There were five contraventions of Aquatera’s environmental performance of service over the two years that it has been under contract to the Municipality of Jasper.
This information came out during the presentation that Aquatera’s representatives gave during the Aug. 15 council meeting.
All five of those contraventions occurred between July 2022 and July 2023, and four of them were deemed to be a direct result of the Chetamon wildfire. There were three in September and one in October.
“I think that was also impacted by the power outage but that being said, we need to be more proactive. Obviously going forward, we’ll improve,” said Doug Renwick, Aquatera’s interim vice president operations.
The fifth one occurred this June. A non-compliance for the Total Coliform Exceedance was reported.
“That was some of the challenge we were having with the UV system. I think we made some improvements there to make sure that that didn’t happen again,” Renwick said. “We want this number to be zero. We ended up with five, and four of the five we think are related mostly to the emergency.”
Mayor Richard Ireland asked about the wastewater treatment plant’s backup generator. There was at least one occasion when the ATCO lines went down but the backup generator wasn’t in operation.
“Has anything been done to prevent that from happening again?” he asked.
“We have been discussing on making sure that we get the critical loads put onto the generator. There’s an option of relocating the transfer switch,” said Vaughn Bend, Aquatera’s CEO.
“The generator is undersized predominantly due to the inflow we get from the JPR lift station. They have five sewage lift stations over there. It comes down underneath the Athabasca River and then back up into our plant. It causes large swings in demand.”
That UV disinfection system will get an added boost during the company’s UV building and bank replacement planned for Spring 2024. This comes after Aquatera spent the 2022/2023 period developing and constructing a major ($2.5M) wastewater dewatering overhaul complete with a new centrifuge, polymer system and sludge pumps. Commissioning of the system commenced last month.
This project received a $1.5 million boost from the province’s Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership at the end of April. The grant’s purpose is to ensure the public’s confidence in the wastewater system while helping Jasper achieve its environmental obligations.
The volume of wastewater work managed by the plant is approximately six times larger than Jasper’s permanent population.
The installation of a new Equalization Tank valued at $3.2 million is on hold as Aquatera and the municipality wait on funding sourcing. The municipality spent approximately $100,000 to update lab equipment and conduct some major changes to the scaler control at the facility.
By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Aug 23, 2023