Federal announcement on lagoon funding is old news

$14m project should be mostly done next month

Leader staff

On September 14, the Government of Canada sent out a news release -entitled, ‘Sustainability gets a boost in Alberta with federal funding for green projects through FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities).’

One of the projects mentioned in the release is the sewage lagoon upgrade in Slave Lake. The announcement may give the impression the funding is something new, but that is not the case.

Readers of The Leader will be familiar with the sewage lagoon upgrade project, which has been ongoing for around three years.

Town of Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman says the money in the news release is the loan the town received a while ago. When starting out, the town received some initial grants. However, this didn’t cover the full cost, so it took out a loan. The federal loan had the best interest rate. Also, there was a program which forgave $1 million of the loan. The town has budgeted to pay back the remaining $6,725,600 over several years.

Components of the town’s sewage treatment system labeled, with flow indicated by arrows. Courtesy Town of Slave Lake.

Kush Patel, the town’s project manager, explains how the treatment system operates:

“The wastewater is collected at the Sawridge lift station (see photograph) from all the lift stations within the town. Then, it is pumped to the lagoon cell#1. The wastewater travels the treatment paths from cell#1 to cell#4. The retention time allows the wastewater to be retained in the cell so that the heavier particles settle at the bottom and the aeration line provides oxygen to micro-organisms in the wastewater to eat up the waste.

“After treatment in cell#4, the wastewater enters the SAGR (Submerged Attached Growth Reactor) splitter structure. The flow is split to allow the wastewater to enter individual SAGR cells at the same time. The SAGR is aerated internally. The gravel in the SAGR cells provides a surface area for micro-organisms to attach and grow. The top few inches on the SAGR cells are just wood chips that act as an insulation blanket. The SAGR system is very effective in operation during winter conditions and removal of ammonia from the wastewater. After the SAGR treatment, the treated water is discharged into the creek.”

The project is expected to be substantially complete by mid-October.

One of the new cells fills with wastewater.

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