District receives $1.8 million for wastewater upgrade

Upgraded system will help the district meet regulatory standards and improve treatment capacity

The District of Clearwater (DOC) has received nearly $2 million in funding from both the federal and provincial governments to go toward upgrades for the district’s wastewater system located on the Flats.

The feds kicked in $988,000 while the province of B.C. added $823,251 for a total 0f $1,811,251, which will cover 73 per cent of the overall costs.

The DOC is responsible for coming up with the remaining $658,749 to complete the project.

“We’re pretty much 10 households or less from capacity — or 10 hotel rooms — so we can double that and be good for the next 10 to 15 years,” said Mayor Merlin Blackwell.

“We needed this. Unfortunately, people don’t care because poo not being sexy, but for the growth of a town you need to be able to flush and have it go somewhere. Earlier this spring we were having some smell issues, but if all your ponds are functioning properly, you have proper aeration and things aren’t getting overloaded, you get way less smell.”

The joint federal and provincial funding was made available through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan and New Building Canada Fund to support water and wastewater infrastructure improvements in 15 British Columbia communities.

The DOC received the funds after its request for the municipal wastewater system to construct a headworks and screening facility and also convert sewage treatment cell No. 1 to an aerated lagoon.

The upgraded wastewater system will help the district meet regulatory standards, modernize its system and improve treatment capacity to support growth in the community.

The screening works as a prefilter to catch things like rags, paper, plastics and metals to help stop damage and clogging of downstream equipment and piping, most of the objects which get pumped in from port-a-potties and septic systems.

As for sewage treatment cell No. 1, the pond was decommissioned some time ago, but now plans are to revive it and make it into a proper aeration pond.

“What that allows us to do is have four ponds, two are aeration, which gets things percolating, then two that are settling ponds and we can sort of rotate their use. Right now we’re, I think, 10 cubic metres short of capacity, that’s our peak right now, and this allows us is to go in and get this new pond working,” said Blackwell.

“That’ll allow us to take the other ponds offline one by one and clean them properly, so we can basically start firing on all four cylinders. Whereas right now we’re struggling along because everything is plugged up with junk.”

Blackwell added as it stands, if the district were to get another hotel or housing project, the buildings wouldn’t be able to hook up to the area’s sewer system, but the increased sewer system capacity will now facilitate commercial growth and also prepare the DOC for future expansion of its sewer system, namely in the Dutch Lake area, to move off septic systems.

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