Grand opening of regional wastewater system marked
(Left to right) Town of Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole, Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason, North Red Deer Regional Wastewater Services Commision (NRDRWWSC) Chair Ken Wigmore, federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, City of Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey, City of Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law unveil a commemorative plaque marking the opening of the NRDRWWSC transmission line during a ceremony on Friday, May 4 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
Three levels of government have finally succeeded in getting a pipeline in Alberta built.
On Friday afternoon dignitaries from the City of Lacombe, Lacombe County, Town of Blackfalds and City of Red Deer, as well as the provincial and federal government, gathered in Lacombe to formally mark the commissioning of the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater line.
Ground was broke about a year ago on the project designed to address growing wastewater needs in region, with both Blackfalds and Lacombe nearing capacity and the latter looking at upwards of $5-million in upgrades if the project didn’t go through.
Since then, 28-kilometres of PVC pipe connecting Lacombe, Blackfalds and Lacombe County to a regional wastewater treatment facility in Red Deer was completed, along with the two major lift stations, emergency storage reservoirs and odour management measures.
The system went into use a month ago.
Steve Christie, former mayor of the City of Lacombe, and one of several instrumental parties in getting the transmission line done, said he was ecstatic to see it come to fruition.
“It’s great to see projects such as this – the largest project in the area for quite some time – completed and actually done. The partnership and collaboration that was used on this project was amazing,” he said.
“To have the provincial and federal ministers here today, and the new commission and past commission members here together to celebrate this is almost emotional. It’s kind of weird to get emotional about a pipeline, but I guess that’s what we do here in Alberta.”
There was plenty to celebrate with the opening of the line. For one, it came in under budget – originally pegged at $71-million, it came in under the $70-million mark.
According to the business plan, it’s also expected to last communities the next 35-50 years, accommodating for the growth in both Lacombe and Blackfalds, as well as provisions for the Sylvan Lake regional wastewater line in the near future.
Perhaps most importantly, the opening of the line promises better sustainability and environmental protection, which were both driving factors behind provincial and federal funding of the project.
The province kicked in $33.2 million for the project, while the Government of Canada contributed $29.8 million through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.
“The province has been encouraging municipalities for a number of years to centralize their wastewater so we minimize the output of wastewater treatment into our rivers and creeks and so on,” said Alberta Minister of Transportation Brian Mason.
“Treatment will be centralized in Red Deer and the surrounding region will have their wastewater as part of this network so it can be treated most effectively and in the most environmentally sustainable way.
“It's so gratifying to see the excellent cooperation between county, city, province and fed government to make sure we can protect our environment and deal with our wastewater very effectively and efficiently.”
Federal Minister of Infrastructure Amarjeet Sohi echoed Mason’s sentiments.
“Having access to clean water and how it goes back into other creeks, rivers and ravines is a very important part of building sustainable communities. We’re very happy to support this project with $30-million dollars of investment,” Sohi said.
“ I’m so honoured to be here and join in this very important milestone. This is something this region has been waiting for for a long, long time.”