By Trevor Busch
Designed to improve the treatment of storm water draining into Taber Reservoir, the Town of Taber is moving forward with a major $7.4 million constructed wetlands project located in the community’s northeast.
In the 2016 capital budget, council had approved the East Taber Constructed Wetlands. The project has been carried over from year to year, but had not been accepted as part of the 2020 capital projects. In the town’s Storm Water Master Plan, constructed wetlands were included with cost estimates, and pegged at roughly $7.4 million. Largely funded through provincial and federal grants, the town’s contribution will be approximately $1.2 million.
“This relates to the Taber Irrigation District’s desire to have some attenuation to our storm water that’s coming out of the area around Wal-Mart and our industrial areas, wanting that storm water to be attenuated and treated before it hits Taber Reservoir,” said CAO Cory Armfelt at town council’s Feb. 24 meeting. “So we have been working with the Alberta Government, with the Alberta Community Resiliency Program, and the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program funding, which we have received word from the province that we were successful in being supported at the provincial level for that federal funding — that ICIP funding.”
The Taber Irrigation District (TID) board has accepted in principle the concept of a long-term lease of the land needed for the constructed wetlands, which allows the smaller Concept B design, and has contributed 22 acres of land to the project.
“With weather systems becoming more and more intense, storm water management can help to control and mitigate floods and enhances the climate change resiliency in Taber,” stated administration in their justification for the project.
Public works director Gary Scherer explained Lantic Sugar had become interested in the project after its proposal several years ago, and were now hoping to join with the town as part of a partnership.
“We’re finally coming full circle here, where Lantic is saying we want to be a part of this partnership. Whatever that involves, we actually want to have them with us, because we could use some of their water. The water I’m talking about is what they take from TID reservoir (Taber Reservoir), runs through their cooling towers and goes back. Basically they have to treat it now, because part of their approval says they have to through the wastewater treatment plant. There’s no need to, because it is lake water — there’s no additives, nothing else going into it, it’s still lake water — so the best use of that lake water is to put it back into the wetlands project. Now we have a good source of water coming into it, so we can maintain those wetlands.”
According to Scherer, Lantic will have a financial contribution to the project but this is still under negotiation and unknown at this time.
“There’s going to have to be contracts developed, conveyance agreements developed. So you’re not saying yes to everything right now, basically you’re just supporting them.”
Following discussion, council voted unanimously to accept the East Taber Constructed Wetlands as a 2020 capital project with funding from the Alberta Community Resiliency Program ($3,228,870), Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program ($2,531,000), the 2021 Federal Gas Tax ($429,000) and the town’s contribution of $1,211,130 to be allocated from capital reserves.
And in a follow up motion, council voted unanimously to support Lantic Sugar joining in the East Taber Constructed Wetlands Wetlands Partnership, and supports in principal allowing Lantic stormwater and segregated wastewater stream (cooling tower water) to flow into the wetlands project for more efficient treatment and re-use of water.
The project is located in the community’s northeast and adjacent to Taber Reservoir.