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Red Deer’s new water treatment residuals facility earns sustainable infrastructure award

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The City of Red Deer’s residuals management facility, currently under construction for its water treatment plant, has earned Envision Bronze verification for leadership in sustainable infrastructure serving a population of just over 100,000 Albertans.

The upcoming $23-million residuals treatment building will help to maintain the quality of the Red Deer River by removing sediment and traces of chemicals used in other water treatment processes prior to discharge.

According to the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), which co-leads the Envision rating system, the new residuals facility will be monitored and controlled using SCADA. It will also use 23.6% less energy than a typical facility, thanks to increased insulation in the facility’s roof.

“The City of Red Deer should be lauded for its thoughtful and strategic use of Envision throughout project design and construction and to inform long-term operations and maintenance decisions as well,” announced ISI Managing Director Melissa Peneycad.

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The residuals management facility will also prevent surface and groundwater contamination by including several features and monitoring systems into the project’s design, including a rain garden and groundwater monitoring wells, in response to soil contamination found at the site. A qualified aquatic environmental specialist has been brought on board to provide recommendations for instream construction activities, ISI reported.

Kingsford Amoah, environmental planning engineer for Red Deer, called the Envision bronze verification “an honour” and expressed pride in being a proactive leader in sustainability.

“Our drinking water and our environment are high priorities for the city, and improved treatment will reduce the visible plume and solids sedimentation from the discharge, as well as lessen associated impacts on fish habitats,” Amoah said in a statement.

In 2019, it was announced that central Alberta’s City of Red Deer would receive nearly $50 million from the provincial government to design and expand its wastewater treatment plant. The upgrades are expected to add an extra 15 years of capacity to accommodate added flow from the north and west lines of the regional system. The upgrades should be completed by 2026.

How Red Deer’s water is treated

On its website, the City of Red Deer public works officials take visitors through a step-by-step process to show precisely how the city’s water is treated:

  1. Raw water intake and screening. Large screens remove debris from the river water. This takes place in the screen building.
  2. Pumping water to the plant. Water is pumped from the screen building into the plant. Potassium permanganate and powdered activated carbon are added, which help control taste and odour when there are high concentrations of organic matter in river water.
  3. Clarification.
    • Coagulation: Aluminum sulfate is added to water, causing small particles in water to stick together.
    • Ballasted flocculation: The water flows through clarifiers, which are large tanks with paddles that slowly mix the water. Very fine sand that is coated with a polymer solution is added to the clarifiers. The polymer solution helps the water particles and the fine sand to coagulate, forming larger heavier particles. These larger particles are called floc.
    • Sedimentation: The floc settles to the bottom of the sedimentation tanks, taking with it organic material and colour. This is then removed from the water.
  1. Filtration. The water flows through dual media filters made of a layer of quartz sand and a layer of anthracite coal. These filters help remove fine particulate matter from the water that was not removed in the clarification process.
  2. Chlorine disinfection. Sodium hypochlorite is used to kill harmful bacteria and viruses present in the water.
  3. UV disinfection. Ultraviolet light is used to inactivate potential disease-causing microbes such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. These are microbes that cannot be killed with chlorine disinfection.
  4. Fluoridation. Fluoride is added to water to help prevent tooth decay.
  5. Water stabilization. Caustic soda is added to adjust treated water to an optimal pH level, which helps control corrosion within the distribution system.
  6. Chloramination. A small amount of ammonia is added to the water, providing longer-lasting disinfection.

Source: City of Red Deer

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