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Regional sewer line project kicks off

Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

From left: City of Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi, Lacombe County Councillor Ken Wigmore, Alberta Minister of Infrastructure and Minister of Transportation Brian Mason, Town of Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol, City of Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law break ground on the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater Transmission System Monday at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

From left: City of Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi, Lacombe County Councillor Ken Wigmore, Alberta Minister of Infrastructure and Minister of Transportation Brian Mason, Town of Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol, City of Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law break ground on the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater Transmission System Monday at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

Breaking ground on the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater line seemed more like a distant dream for the past five years, but on Monday it was made a reality.

The $71-million project which will connect Lacombe, Blackfalds, and Lacombe County to the regional wastewater treatment facility in Red Deer has been in the works for several years, seeing two different provincial and federal governments, several infrastructure ministers and a municipal election.

City of Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie admitted it wasn’t the sexiest project, but much needed in a rapidly growing area of the province.

“It’s hard to explain the importance of built infrastructure, underground infrastructure to sustain growth, ensure viability, and ensure things are looked after once you flush your toilet,” he said.

“Blackfalds and Lacombe have basically been putting band-aids on our treatment plants … I don’t think we could’ve gone a whole lot longer.”

Lacombe alone was looking at upwards of $5-million in upgrades as part of the ten-year capital plan if the project didn’t come to fruition.

Last year, however, the provincial government announced they would provide $27.4-million for the project, and the Government of Canada, to date, has allocated $32.6-million, including $29.8-million through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.

Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi said he was pleased to support the project and improve quality of life in the region.

“This project really demonstrates how critical health is to the people in the region, how critical it is that our waterways stay clean and environmentally sustainable,” Sohi said.

“I’m very proud to work with regional partners and Minister Mason to help this project and get shovels in the ground.”

Although the project features a number of benefits for the area, especially providing needed services to grow the economy and attract businesses, the environmental factor was a strong driving force behind the regional line going ahead.

“Alberta Environment knew that how we deal with wastewater in Alberta and across Canada has to evolve and improve,” said Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol.

“A lagoon is a finite system. The lagoon itself can only handle so much product. All of a sudden Blackfalds took off with growth and the lagoon was heavily taxed.”

She added that the project wasn’t just about sending wastewater to Red Deer, but giving it a higher level of treatment.

“The Red Deer River is super important in this area,” she said. “You want to feed back into it the best quality of discharge possible and that’s what we’re doing now.”

It will also see water returned to where it came from.

At present Blackfalds and Lacombe take water from the Red Deer River. Following treatment, however, it’s displaced into the Battle River.

Once the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater transmission line is complete in March of 2018, water will now be filtered back into the same river it’s taken from.

The project features 26 kilometres of wastewater forcemain pipeline, and has been broken down into six contracts which will be constructed concurrently.

The first includes the 1.3 kilometre stretch of pipeline from the City of Red Deer Wastewater Treatment Plant to the odour management facility. The others include the odour management facility, seven-kilometres of pipeline from the odour management facility to Blackfalds, lift stations in both Lacombe and Blackfalds and 17 kilometres of pipeline from Blackfalds to Lacombe.

For further information, visit www.nrdrwwsc.ca.

­— ABarrett@postmedia.com 



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