Nova Scotia and Alberta communities set for wastewater upgrades

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Cold Lake
The contract for the construction of the new Cold Lake (pictured) wastewater treatment plant was awarded to Sure-Form Contracting Ltd. and is expected to be completed within two years. Photo Credit: Derrick C. Goode, Wikimedia Commons

While officials in the City of Cold Lake, Alberta, prepare contracts to have shovels in the ground this summer for a new $34-million wastewater treatment plant, municipal leaders in Nova Scotia’s Victoria County are considering whether new provincial wastewater funding will lead residents to connect to a proposed main sewage line. 

A survey will be going out to gauge interest from Ingonish property owners living in the water catchment area whether they’d be interested in connecting to the proposed main sewage line. While the council has not made a decision as to the scope of the proposed project, the main sewage collector line could potentially run from Cape Breton Highlands Park boundary, through Ingonish Beach and Ingonish Harbour to the marina. 

The new infrastructure for Nova Scotia’s Ingonish Beach area in Victoria County will extend to the community of Ingonish Harbour and collect wastewater from the Cape Breton Highlands National Park property and Keltic Lodge.  

Nova Scotia is investing more than $7.3 million in the project, with an additional $7.3 million coming from the municipality of Victoria County. 

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“We know the Ingonish community has the potential for continued growth and prosperity,” Victoria County Warden Bruce Morrison announced in a statement. “Access to modern and efficient infrastructure will provide residents of this beautiful community further opportunity for future development.” 

The wastewater project is part of the Municipal Capital Growth Program, a $102-million investment in projects across Nova Scotia. Under the program, Nova Scotia is also investing $3.1 million in water infrastructure projects for the Town of Bridgewater, including new screening equipment for its wastewater treatment plant to improve the plant’s efficiency and overall treatment capacity. 

Additionally, the province is funding design work and upgrades needed for the electrical, mechanical and structural systems at the Town of Yartmouth’s wastewater treatment plant to improve environmental performance and increase capacity. 

Cold Lake 

In Alberta, the Cold Lake Regional Utilities Commission has awarded a contract to build a new wastewater treatment plant that will include upgraded technology to ensure that the effluent discharge from the city’s wastewater treatment facility will meet all federal and provincial regulatory requirements. 

The new $34-million plant will use much of the existing plant’s infrastructure and take significantly less to operate and maintain compared to other wastewater treatment processes. It will use a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR). At the same time, aeration is used to keep media suspended in the wastewater, allowing the biofilm to do its job as efficiently as possible. The biofilm treats the water, lowering the biochemical oxygen demand, and breaking down other harmful chemicals in the process. This technology was chosen for its effectiveness and because it could be implemented in a cost-effective manner, local officials said.  

The MBBR process was tested in a cold climate pilot project to ensure its ability to meet more stringent environmental regulations surrounding the discharge of effluent. The results of the pilot project are now being used by other cities across Canada in similar climate zones. 

The treated effluent will be released into the Beaver River, which already comes with a high organic load upstream.  

“Wastewater treatment is one of those things that does not often grab headlines until things go very wrong,” Cold Lake Regional Utilities Commission Chair Ryan Bailey announced. “This project will modernize our treatment process to bring us well within compliance, despite a very challenging set of circumstances.” 

The contract for the construction of the new wastewater treatment plant was awarded to Sure-Form Contracting Ltd. and is expected to be completed within two years. 

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