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Alberta town secures funding for next phase of major stormwater project

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Coaldale stormwater wetland rendering
Artist’s rendering of wetlands and stormwater retention pond as part of Malloy Drain Phase 2A project in Coaldale. Image credit: Town of Coaldale.

The Alberta Town of Coaldale has received new funding towards the next stage of the Malloy Drain implementation project, aimed at combating overland flooding and stormwater capacity that has hurt the area over the last two decades.

As no natural drainage courses exist in the area, efforts have been made to include a combination of irrigation works, constructed drains, roadside ditches and storm ponds to collect and channel the rain and snowmelt runoff.

The three-phase project is the result of extensive study following major floods in 1995, 2002, 2005, 2010 and 2014. Local officials began in late 2015 on Phase 1 for the upgrade of 3,700 metres of drain, replacement of existing canal structures, and the upgrade of the Highway 512 crossing.

After flooding in 2002, elected officials and administrators from the Town, County and St. Mary River Irrigation District began discussions on the Malloy Basin drainage issues and MPE Engineering Ltd. was hired to undertake a stormwater study of the basin.

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The latest round of funding is for the nearly $3.1-million Phase 2B of the stormwater project, which consists of three components: repurposing the decommissioned Town of Coaldale water reservoirs for stormwater storage; building a natural fore-bay for stormwater collection; and installing a bioswale and pump to act as a natural filtration system to clean stormwater runoff as it moves into the new storage areas.

“This project is really quite amazing when you think about the scope and complexity of dealing with this much water,” said Cameron Mills, manager of economic development for the Town of Coaldale. “In Phase 2B alone we’re talking about storage for 600,000 tonnes of water. This in and of itself is an impressive engineering feat,” Mills added.

stormwater construction phase one
Phase 1 was completed on schedule and under budget in 2016. Photo credit: Alberta Irrigation Districts Association

Earlier phases of the project were also partially funded both federally and provincially and included adding a drainage channel west of Evergreen Estates; a stormwater surge storage pond with wetland component south of Highway 3; a pipeline across Hwy. 3 and the CP Rail tracks; and a new wetland facility north of Highway 3, known locally as the Malloy Ponds.

Phase 2A of the project cost $5.4 million and included elements such as a new wetland complex west of the Water – Wildlife Preserve (Birds of Prey Centre).

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