By Lisa Dumontier
Municipal CAO Brian Anderson provided an overview of water and sewer statistics for the various plants located within the Municipality of Red Lake during the March 12th Committee of the Whole Meeting. Remarking that efforts to reduce capacity problems at local Water Treatment Plants (WTP) and Water Pollution Control Plants (WPCP) have been “100 per cent successful”, the CAO has recommended that the Municipality continue with its water and sewer management plan by repairing areas of infiltration as identified in 2011 and by completing a leak detection program in 2012.
With ongoing capacity issues at the Balmertown WPCP beginning in 1999, Council was presented with a report from Anderson in 2001 outlining a series of provisions to help reduce the use of water district-wide. In addition to calling for the disconnection of residential eaves troughs and weeping tile from the municipal sewer system, the report also prompted the municipality to purchase Aqua Flow Systems to re-circulate water so that residential service lines could continue to be bled without placing any additional water into the sewer system. The units were offered at cost to all municipal residents.
In 2002, discussions to move forward with the water and sewage management plan began and by fall of 2008, every home and business connected to the municipal water system went live with a new metered water system. Invoicing for that system began on July 01, 2009 and according to Anderson the installation of these metres, coupled with the 2011 Infiltration Study which identified five bad areas within the Red Lake system, has drastically decreased the amount of water and sewer being treated locally.
Information reported on the flows for the WTPs, WPCPs and Lagoons since 2006 includes:
Balmertown WPCP: With a plant capacity of 1,224 cubic metres per day, the average intake for this plant in 2009 was 1,186 cubic metres. As relayed by Anderson in his report to Council, since metres were installed in 2008 and water and sewer lines were replaced on a portion of Dickenson Road and all of Fifth Street, the average flow per day had decreased to 805 cubic metres in 2010 and to 657 cubic metres in 2011. “There is still one more line that requires replacement and that is the east end of Lassie Road,” he said. “Once this has been completed and with proper water management, there will not be a requirement to build a second cell within the WPCP, which will save the Municipality a minimum of $3.5 million.”
Cochenour WTP/Balmertown Reservoir Pumping Station (RPS)/Cochenour Lagoon: Reporting a plant capacity of 6,368 cubic metres per day between Cochenour, McKenzie Island and Balmertown, CAO Anderson confirmed that the Cochenour WTP has been producing water ranging from a capacity of 20.6 per cent in 2006 to a low of 17.6 per cent in 2011. Indicating that there is very low infiltration within their sewage systems, the report details that the Balmertown RPS produced 315,277 cubic metres of water in 2011 while the Cochenour WTP produced 94,107 cubic metres of water in 2011 for Cochenour and McKenzie Island. 48,129 cubic metres of sewage were pumped into the lagoon in 2011—a statistic expected to improve once the Municipality completes its leak detection program this summer.
Red Lake WPCP: The plant capacity of the Red Lake WPCP sits at 2,460 cubic metres per day. As confirmed by Anderson, while the 2008 daily average for the plant was 1,844 cubic metres, since the water metres were installed and portions of the water and sewer lines on Young Street and Highway 618 were replaced, the average flow per day had dropped substantially to 1,621 cubic metres in 2009, 1,385 in 2010 and 1,092 in 2011. “The capacity rating has dropped from 75 per cent in 2008 to 44.4 per cent in 2011. WPCPs are red flagged at 80 per cent which does not allow any type of new construction within the community,” explained Anderson. “If we had hit the 80 per cent there is a chance that we would not have been able to give out building permits for the Super 8 and Tim Hortons.”
Red Lake WTP: Detailing a substantial drop since 2006 from 688,114 cubic metres per year to 295,298 cubic metres in 2011, CAO Anderson confirmed that the Red Lake Water Treatment Plant is well within its capacity but still has issues during the summer months as a result of heightened water use. “The Red Lake WTP produced 295,498 cubic metres of water in 2011 and the Red Lake WPCP had 399,410 cubic metres of sewage treated. This indicated that there is a problem with infiltration within the Red Lake system,” he noted. “The 2011 infiltration program indicated that there were 5 bad areas within the Red Lake system that had infiltrated and those areas will be repaired in 2012.” Once the work has been completed, the Municipality will continue to monitor the system.
Madsen Lagoon/WTP: Not of huge concern to the Municipality, with a capacity that ranges between 14.9 and 9.8 per cent, the Madsen WTP has seen a moderate decline in water produced since the water metres were introduced in 2008 producing a high of 37,576 cubic metres of water in 2009 before dropping to 29,256 in 2010 and 26,739 in 2011. With plenty of room to grow before the community’s plant reaches capacity, Anderson’s report confirmed a vast expenditure looming on the horizon as the Madsen Lagoon, which sits on the mine property and currently holds a Certificate of Approval from the Ministry of the Environment, will likely need to be replaced with a WPCP in 7 to 10 years as a result of new federal legislation that is expected to ban the use of natural lagoons for sewage treatment purposes.
To cost the Municipality an estimated $100,000, a leak detection program is scheduled to take place in 2012 with capital costs slated to be utilised to cover the balance. As relayed by Anderson, all areas known to be possibly bad will be scoured and subsequently repaired to ensure local plants are operating as efficiently as possible.
“I know the CAO was committed to water metres probably 9 or 10 years ago and it was a long process but we finally got there and one of his comments 9 or 10 years ago was ‘we have to get this done so we don’t have to invest capital in buildings and other development down the road’,” said Mayor Phil Vinet. “I think the ratepayers of Red Lake can thank our CAO to a large extent for this whole project which has met our expectations and is serving this community well.”