West Yellowhead MLA Martin Long stopped by Jasper on April 27 to announce the province has put up $1.5 million toward upgrades to the municipality’s wastewater treatment plant, much to the gratitude of Mayor Richard Ireland (left) and John Greathead (not pictured), the municipality’s director of operations and utilities. | S.Hayes photo Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The province delivered a $1,544,070 boost to the Municipality of Jasper’s project to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant.

Martin Long, MLA for West Yellowhead, brought the announcement to town during a previously scheduled visit on April 27.

“Recently, council was presented with some challenges at our own wastewater treatment plant. It needs some significant upgrades. We authorize our administration to go ahead and just carry those on because they’re needed in our capacity to serve our residential community with hundreds of thousands or millions of visitors who come through here and use our wastewater system,” said Mayor Richard Ireland during the brief presentation.  

“It’s heavily taxed, and it was in need of repairs.”

Those repairs come with an estimated price tag of $3.6 million. Ireland said that council is looking at a debenture to fund part of it as well.

The work will focus on improvements to the now 22-year-old facility’s dewatering system, process air blower, UV disinfection system and the replacement of a centrifuge. All of these will increase the efficiency of the facility and even improve on its reportedly high standards for returning treated water back to the environment.

John Greathead, director of operations and utilities, said that the municipality has already spent approximately $100,000 updating lab equipment and conducting some major changes to the scaler control at the facility. This was after EPCOR was hired to do a conditional assessment within the last few years.

“It’s just something you do: technology changes, parts wear out or become obsolete. It’s just the natural lifecycle,” he said.

The volume of wastewater work it manages suggests that Jasper is a town of 30,000, which is six times the town’s permanent population.

“Water and garbage don’t lie,” he said. “We do see heavy demands.”

Crews have already moved onto site to start the work this week.

Ireland thanked MLA Long for his work to help in establishing this funding.

The money comes through the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership. The nearly 43 per cent contribution toward the project is meant to ensure the public’s confidence in this wastewater system while helping the community to achieve its environmental obligations.

It was only four years ago that the plant was deemed to be at its maximum capacity and in dire need of repairs. Some of its major components were seriously corroded, threatening the collapse of a central structure.

Greathead confirmed that there is nothing “catastrophic” about the state of the plant these days and that Jasper is fully compliant with all of the regulations.

This support represents the Government of Alberta’s commitment to supporting the growing prosperity of the Municipality of Jasper and rural Alberta, read a public statement prepared by the municipality.

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 28, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

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