During the peak tourist season in the summer of 2006, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise came perilously close to running out of drinking water. Attempts to meet more stringent Alberta Environment regulatory standards during the high particulate loading period (spring snow melt) had resulted in rapid plugging of existing filters, increased water treatment plant down time, compromised treated water quality, and reduced net treated water production. Further complicating the issue was the fact that the Chateau provides potable water not only to Chateau guests and staff but also to Deer Lodge (a neighbouring independent property) and the public washrooms at the Parks Canada day-use area by the lake. The Chateau required a timely solution to water treatment quality and quantity problems within the framework of a Canadian National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts retained Associated Engineering to evaluate the Chateau’s water treatment needs and determine both short and long-term solutions before the next peak season cycle. The assessment revealed the need for both treated water storage and treatment plant improvements to reliably and consistently produce both the quantity and regulatory compliant water quality required.
Through the subsequent design and construction of the water treatment facilities and the storage reservoir, the following features and benefits have been or will be derived upon full commissioning in December, 2009:
- Reduced chemical use (elimination of coagulant) in the treated water stream, providing a potable water very close in quality to the pristine mountain water at Lake Louise
- Reduced water waste during peak demand times
- Minimal impact to the hotel grounds with the incorporation of a “green roof” containing natural vegetation
- Interpretive panels for public education of the ecosystem sensitivity and the value of water
- The decommissioning and reclamation of the existing hillside reservoir and the return of that lease area to National Park land