St. Paul Council Highlights: Engineers give details and scope regarding Wastewater Upgrade

MPE Engineering Ltd., the engineering service handling the $11 million upgrade to St. Paul’s wastewater treatment plant, presented an in-depth look at the particulars regarding the project to St. Paul Council on Monday night.

“Right now, the facility here in St. Paul is only performing secondary treatment processes, and we’re going to get it to a level that conforms with industry standards,” said Jason Stusick, the project manager.

Currently, the treatment plant is operating with the following deficiencies:

• No grit (non-organic solids) is removed. This can cause unnecessary wear and tear
• The effluent (waste) does not meet Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations (WSER) and Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) tertiary treatment limits
• Sludge is poorly managed
• The blowers in the aeration system are past their useful service life, and oxygen transfer levels are inefficient
• The plant’s capacity for treatment will soon be too small to meet future flow levels

These concerns and more would be met with MPE’s proposed improvements, which include:

• Increasing the lift station capacity by adding a third pump
• Upgrades to the screening process
• Adding grit removal to improve downstream process operations and reduce maintenance requirements
• Incorporating phosphorus reduction
• Replacing old blowers for increased capacity and improved efficiency
• Replacing coarse diffusers with fine diffusers for increased oxygen transfer efficiency and improved energy efficiency
• Modify bioreactor for total nitrogen removal
• Add disc filtration for increased BOD solids removal
• Incorporating effluent disinfection via UV light
• Electrical and control systems upgrades
• Improvements to sludge management, by adding thickening, digestion, and dewatering
• The repurposing of sludge ponds for emergency storage
• Improvements to aerobic digestion of solids with a new tank and dedicated blowers
• Incorporating sludge dewatering systems for simple disposal

“Of course, the current treatment plant will have to function during the entire upgrade process,” Stusick said. “But when it’s done, you’re looking at around a 95% increase in water treatment quality and efficiency that will carry the town through at least the next 20 years.”

Funding the Upgrade

Council also once again explored funding options for the upgrade. Previously, Council had moved to use their line of credit with Servus Credit Union to cover the $1.2 million cost of the first year of the project, then reassess costs after year one. But Councillor Nathan Taylor and Chief Administrative Assistant Kim Heyman each presented options to receive a loan from the Alberta Capital Finance Authority. One option is to borrow the full $5.5 million that the Town is responsible for at a locked interest rate and receive it as a lump sum. The other option is to commit to receiving the same loan at a slightly higher interest rate, but only withdraw funds from ACFA as needed, rather than all at once. These options are still being explored and no commitments have been made.

The estimated cost of the entire project is $11,128,000, half of which is covered by a grant from the Federal Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in January 2019. The project would be completed by the end of February 2020.

Other Highlights

Additional highlights from the Council Meeting on February 26 include:

Lynoya Henderson from the Cradle to Crayon Coalition reported on the Early Development Instrument testing results for St. Paul. Ashmont, and Mallaig. Physical health, social competence, and emotional maturity have all improved since 2012, but communication and language and thinking skills have decreased from 77% to 75% and from 66% to 64% respectively. The Coalition is also erecting an $11,000 statue later in March featuring local children and art, and extended an invitation to Council to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Council moved to proclaim the week of March 4 to March 10, 2018, as Social Work Week. They also received an invitation to Glendon’s Pyrogy Curling Bonspiel on March 10 and are planning to put together a team comprising of Council and town staff members to compete.

The road running behind Canadian Tire and Sobeys to the Wellness Clinic (not technically called 48 Avenue, but continues on as an extension of 48 Ave.) is currently owned by a private contractor. Council has received complaints of poor snow removal on this road and reached out to the contractor to create a solution. The contractor agreed to let the Town’s snow removal equipment onto the road to perform maintenance, and also informed the Town that they’d be willing to sign ownership of the road over to the Town as long as they incurred no costs in so doing. Council moved to delay signing ownership until the snow clears and they can inspect the road to ensure that it meets General Municipal Servicing Standards.

JD Schmidt

JD is a reporter who works with Lakeland Connect to bring you the most reliable and honest news that he possibly can. He understands the effective combination of accurate reporting and fine journalistic writing.