an options analysis study and concluded “the lagoon expansion was the least costly option from both a capital investment and life cycle cost investment perspective,” said Guérette.

Joining the South Red Deer wastewater system would not allow CSC to completely absolve itself of wastewater lagoon operation as originally anticipated, she added.