We look forward to attending the Alberta Water and Wastewater Operators Association's 46th Annual Operators Virtual Seminar taking place on March 9-12, 2021. In addition to being a supporting gold sponsor of the event, we are presenting in several tracks of the technical program, with representation from our engineering, environmental science, and municipal infrastructure operations and training teams.
Wednesday, March 10th
1:15 PM - 1:55 PM MST
Chloramination - The Good, The Bad and The Operator
Co-presenters: Grant Dixon, Nicholai Kristal
Conversion of a water distribution system from free chlorine to chloramines is more common in recent years as systems expand beyond traditional municipal boundaries. In addition, the use of chloramines reduces the potential for formation of disinfection by-products. The conversion of a system can be challenging unless there is an understanding of the chemistry and the chlorine curve, a good operations plan and skilled operators to implement the changes.
1:15 PM - 1:55 PM MST
Stormwater Management Facilities: Planning for Wet Ponds and Constructed Wetlands
Co-presenters: Kristen Andersen, Sean Nicoll
Stormwater management facilities gather rainfall and runoff to mitigate impacts to downstream infrastructure and the natural environment. Wet ponds are the most common end of pipe stormwater management facility. Constructed wetlands can also be used to manage stormwater in place of wet ponds or to retrofit existing facilities. Stormwater wet ponds and stormwater wetlands have several components to meet the goals of managing water quality and quantity. This presentation focuses on how the planning process has evolved, and keys to successful design and construction.
Wet pond and constructed wetland design require an understanding of site hydrology, catchment properties and goals or targets for water quality and water quantity. A key part of the design process includes calculating flows to select and size system components. One aspect of project planning that has evolved in various jurisdictions includes consideration to mitigate climate change risk by increasing capacity to handle more significant storm events.
Constructed wetlands have gained significant popularity as a tool for managing stormwater. Stormwater wetlands are an efficient practice for pollution removal. Design criteria have evolved for wetlands as well. The establishment of vegetation zones each supporting different plants with different treatment functions, options to dissipate energy, and outlet configuration are key components to name a few. An examination of design options and their pros and cons must be tied to project goals to meet target for managing water quality and quantity.
Thursday, March 11th
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM MST
Community Resilience & Disaster Recovery
Presenter: Dana Woodworth
In May 2016, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta experienced the largest natural disaster in Canadian History. The 2016 Horse River Wildfire forced the evacuation of 88,000 people, destroyed over 2,500 dwellings, and had an estimated combined direct and indirect monetary impact of $8.9 billion. Our entire Region was affected. Our residents, businesses, and families struggled to understand the consequences and how to rebuild their lives. NOR-EX Engineering was contracted to lead and plan our Region’s recovery from this unprecedented disaster. They provided direct leadership of the newly formed Municipal Recovery Task Force, a dedicated embedded recovery planning team, and expert disaster recovery knowledge and advice.
Over a 13-month period, NOR-EX Engineering capably navigated the complexity of this unprecedented disaster recovery. They demonstrated exemplary collaboration with elected officials, senior public servants, and key regional and provincial stakeholders. They not only addressed the immediate and long-term consequences of the wildfire but actively promoted increased resiliency and build back better principles at the Regional level. NOR-EX’s leadership, planning, policy advice, and critical thinking were instrumental to our Region’s recovery from the 2016 Horse River Wildfire.” … Comments by Mayor Melissa Blake - Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
12:30 PM - 1:10 PM MST
Johnston Canyon In-Situ Wastewater Treatment – Protecting the Park for Future Generations
Co-presenter: Anne Bridgman
The Johnston Canyon Campground in Banff National Park operates seasonally between May and September, and consists of 132 campsites, five washroom buildings, including two with showers, an operations kiosk and sanitary dump station. In 2018, Parks Canada began undertaking a major infrastructure upgrade project within the campground which along with replacing all underground utilities, included the complete replacement of the sanitary collection and wastewater treatment systems which were known to be reaching the end of their useful lives and beginning to fail. As part of the overall project, the relocating of the operations kiosk and sanitary dump station provided the opportunity to eliminate their respective existing septic tank/leach pit installations and tie those sanitary services into the main campground systems to simplify operations. This had the consequence of increasing flow to the campground wastewater treatment system.
The design process was quickly complicated as a geotechnical investigation identified the in-situ soil conditions be very poor and it was discovered the assumed campground existing septic field had actually been replaced with a wood leach pit approximately 40 years ago. The issue with the soil conditions is fairly common in the mountains, where coarse soil conditions would at one time have been highly sought after for leach pit installations, but often do not meet even the minimum requirements for current soil based treatment requirements. Compounding the issue further, were Parks Canada’s strict development boundaries and environmental considerations, the topography of the site, and significant existing infrastructure, which all significantly limited the options for wastewater treatment options. Furthermore, the relatively short campground operating season, and Parks Canada’s limited operational capacity were other critical considerations in the design.
Associated Engineering worked with Parks Canada through a detailed options analysis and decision making process and provided the detailed design for the final option chosen for the site. Despite the numerous advantages associated with mechanical systems, Parks Canada opted to use a soil based treatment system to simplify operations/operating costs and avoid treatment issues associated with seasonal start up and fluctuations in flow. An in-situ soil based treatment system is ideal for the campground as it requires minimal ongoing maintenance, is reliable, and is able to provide a consistently high level of treatment given the nuances of the site. Traditional in-situ wastewater treatment systems however require good soil characteristics and are typically relatively small in nature; the Johnston Canyon campground system is relatively large and built in an area with far from ideal ground conditions.
The presentation will discuss the nuances associated with replacing existing wastewater treatment systems with ones which meet the current provincial Standards of Practice, and the decision making and design process used specifically for the Johnston Canyon campground wastewater treatment system. This included exploring more advanced passive treatment systems, completing treatment of in-situ soils to make the site usable, as well as navigating the regulatory challenges of a system this size in federal jurisdiction.