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Friday , 5 March 2021
Chair of the Cold Lake Regional Utilities Service Commission, Bob Buckle, right, and chair of the Bonnyville Regional Water Services Commission, Greg Sawchuk, right, sign the service agreement on Tuesday.

Regional waterline supply agreement signed, taps could turn on next week

The two main players in the regional waterline construction have signed an agreement on how to share the supply moving forward.

At the new Cold Lake Water Transfer Station southwest of the city on Tuesday morning, members from the Cold Lake Regional Utilities Service Commission (RUSC) and Bonnyville Regional Water Services Commission (BRWSC) were on hand for the official signing of the service agreement, in anticipation of Bonnyville residents getting the new water.

The $97 million project that began work in 2018, will also see 17 user connections to users in the M.D. of Bonnyville, as well as to Cold Lake First Nations. Connection points to Fort Kent and Ardmore through the new water line have also been established.

The document solidifies Cold Lake RUSC as the supplier of water to the BRWSC with detail on the framework and pricing.

“This is another strong example of what regional cooperation can achieve,” said Bob Buckle, Cold Lake RUSC chairman.

Water has been flowing into the pipeline system since mid-January in preparation for commissioning. So far in January, the focus in Bonnyville has been flushing the main water transmission line and reducing the turbidity, or cloudiness, of the water intake.

The regional water system will be disinfected with chloramination versus the current disinfection of chlorination that takes place at Bonnyville’s water treatment plant.

That means ammonia is added to the chlorine to form chloramines, a process which is used by the City of Edmonton and EPCOR, the Town of Bonnyville said in late November.

BRWSC chair Greg Sawchuk said that process will begin Wednesday.

“It has taken a long time to come to fruition, but by working together we have created something that will be for the betterment of the entire region for a very long time,” Sawchuk said in a release.

The total length of the pipeline includes 58 kilometres of 600mm to 750 mm pipe, with various river, stream, and wetland crossings, including the Beaver River.

The goal is to turn the taps with the new chloriminated water for other communities on Monday, February 1.

In the future, a feasibility study has been launched to explore extensions for Cherry Grove residents, and going farther south to Metis and Indigenous communities in Frog Lake First Nation, and Elizabeth and Fishing Lake Metis Settlements.

“Cold Lake First Nations is already tied onto the system through the commission from the water treatment plan,” said Cold Lake CAO Kevin Nagoya.

“The pipeline that has been installed allows the opportunity for them to further tie-in with the increased capacity and new infrastructure, and it was designed for both the commercial aspects and future growth of the Cold Lake First Nations,” he said, adding that CLFN has been involved in the design phases as members of both the Bonnyville and Cold Lake commissions.

“The Greater Cold Lake Water Feasibility study and masterplan had Cherry Grove included in the formulas for quantities of water. It’s just a matter of this was phase one, and it’s progressing through the masterplan that has already been kind of vetted through with the province and the region,” said Nagoya.

The City of Cold Lake and Cold Lake RUSC own the water and waste water treatment distribution and collection systems servicing the city, with Cold Lake RUSC contracting the City of Cold Lake to operate the infrastructure.

Once the treated water is pumped out of the treated water transfer station (located just south of Cold Lake), the infrastructure is owned and will be operated by the BRWSC.

The project was funded through the Government of Canada’s Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, the Government of Alberta’s Water for Life Grant, municipal contributions from the Municipal District of Bonnyville and the Town of Bonnyville, as well as funding from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Cold Lake RUSC oversaw the engineering processes and the project management.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.