The District of Chetwynd has awarded a $4-million contract to IDL Projects Inc. for upgrades to its sewer lagoons.
The upgrades will fix a problem that dates back to 2013 that saw the lagoons malfunction, discharging water that was not fully treated into the Pine River.
In February, the town formalized an agreement with the Peace River Regional District to contribute $500,000 to the upgrades. In exchange, Chetwynd agreed to allow rural residents in Area E access to the waste water treatment facility.
Worker camps, as well as commercial and industrial businesses have not been guaranteed access.
Chetwynd also received funding help for the project from the provincial and federal governments. This past summer, the province agreed to match a federal contribution of $1.49 million.
In February 2013, after observing unusually high levels of under-treated water being discharged from the lagoons into the Pine River, the provincial Ministry of the Environment issued a warning that included the threat of a $250,000 fine—an amount that would escalate if steps were not taken to deal with the issue.
Chetwynd hired engineering firm Golder Associates Ltd. to put together a report that presented a number of options to fix the issue.
The Golder report also traced the issue back to the lagoon’s age, and inability to meet current demand. As a result, oxygen levels in the lagoons were too low to break down the waste and have it properly treated before it was released into the river.
Chetwynd ultimately decided to construct a concrete aerated lagoon, new aeration blowers, underground piping and an emergency generator.