Wastewater tech hopes to woo Lloyd

By Geoff Lee

September 27, 2017 2:22 PM

Supplied Photo

With the City of Lloydminster under a new deadline to build a mechanical wastewater system, Soneera Water Canada Ltd. is hoping its technology, being used to treat wastewater in Unity, Sask., will be considered.
The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency (WSA) has extended the deadline for Lloydminster to meet new regulations for wastewater entering the North Saskatchewan River to Dec. 31, 2020.
The WSA could approve Soneera’s Memfree system that it’s been overseeing in Unity since January for the town of Maple Creek in the coming months.
“We’ve already done a full presentation to them,” said Darrell Behan, CEO of Soneera during a phone interview from Arizona.
“We’ve got three or four other towns that are very interested as well.”
Soneera Water LLC is the sole licensed distributor for the patented Memfree electroflocculation process in North America, and has partnered with Tecvalco Ltd for Canadian sales, manufacturing and service.
Tecvalco president Mike Menger has called the Unity project an important first-use of the Memfree system on wastewater treatment in Canada.
Unity settled on a Memfree continuous flow water treatment system manufactured by Tecvalco Ltd. in North Battleford, primarily due to economics.
Two commissioned Memfree units will also enable Unity to grow in population by 45 per cent.
Lloydminster estimates it will cost about $80 million to build its wastewater plant, but has been unsuccessful in securing adequate provincial or federal funding commitments.
Behan said numerous representatives from other communities have toured the Unity facility to see the results for themselves, but said his attempts to contact anyone from Lloydminster have failed.
“We actually went up and saw them in September last year, and since then it’s got pretty quite,” he said.
“We’ve actually being trying to find someone to invite them, but no one is returning emails.”
Behan acknowledged the timing was bad ahead of the municipal election with a new mayor and many new employees in place since then.
Mayor Gerald Aalbers agreed that their initial inquiry likely fell through the cracks with the personnel changes, but noted ISL Engineering and Land Services Ltd., contracted as facility experts, would likely be the go-to people to review all solutions.
“One of the challenges is we’re not trying to ride over the consultants,” he said.
“I am sure the consultant is aware of their product and we’re going to be doing some more investigating.
“Certainly, if I get the opportunity I’d like to go and see what they have.”
In the meantime, ISL has also been contracted to lead a $3-million project to desludge the Lloydminster lagoons to improve effluent quality.
Behan said Unity is now a full blown project and they’ve worked through issues along with some upgrades.
“Results we are getting shown, that the technology has proven to exceed Canadian standards for wastewater by 400 per cent,” he said in an August update.
Tecvalco put a second shift on their North Battleford factory to train workers in stainless steel welding with the demand for Soneera’s Memfree units growing, particularly in the U.S.
“We have enough capacity to build as many as we like, plus Tecvalco has bought a 60,000 sq ft manufacturing plant in Rockledge Florida; we’ve got capacity everywhere,” said Behan.
“We’ve got about six projects we’re working on in the States at the moment, that will probably involve about 16 systems.”
Tecvalco has an office in Lloydminster with six employees with the rest in North Battleford, Niagara Falls, and Florida.
Aalbers said he’s curious about the Unity facility, but cautions the Soneera technology might not be applicable to the issues Lloydminster needs to solve with its wastewater problems.
“I honestly don’t know and some of the people from the city might not be aware of some of the issues in Unity that they are able to solve,” he said.
“What we’ve done is engage the consultant to find those solutions; is Unity’s problem similar to our problem, I guess that’s what it comes down to.”
“We’ll use the expertise of the consultant and go from there.”

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