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Alberta village shuts down new wastewater system for winter

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Municipal officials of a small Alberta village one hour southwest of Edmonton have decided to shut down and winterize the Summer Village of Ma-Me-O Beach’s new problem-plagued wastewater system out of fear that it could freeze in the same way its lines did the year before.

In a December 23, 2019 notice to taxpayers, officials stated that the just over 100 residents would have to have their holding tanks pumped out because the system contractor warned that critical heat tracing repairs would not be able to be completed by the end of 2019.

“Every property connecting to the system is required to provide a heat trace cable from the pump system on their property to the main line, at the time of installation of the individual services,” states a recent report on the wastewater system.

The shutdown is planned from January 6, 2020 until April 15, 2020, with the village eventually covering the costs for the residential pump-outs.

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The $3-million wastewater system came on line for the village in 2018, after a nearly 30-year debate over how best to address waste. Many residents within the village didn’t see the need for a wastewater facility and balked at the cost to connect to the greywater line. The proposal for the wastewater facility came less than five years after residents were required to install $10,000 holding tanks, which some residents eventually found to be a bit too odorous.

According to a report on the wastewater plant’s latest issues, there have been numerous concerns raised. These include: pressure testing and implementation testing; freezing of wastewater lines; warranty and ongoing maintenance requirements; and potential leakage.

Village officials have also expressed concern about the communication strategy with residents and costs to date around the facility.

A series of sewage leaks occurred with the system during 2019, prompting fears it could leak into residents’ drinking water supply or the lake.

For more information on the village’s wastewater issues, visit here.

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