The 24 hour Wastewater Transfer Station on 81 Avenue was originally built in 2001 to accept wastewater from rural residents. However, since then, City Manager Dianne Hunter says there have been a number of issues, both with users having unlimited access, as well as bringing in types of waste that are causing problems to the system.
“The facility was never designed for that purpose,” she argues. “It’s not a good design, it’s not a good location, and it doesn’t really work and creates a liability. We think there’s some better solutions that the Regional District can look at.”
She adds that when the City is not able to treat the wastewater to the necessary quality, it’s not able to discharge it, which puts a strain on the system.
“Our lagoons are not set up and can’t isolate the wastewater coming in from outside our community into our lagoons and it’s contaminating our wastewater,” she explains. “It puts the city at risk as there’s a liability associated with that.”
That was seen last summer, when discharge from the South Lagoons to the Peace River was suspended for nearly two months because the quality of the treated wastewater didn’t meet the requirements. In a report, Director of Public Works Don Demers says staff is “convinced” the decrease in quality was from non-domestic wastewater in the system.
“Once the lagoons receive this type of wastewater, the biological process is stressed significantly, or even destroyed, leaving staff scrambling to try and rejuvenate the biological activity needed,” he writes.
Efforts have been made to try and ensure that users of the facility could only dispose of domestic wastewater, including additional signage, but instances have not been eliminated. That could partly be due to the station being open after hours, which also leads to staff overtime where there are operating issues outside of business hours. As of October 1, 2013, the station will only be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday until it is decommissioned.
Approximately 11 residents use it on a consistent basis.