The new wastewater treatment system for the Town of Bienfait has been operating smoothly since it was completed earlier this year.
An effluent pond was constructed in the southeast corner of the town’s limits, and the process that is used for the project means there is not a smell associated with the process.
Mayor Paul Carroll said that in the past, the town grew towards the previous lagoon’s location. The wastewater treatment area was at capacity, which prevented the town from growing.
“Now, in changing times, we find that we need to have a wastewater treatment and not just a lagoon,” said Carroll.
The town has also been unable to grow due to the limited capacity of the wastewater handling system.
Carroll said that the town now has a start of the art process and added capacity, which would allow the community to grow to about 2,000 people.
The town received support through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWT), which allowed the $2.86 million project to proceed. The federal government covered u half of the costs while the provincial government and the town each supplied a quarter of the remaining expenses.
The town had most of the money in place for the project.
“The Town of Bienfait had saved quite a bit of money the last few years, and had that mostly in place. We did acquire a loan just to make sure we didn’t have a shortfall, and to ensure that we can continue the programs that we have in place, so that nobody seems like they’re going without anything while we do this project.”
But without the support of the other levels of government, this wouldn’t have happened.
“When you look at a $2.86 million project, for a town the size of Bienfait, there’s no way that we could save that kind of money in a reasonable time frame to make this project work. The government contributions are certainly paramount to making this happen. We’re very appreciative that the governments, at whatever level, consider small towns and municipalities to still be important to the grant process.”
The town worked with the KGS engineering firm out of Saskatoon, and they did a great job at planning the project. The contractor was Glen Peterson Construction of Estevan, and did everything that was asked of them.
There might be some work still remaining, Carroll said, but it would be small tasks and nothing that would prevent the plant from operating.
The only problem that the town has encountered has been glitches involving water compounds that were formulating granulars and plugging the air holes. That mineral buildup might be a by-product of the changeover from the wastewater coming in and ground water that hadn’t been there. The issue was dealt with through acidizing.
Once those were dealt with, everything started running smoothly.
“It works very well, and it’s an environmentally friendly process that puts the water back into almost a drinkable condition,” said Carroll.
A grand opening is expected to occur at some point in 2020. Carroll said he is looking forward to presenting the project to the public, and to people who have a strong understanding of the project providing tours and explanations to the public of how this new process works.