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Wetlands development still on track, say town officials

Posted on June 29, 2023 by Taber Times

By Trevor Busch
Taber Times
editor@tabertimes.com

Some of the development ongoing for the constructed wetlands near Taber Lake has raised questions among the public in recent weeks, but town officials say the project is on track and in compliance with Alberta Transportation.

The constructed wetlands project has been ongoing since April 2022. The Town drafted a Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP) in 2015 that identified a need for storm water storage on the east side of Taber, adjacent to the Taber Reservoir. Once completed, the development will direct stormwater from the intersection of Highway 36 and 56th Avenue to the wetlands where it will be stored and treated naturally.

Recent excavation and infill work on the project had drawn some questions from the public, suggesting the proper approvals may not have been in place with Alberta Transportation. The Town says that’s not the case, however.

“There was a canal location that was filled in temporarily so that the contractor could move equipment across,” said communications coordinator Meghan Brennan. 

“The project is very fluid, and so the public will see numerous ditches, culverts, and canals in various stages of excavation and infill while the project progresses. All work will continue to be done in full compliance of Alberta Transportation’s requirements.”

Flooding occurred in the Taber region in 2018, which increased the Town’s desire to expand its stormwater storage capabilities, particularly for the protection of the east industrial area. The East Constructed Wetlands project was already identified as a priority in 2017, so the Town began implementation. 

Total storage volume will be 100,000 cubic metres of stormwater runoff, and the conveyance is designed to accommodate a one-in-100 year rainfall event. Active storage depth will be one metre, and it will be situated on 22 acres.

Highway culvert development for the project is still fluid, and Brennan indicated the approval process will be ongoing. 

“The Town is still working with Alberta Transportation on the culvert designs along the highway, so there’s neither been permission nor denial of any plans. Consultants are still fine tuning what will work best for both Alberta Transportation and the Town with the ditches and culverts to move water from the industrial area across the highway to the wetlands.”

Stormwater quality is expected to be improved by removing sediment throughout forebay ponds and filtration piping, nutrient and sediment removal through prolonged retention times created by staged storage elevations, nutrient removal through wetlands plants and vegetation, and advanced treatment through bio-bed implementation.

The total project cost is $7,499,200, most of which is being funded through federal and provincial grants. The Town’s contribution is $791,330. 

The project is expected to be completed in fall 2023.

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