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Cold Lake Regional Utilities Commission awards contract for new wastewater treatment plant

The Cold Lake Regional Utilities Commission (RUSC) has taken a significant step forward in enhancing wastewater treatment infrastructure by awarding a contract to build a new wastewater treatment plant. With shovels set to hit the ground this summer, the $34 million project marks a crucial investment in modernizing treatment processes and ensuring compliance with federal and provincial regulatory requirements.  


Chair of Cold Lake RUSC, Ryan Bailey, emphasized the importance of the project, stating, “Wastewater treatment is one of those things that does not often grab headlines until things go very wrong. This project will modernize our treatment process to bring us well within compliance, despite a very challenging set of circumstances.”  


The new wastewater treatment plant will utilize cutting-edge technology known as a moving bed bio reactor. This innovative process utilizes millions of small polyethylene media to provide a large surface area for biofilm growth. Aeration keeps the media suspended in the wastewater, allowing the biofilm to efficiently treat the water by lowering biochemical oxygen demand and breaking down harmful chemicals. This technology was chosen for its effectiveness and cost-efficiency, utilizing much of the existing plant’s infrastructure and requiring less operation and maintenance than other processes.  


Stringent treatment standards are essential given the high organic load in the Beaver River, where the treated effluent is released. The moving bed bio reactor process underwent successful testing in a pilot project, demonstrating its ability to meet new environmental regulations. The pilot project results are now being utilized by municipalities across Canada that are facing similar challenges.  

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Kevin Nagoya, Manager of RUSC, highlighted the financial implications of the project, stating, “While we received some government funding to help, RUSC will need to debt finance part of the facility, and ultimately there will be an impact on utility rates as RUSC must recover its costs.”  


The construction of the new wastewater treatment plant, awarded to Sure-Form Contracting Ltd., is expected to take 24 months to complete and bring online. RUSC, comprised of members from the City of Cold Lake, the Municipal District of Bonnyville, the Department of National Defence, and Cold Lake First Nations, demonstrates a collaborative effort to address critical infrastructure needs and ensure environmental sustainability for the community.  

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