Summer village approves sewer system

The Summer Village of Birchcliff plans its own sewer system to help preserve Sylvan Lake’s water quality.

The Summer Village of Birchcliff plans its own sewer system to help preserve Sylvan Lake’s water quality.

Residents of the summer village on the east side of Sylvan Lake recently approved the plan to install a sewer line to transport waste to the Town of Sylvan Lake for treatment.

It is expected to cost about $4.8 million to build the line that would serve about 240 houses.

Birchcliff Deputy Mayor Thom Jewell said the summer village plans to seek funding from the provincial and federal governments. When Norglenwold undertook a similar project in 2009, the costs were split three ways between the municipality, the province and the federal government, and Jewell hopes to line up a similar agreement.

“I think the point is that the people who are living around the lake are putting in substantial amounts of their own money to try to protect the quality of the water in the lake,” he said. “So we don’t feel that it’s unreasonable to ask the province to kick in some, as the lake itself is a provincial asset.”

The funding program that Norglenwold tapped into no longer exists but the summer village hopes the money can be found elsewhere.

Currently, a variety of septic systems and holding tanks are used by residents to handle their waste water. But many of those systems are aging.

Birchcliff residents would have to pay the cost of hooking up their properties to the main line. That bill could be roughly $10,000 per resident, but the final amount will depend on tendering bids, the availability of funding and the kinds of septic systems that homeowners have in place.

“It’s more of an approximation,” he said.

Detailed design work is expected to be completed by the end of August. If the necessary funding could be lined up, work could start as early as this fall. However, it is more likely that construction would begin next year.

In Norglenwold, about 180 homes were hooked up to a sewer line that was connected to Sylvan Lake’s system as part of a $2.4-million project. The Norglenwold project was designed and built by Red Deer-based Stantec Engineering, which is also involved in Birchcliff’s project. The summer village of Jarvis Bay tied into Sylvan Lake’s sewer system in 1999.

Eventually, it is hoped all lakeside communities will hook up to a regional sewer system.

The Sylvan Lake Regional Wastewater Commission has funding in place for a lift station to be built next year that can be used to pump Birchliff’s sewage to Sylvan Lake. The commission is comprised of representatives from the five summer villages, Red Deer and Lacombe counties and the Town of Sylvan Lake.