Millions in water infrastructure funding flows across Canada

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It’s been a busy week of green and water infrastructure funding across Canada, particularly in terms of wastewater treatment upgrades and improvements for stormwater management.

Here are a few highlights:

Alberta Stormwater Projects

The Minister of Infrastructure and Communities has announced more than $5.7 million through the Green Municipal Fund million for wetland system measures in the Town of Wainwright, Alberta. The upgrades are designed to help Wainwright better manage and treat the stormwater being released into the environment.

The new wetland measures will improve drainage and divert the majority of the stormwater to a new lagoon called Gold Quarter Pond. This will reduce the flow of stormwater into Bushy Head Lake, which already collects effluent from a neighbouring wastewater lagoon, improving the quality of runoff going into Battle River.

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“Today’s announcement highlights how municipal leaders understand both the needs on the ground and local solutions that work,” announced Vicki-May Hamm, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which delivers the Green Municipal Fund.

Ontario Wastewater Funding 

The Minister of Infrastructure and Communities has also announced over $7 million in grants and loans through the Green Municipal Fund to improve wastewater treatment plants in the Townships of Wellington North and St. Clair in Ontario.

St.-Clair-Ontario
In the Township of St. Clair, Ontario, the project will include the installation of a new system at the Courtright wastewater treatment plant to improve odours and lower the plant’s use of potable water. Photo Credit: Environment Canada

In the Township of Wellington North, the investment will be used to upgrade the current wastewater treatment plant in Arthur, Ontario, to service the growing population. These upgrades will improve the quality of wastewater released into the Conestogo River, significantly reducing the negative impact on the environment. In the Township of St. Clair, Ontario, the project will include the installation of a new system at the Courtright wastewater treatment plant to improve odours and lower the plant’s use of potable water.

“We are proud to work with municipalities on these two wastewater treatment plant projects that will help improve water and air quality in their communities, create good-quality jobs for Canadians and contribute to our overall climate goals,” announced Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources.

Quebec & New Brunswick Green Infrastructure

The Quebec municipalities of Beloeil, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Saint-Zotique and Varennes are using funding from the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program to develop climate adaptation plans. Each municipality will adopt a clear greening strategy aimed at reducing ambient heat while mitigating the issue of stormwater management. Their plans will also look for the best strategies to mobilize the public, businesses and industries and engage them in the process.

The City of Moncton in New Brunswick will use funding from the Green Municipal Fund to replace an oil-fired boiler with a biomass boiler as part of a pilot project to test a low-carbon district energy system at its municipal operations centre. Operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions reductions will be tracked over an 18-month period, with the objective of lowering the carbon footprint and increasing local energy resilience.

First Nations Water Funding

Tl’azt’en Nation drinking water advisory lifted
Graphic credit: Indigenous Services Canada

The federal government also announced $7.2 million in funding to connect Ontario’s Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation to the City of Kenora’s water system. Construction is expected to start in January 2019, and be completed by next fall. Part of the community has been on a boil-water advisory since 2012, while another portion of Wauzhushk Onigum had its water treatment facility rebuilt in 2017.

The federal government has also committed to the community of Sandy Lake First Nation to upgrade and expand its water treatment plant. The design phase of the project commenced in October 2018 and construction is expected to begin in December 2019. This work will provide a long-term solution to the community’s water needs. Additionally, interim repairs to the water treatment plant and distribution system are underway to address the long-term drinking water advisory that has been in place since 2002. It’s expected the advisory will be lifted in December 2018.

After more than 13 years, a Fort St. James area First Nation in British Columbia, known as Tl’azt’en Nation, finally has safe drinking water after a boil advisory that began in 2005 was lifted on Nov. 16. Indigenous Services Canada says a newly commissioned water treatment facility will provide potable water to the community. The federal government has committed to ending all long-term drinking water advisories for public systems on reserve by March 2021.

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