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Friday, Sep 10, 2021

[AE75] Residents of Onion Lake receive safe, long-term water supply

Group photo of people outside a water treatment plant

As we celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2021, we take a look back at our legacy of achievements and milestones over the years, as chronicled in our company newsletter that began publishing in 1967...

Originally appeared in AE Today, March 1999 issue

The Onion Lake First Nation near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan (population 2,300) has, until recently, derived domestic water from one of three groundwater treatment plants, each with an independent well field. But increased domestic demand and dwindling ground­water resources have resulted in an acute water shortage. This has culminated in the loss of the developed wells, the need to ration treated water, and to import water to the community at an average daily cost in excess of one thousand dollars. 

Associated Engineering was engaged to develop an alternative, sustain­able water source. The need for a sustain­able and safe water supply for the community resulted in an in-depth study of potential sources and design of the most appropriate option. Raw  water source options examined included groundwater from more remote or deeper sources, surface water from nearby lakes of the North Saskatchewan River and induced infiltration wells on the north bank of the river. The least costly source capable of the safest, long-term supply was shallow infiltration wells in newly formed land on the north bank of the North Saskatchewan River at a site approxi­mately 5,500 metres south of the reserve. 

"The multi-contract project brings the residents of Onion Lake a safe, expandable, long­-term water supply that will meet their needs well into the future."

Associated Engineering undertook the project in three phases: 

Phase I included the construction of an intake well field at the North Saskatchewan River, raw water pump­ing station, transmission main, pre-sedimentation basin, water treatment plant, potable water storage expansion, waste disposal and distribution to the RC and Chief Taylor Village areas.

Phase II included modifications to the existing water treat­ment plants and construction of underground distribution mains to tie into these plants.

Phase III includes the addition of low pressure (trickle) water distribution to the majority of the rural housing units. The system will be tied to the existing distribution plants and the main treated water supply mains from the proposed new plant, resulting in a basic looped system from the proposed plant.