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The federal Green Municipal Fund has led to 47 completed projects in Saskatchewan that contributed $14.9 million to the economy and created 159 jobs. Photo credit: edb3_16, stock.adobe.com

Three Saskatchewan municipalities are upgrading wastewater infrastructure with a combined investment of more than $2.1 million through the federal Green Municipal Fund (GMF).

The investments, administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, will aim to reduce GHG emissions through infrastructure improvements in the communities of Oxbow, North Battleford and Yorkton.

The GMF has already funded 47 completed projects in Saskatchewan that contributed $14.9 million to the economy and created 159 jobs.

Oxbow has already undertaken part of its $4.6-million lagoon system upgrade for its population of just over 1,300. With the GMF contributing $1.8 million, officials have integrated a submerged attached growth reactor (SAGR) system into the lagoon to allow for further growth and development.

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The province’s Water Security Agency had suspended new development in the area due to Oxbow’s undersized wastewater system. Now, with the upgrade, officials expect they will be able to treat an additional 90,000 m3 of wastewater per year.

According to local officials, the upgrade has created the only single cell, shallow facultative lagoon in Western Canada to be converted to an aerated cell upstream of a SAGR system, while maintaining the geometry of the existing cell.

The new system is also expected to reduce erosion.

Nearly 650 kilometres northwest, in the City of North Battleford, local officials are celebrating a $175,000 grant from the GMF to cover a new energy consumption study. Third-party facility experts will investigate new ways to save energy and generate renewable energy at high energy consumption municipal facilities such as the wastewater treatment plant.

“Upgrading new and existing buildings to be more energy-efficient while also investing in clean infrastructure and sustainable practices will help us achieve our climate targets, ensure that Canadians save money on energy costs, and create good, middle-class, jobs,” announced Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in a statement.

North Battleford officials said that portions of the energy consumption study have already been completed and they are now taking a serious look at installing solar panel systems at all five facilities. Mayor Doug Pierce said in a live stream press conference that the panels could save 15% in energy costs per year.

In the City of Yorkton, more than $150,000 will be used to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant to reduce the impact on Yorkton Creek and the nutrient-rich Assiniboine River. Mitch Hippsley, Yorkton’s Mayor, told a live stream press conference that the funding will help the community explore water reuse options as it updates the wastewater treatment plant.

“The standards have changed, and we want to do this the right way,” said Hippsley. “This is perfect timing.”

The Yorkton plant opened in 1991 as a semi-automated secondary wastewater treatment facility. It uses screening, sewage pumping, grit removal, primary clarification, aeration, final clarification, and sludge digestion.

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