How does the Wastewater Treatment Plant Work?

    The WWTP receives sanitary flows from the City’s main sewage pumping station (the South Lift Station or SLS), and also receives pumped flows from the nearby canola crushing plant operated by Cargill Limited (Cargill). These flows are pre-treated at the Cargill facility in such a way that they can be treated further by the City’s WWTP. Other wastewater contributions at the WWTP include:

    • Hauled Waste: The WWTP accepts both septic and non-septic (heavy grit, hydro vac) waste. The septic waste is currently discharged directly to the complete mix cell. The non-septic waste consists largely of hydro-vac truck loads and these are discharged to a hauled waste area to the east of the complete mix cell. Liquids from the non-septic waste area are periodically pumped into the complete mix cell, and heavier material is excavated and trucked to the adjacent Camrose Regional Landfill.
    • Alum sludge from the City’s Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is periodically discharged to the sanitary sewer and is delivered to the WWTP via the SLS.

    At the WWTP, treatment is currently provided by an aerated lagoon system. Treated wastewater is held in one of six large storage cells, and then released to Camrose Creek in the spring and again in the fall. During the winter months Camrose Creek is generally frozen and there is little or no flow. From the WWTP outfall Camrose Creek flows generally southwest about 4 km into the Battle River, just upstream of Driedmeat Lake. Driedmeat Lake is the raw water supply for the City’s WTP.

    Wastewater sludge generated in the existing lagoon-based system settles to the bottom of the lagoon cells.  This sludge (also called biosolids) is periodically removed from the lagoons and is beneficially reused as a fertilizer on nearby agricultural land.  The planned upgrades to the WWTP will result in additional sludge being produced.  However, the way that the City disposes of this sludge (through land application as fertilizer) will be largely unchanged from what is happening today.

    What are the key objectives of the project?

    The key objectives of the proposed upgrades are to:

    • Expand capacity to meet the growing demand from the various sources, including permanent resident, out-of-town student and visitor populations, commercial and industrial users. and the storm water inflow and infiltration that impacts the City’s sanitary system.
    • Provide upgraded facilities that will comply with the discharge standards required by the provincial and federal regulators.
    • Renew, replace or update, as required, existing infrastructure assets which are to be retained in the upgraded facilities.
    • Provide an appropriate level of flexibility and contingency measures in the proposed facilities to allow them to be readily adapted to meet future needs, including additional demands and more stringent regulatory requirements. This may include allowances for potential future water reuse.
    • Provide an appropriate level of redundancy within the upgrades such that the facilities can be operated and maintained in an efficient manner and at a reasonable level of operational risk, taking account of the resources (numbers and skill sets) available to the City.
    • Achieve the expanded capacity and higher effluent quality while introducing a minimum degree of process complexity. Attempt to minimize the increase in AEP classification level of the facility.
    • Reuse existing assets where it is reasonable to do so, keeping in mind the infrequent opportunities to make significant capital upgrades at the WWTP.
    • Design the facilities in such a way to achieve energy efficiencies with both the building and the internal processes.  Where possible, the City and its design consultant considered the anticipated costs throughout the life cycle of a particular process (pumps, lighting, etc.) before finalizing the design.
    • Maintain certain areas adjacent to the storage lagoons and between the lagoons and Camrose Creek as recreational amenities for walking, cycling, cross country skiing and related outdoor activities.

    How is the project funded?

    In July 2021, City Council approved an amended budget for this project.  The revised budget is $51.17M. 

    The City received $10.2 million in grants, is using approximately $21 million from reserves, and will need to debenture (borrow) $20 million to fund this project.

    GrantsUtility ReservesOff-Site Levies (repaid by future developers)Debenture (Debt Borrowing – repaid through utility rates and by future developers)Total
    2021 and prior$5.5M$4.1M--$9.6M

    The project will be funded over 4 years (2021 to 2024), and that the City plans to take over operations of the upgraded WWTP toward the end of 2023.