Cold Lake City Council voted to fund the $1 million design of a new wastewater treatment plant using funds available to the City through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative.

“This project is required to bring our wastewater effluent within the ever increasing federal and provincial environmental regulations,” said Craig Copeland, mayor of the City of Cold Lake. “This is a large and very critical project for our community and the environment and it is exciting to see significant progress on it.”

Over the winter, City staff arranged for a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) pilot project. The pilot project was required to test the technology to ensure its effectiveness in the northern Alberta climate.

Early results indicate that the technology will meet Cold Lake’s needs. The final report from the study will be received later in June 2020. Should the study—80 per cent of which was funded through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund—conclude that MBBR technology is appropriate for Cold Lake, the design phase of the new treatment plant will begin.

The early estimated budget for an MBBR facility is approximately $20 million, according to the City of Cold Lake. A traditional treatment facility that would meet Cold Lake’s needs is estimated to cost anywhere from $50 million to $80 million.

“A big thanks goes out to our staff for looking into all options available,” Copeland said. “This can save our community millions of dollars and provide a template for more cost-effective [waste]water treatment for other communities throughout Canada.”

“These are not the type of facilities that people talk about every day, but they are critical, costly infrastructure,” Copeland added. “Finding a solution with the potential to save our taxpayers $30 million or more is an exciting step forward.”

The design of the facility is expected to take 12 to 18 months. During this time, the City and the Cold Lake Regional Utility Services Commission will be seeking grant funding opportunities to help finance the project.

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