Water jobs on the horizon

By Geoff Lee

April 27, 2017 12:00 AM

Project to create 50 temporary positions

Construction of the next phases of the Alberta Central East, or ACE, Regional Water System is expected to start in May and create about 50 temporary jobs.
Work on laying a waterline from Lloydminster to Kiscoty then north to Marwayne will proceed with the awarding of three different contracts to be announced by ACE soon.
ACE is a consortium of 13 municipalities in east central Alberta with an interest in providing a reliable, safe, and sustainable supply of potable water to their residents.
“We are hoping to be shovel ready in May as soon as we can,” said Pat Gordeyko, ACE board chair in an update from Two Hills.
“Hopefully, we can get it done before the end of the year.”
The 42-kilometre pipeline network will follow county road rights of way with some private land terms negotiated.
Tenders have been issued to build a 14-inch diameter line from Lloydminster to Kitscoty and an 8-inch line from Kitscoty to Marwayne.
The third tender expected to be released on April 26 is for a water transfer station on private land in Township 502 between Range Road 13 and 14.
The transfer station will connect the system to Lloydminster’s water treatment plant with a larger pipe at least 16-inches in diameter.
The City of Lloydminster signed a Water Supply Agreement with ACE in late February to sell potable water to ACE for a five year term.
Upon approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission, it will be extended to 20 years.
The water supply agreement has the potential to generate $500,000 in revenue a year for the city with a profit margin built into the water rates to cover all costs and water sales growth.
The rates were based on a city study completed by Nichols Applied Management.
“As far as the water suppy agreement (goes), ACE is really happy with the progress we made with the city,” said Gordeyko.
“There’s a few location things, but other than that I think we’ve agreed in principal and we’re keen to go forward.”
Under the agreement with the city, ACE is responsible for all costs associated with connecting to the city’s system.
The city will take over the ownership of infrastructure from the connection point to a meter chamber,
Lloydminster Mayor, Gerald Aalbers hopes the two border provinces and the federal government will take note the city is working with its regional partners when it comes time to seek joint funding for a new wastewater treatment plant.
“There’s mutual benefits for things like this, and that’s what we’re trying to propose, both to the provincial and federal government, that Lloydminster can be a regional hub for more than one thing, and water is one of the options,” said Aalbers.
For ACE, the water supply agreement with Lloydminster means more residents will have a sustainable supply of fresh water.
The three contracts for phase 4 and 5 will supply water to places such as Blackfoot, Kitscoty and Marwayne.
The first three completed phases of ACE brought water to communities such as Vermilion, Vegreville and Two Hills supplied by Epcor from Edmonton.
“That leaves Paradise Valley, Dewberry, Clandonald and Derwent to do, so there will be future phases,” said Gordeyko if funding is available.
Gordeyko said water treatment costs have been getting out of hand, and each small community can’t afford to have their own water treatment plants.
The total regional water system system will cost an estimated $140 million.
“In the long run, it’s sounds like a lot of money to do, but it is 90 per cent funded by the government, so you have to take advantage of that,” said Gordeyko.
The remaining 10 per cent is shared among ACE members.
The Government of Alberta funds up to 40 per cent of the cost through its Water for Life grant with 50 per cent from Canada’s Clean Water and Wastewater Fund..
Phases 4 and 5 received more than $14.3 million in federal infrastructure funding.
Rhonda King, CEO of the County of Vermilion, the current ACE managing partner is excited that construction is finally going to get under way.
“It’s been a long time in the works,” she said.
King noted it will provide long-term, consistent sustainable water for local residents among many benefiits.
“It will lessen the burden on the municipalities for ensuring the quality of water is up where it needs to be,” she said.
King said Ace will deliver an Alberta standard quality of water with most small ACE municipalities simply tasked with monitoring or testing water quality.
She expects that one or 1.5 full time positions will be needed to look after the system when it’s completed.
King said with the pending construction of phase 4 and 5, ACE is going to transition into a private manager in the summer and maintain links with Lloydminster.
“As we are purchasing the water from the city, we intend to have a strong working relationship and working with them on construction,” she said.
“And there’s things with construction and going forward on operations, so we have to work with them continually.”

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