Update on Wastewater Treatment Plant odour mitigation
Seasonal mitigation work, including adding a water cap to the sludge holding ponds, is underway at the Whitecourt Wastewater Treatment Plant to control odours at the facility. This, in addition to other odour mitigation strategies, will be conducted throughout the spring and summer months to reduce odours that may be generated by the facility.
Based on recommendations made by Stantec Engineering on the Wastewater Treatment Plant, Whitecourt has implemented a number of odour mitigation activities at the facility over the last several years. The Town of Whitecourt has:
• Restricted the septic waste arriving at the Wastewater Treatment Plant;
• Relocated the truck dump station to the plant and placed controls on its use;
• Implemented an odour control program which includes the monitoring/ testing/injection of Biomax to control hydrogen sulphide (H2S) generation;
• Implemented a monitoring program for the detection of H2S on properties adjacent to the plant;
• Changed the operating practices of the plant to control odours generated by the digesters;
• Planted over 300 trees in an effort to establish a green buffer between the lagoon and residents;
• Incorporated information to assist residents with proper use of the sanitary sewer system into promotional materials.
Throughout this spring and summer, crews will continue to monitor, test and inject Biomax to control H2S generation. Town
Administration has drafted a new utilities bylaw that will enhance the Town’s ability to control the use of the sanitary sewer collection system. This bylaw will be presented to the Policies and Priorities Committee for review later this year.
The Town wants to improve the quality of life of all residents in the area, and those enjoying recreational facilities in the vicinity. There are a number of medium to long-term projects that are currently being reviewed. Stantec Consulting Ltd. is preparing a follow-up report that will be completed this summer that will review activities that have been completed, the results, and evaluate if more can be done in a cost-effective manner for the entire community.
The operation of a Wastewater Treatment Plant is an involved science. It uses both mechanical and biological processes to break down organic matter which arrives on a continual basis. There is a point in the process where the system changes from aerobic (with oxygen present) to anaerobic (lacking oxygen) which occurs in the waste activated sludge holding ponds, and a byproduct of this change is the creation of H2S, among other gases, which creates the odour. This sludge is stored on-site during the winter, and removed every fall for use as a fertilizer for local farmers.
We appreciate the community’s understanding as we work to minimize the impact of this facility on our community.