A sustainable, long-term wastewater treatment solution for Lacombe and region

Due to strong population growth in the central Alberta over the past two decades, the provincial government and communities in the region identified the need for a long-term, sustainable solution to wastewater treatment as far back as 2006 to ensure regulatory compliance, and to allow for anticipated future growth. 

In 2012, the City of Lacombe, Town of Blackfalds and Lacombe County resurrected the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater Services Commission (NRDRWWSC), and since then we have advocated for a regional solution – the construction of the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater Transmission System.

As you may know, this crucial regional infrastructure project has long been a top for the partner municipalities in the NRDRWWSC. The existing wastewater treatment facilities of Lacombe and Blackfalds are at capacity and are facing the very real possibility of ongoing non-compliance with federal and provincial environmental regulations. Lacombe County does not have its own treatment facilities. 

As Chair of the NRDRWWSC, I am of the view that regional transmission and treatment – rather than the redevelopment of individual treatment facilities in Lacombe and Blackfalds – will offer a considerable financial advantage to the member municipalities over the long term, given the significant costs associated with establishing and operating individual upgraded wastewater treatment facilities and in meeting current federal and provincial regulatory requirements for treated effluent discharge into the receiving water bodies – the Red Deer River in the case of Blackfalds, and Wolf Creek in the case of Lacombe. 

The North Red Deer Regional Wastewater Transmission System project has received strong support from the Government of Canada and the Alberta Government, providing the necessary backing needed to move forward. In September 2016, the NRDRWWSC announced approved funding from both orders of government, who are collectively contributing over $57 million, with the NRDRWWSC covering the remainder of costs. This project has a total estimated total cost of $71 million. 

It includes the construction of approximately 26 kilometers of wastewater pipeline, regional lift stations in Lacombe and Blackfalds, and an odour management facility in Red Deer. Strategies to manage odour will also be implemented at both lift stations and at air release points along the pipeline.

Our region will benefit from this project in many ways over the coming years. I am excited for the creation of job opportunities during construction phase of this project, which will increase the number of dollars spent in our communities, and provide employment for local people during what has been a very challenging economic downturn. Our local economy will surely benefit from the increased investment in development along the corridor between Lacombe, Blackfalds, and Red Deer. 

More importantly, this infrastructure will provide an enhanced level of wastewater treatment, which will help keep our residents healthy and safe. And by returning the recycled water back to its source, we will protect our very valuable water sources from contamination, and keep our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. 

As our region of Alberta continues to grow, it is our shared responsibility to ensure that future generations have the infrastructure in place to sustain them with the least amount of environmental impact. 

Wastewater treatment is one of the biggest challenges that all municipalities face, and I, along with the other mayors in the NRDRWWSC, believe that the North Red Deer Regional Waste Water Transmission System provides a sustainable, long term regional solution to this pressing need. 

- Mayor Steve Christie


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