Humboldt council has approved funding to evaluate effluent irrigation options and solar power generation around the city’s treated effluent wastewater for their lagoon upgrade project.
This is expected to cost $32,850 plus taxes, with $15,700 toward the evaluation of irrigation options and $17,150 toward the evaluation of solar power generation.
Currently, the treated wastewater goes into Humboldt Lake. This is opposed by the Concerned Citizens for the Preservation and Restoration of Humboldt Lake (CCPRHL), which expressed concern that the nutrients from the treated outflow wastewater is negatively impacting the health of the lake.
The Water Security Agency previously stated that the treated effluent meets water quality standards for a fish bearing lake.
Peter Bergquist, Humboldt’s director of public works and utilities, said their funded evaluation of the irrigation options are from an alternative proposed by the CCPRHL.
“Their concern is that the nutrients may be causing negative effects to the water body there,” Bergquist said.
“With treated effluent, there is no way to treat it 100 per cent to make it the same as drinking water, it’s darn near impossible. There’s always going to be a little nutrients left over and we have to work within perimeters within the Water Security Agency.”
If effluent irrigation is chosen, treated wastewater would go into irrigating cropland and grasslands. The additional engineering scope will allow the consultant to thoroughly explore the technical processes and produce a report for council’s consideration.
“Effluent irrigation has been used on some cropland or grasslands in different locations to not only water the crops, but also provide a little bit of nutrients to them,” he said. “There are perimetres around there that we have to explore a bit further and to determine also the cost of such an endeavor.”
Unrelated to the concerns presented by the CCPRHL, part of the evaluation will also look into the option of solar power generation for the lagoon system in order to offset the electrical consumption from the ongoing expansion and upgrade of the lagoon.
“There’s going to be a fair amount of electricity used for aeration blowers, bubblers that create aeration for the water so the bacteria have a healthy environment, this is part of the process,” Bergquist said. “It’s going to consume a lot of power in the future when it’s replaced and when it’s installed.”
The ongoing lagoon upgrade capital project is being funded through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). As part of the program, 73.3 per cent of the funds are covered by the provincial and federal governments, with the City of Humboldt responsible for the remaining 26.7 per cent. This will result in the city paying $8,771 to evaluate the town’s options.
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal