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Red Deer’s Water Treatment Plant Residuals Management Facility will reduce environmental impacts associated with treating water

Red Deer Water Treatment Plant Residuals Management Facility - Exterior

The City of Red Deer in central Alberta is the province’s third largest city. With a thriving economy and more than 105,000 residents, the city operates a 150 million litre per day conventional, surface water treatment plant that draws water from the Red Deer River. The facility provides safe, clean drinking water to the city and its regional customers. 

The City of Red Deer engaged Associated Engineering to improve management of the residual waste streams produced by the water treatment plant. The solution, a new Residuals Management Facility, will treat up to 6 million litres per day of clarifier blowdown waste from the plant’s Actiflo® clarification process before discharge to the Red Deer River. 

Red Deer Water Treatment Plant Residuals Management Facility - Interior

Treating clarifier blowdown waste before its discharge to the river will reduce the visible plume created by the current discharge, reduce solids sedimentation and associated impacts on fish habitats, improve the river’s aesthetics, and encourage recreational activities. By improving the quality of the waste stream, the City is demonstrating its leadership and commitment to environmental stewardship and meeting environmental regulations. An additional waste stream, backwash water from the plant’s filters, will be sent to the Red Deer wastewater plant for treatment.

Envision Certification Lead & Process Support, Jill Townsend, tells us, “It was a pleasure to assist the City in its pursuit to obtain Envision® certification for the project.” Envision® Awards are available to projects that have successfully completed the Envision certification program offered by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. The project was evaluated based on Envision’s 60 sustainability criteria that address  impact areas of quality of life, leadership, resource allocation, natural world, and climate and risk. 

Some key sustainability achievements and verified results include:

  • Minimizing noise and vibration during plant operation with a target of 50 decibels at night
  • Reducing operational energy consumption by 23.6% compared to industry norms
  • Recycling, reusing, and diverting 75% of the construction waste
  • Supporting sustainable procurement practices
  • Preventing surface and groundwater contamination.

In conceiving the design of the new building, engineers, architects, and City staff collaborated to create a design that blends aesthetically with the surrounding area. The design reflects some of the architectural features of the original Water Treatment Plant No. 1 that is no longer in service. Bricks are incorporated in the facade, replicating a feature of historic buildings in Red Deer, including the nearby, above-ground reservoir. Designers also applied an aggregate finish on precast concrete panels to tie-in with the architecture of the active water treatment plant.

Regulatory approvals were identified as one of the key risks on the project. Project Manager, Risto Protic, says, “The approval sought by this project, to discharge treated water treatment residual waste to a water course, sets a precedent in Alberta. In anticipation of regulator scrutiny, we worked with the City to proactively engage the regulator to address potential concerns and respond in a timely manner to keep the process moving on the required schedule.” We tracked the progress of regulatory approvals to allow all parties to be informed on the progress and potential issues.

Red Deer Water Treatment Plant Residuals Management Facility - Stormwater Rain Garden

Our key personnel on this project include Risto Protic, Joe Lisella, Jeff Huber, Gabriel Jean, Joe White, Mark Ingalls, Gates Billodeau, Candice Pearce, and Jill Townsend. The project is expected to be completed in late 2021. 

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