County of Stettler facing serious lagoon situation: Down to one

A councillor voiced his concern that acreages near town are discouraging business in the County of Stettler at the regular meeting April 14. ECA Review/File
Written by Stu Salkeld

The County of Stettler is facing a serious lagoon situation, as several rehabilitation projects mean the municipality is down to one facility for the time being. 

Councillors heard a report on the lack of lagoon capacity at their regular meeting Mar. 9.

Reeve Larry Clarke asked staff to give an update on the lagoon situation, “Just so everybody knows where we’re at,” he said. Councillors at a previous meeting heard the Erskine lagoon, in particular, is under a lot of pressure right now.

County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Yvette Cassidy reported that the municipality has shut down Red Willow lagoon because it’s getting near capacity and the county wants to be ready for spring runoff.

She added that the Botha lagoon has also been shut down because the facility has had “…trouble with drainage.”

She noted there is also an issue at the Endiang lagoon, “…where we don’t have legal vehicular access.” Cassidy stated the county will be working on that problem in 2022.

The CAO reported that, right now, the Erskine lagoon, “…is taking everything,” so Stettler County has limited that lagoon’s intake to just county residents.

She noted that the county recently has had quite a bit of snowfall and some huge drifts, so it’s expected quite a bit of runoff could be experienced soon. 

Cassidy added that it could be 30 to 60 days before the Erskine lagoon can be emptied. She also stated that it’s hoped both Red Willow and Botha will be up and running again in 2022 and it was also stated at the meeting Stettler County still has some transitional grant funding available to help with the Botha project.

The CAO noted that the county has Stantec Engineering working on the Red Willow lagoon right now and it’s hoped a nearby property owner will be available soon so a meeting can be held with stakeholders to discuss the lagoon and develop a plan that works for everyone.

Coun. James Nibourg asked if Stettler County has heard back from neighbouring municipalities who use Stettler County’s lagoons. Cassidy responded she hasn’t heard anything from the summer villages at Buffalo Lake yet and added that Stettler County will stop taking effluent from them on Mar. 16.

Cassidy stated she spoke to the Town of Stettler which is going to open up its lagoon and take effluent from commercial residents of the town. 

Apparently, the Town of Stettler is going to work with truckers to ensure just Town of Stettler effluent goes into the town lagoon while only County of Stettler effluent will go into the county lagoon.

Nibourg stated he thought the county would try to impress upon its neighbours that the lagoon problem is an emergent issue, but perhaps neighbours don’t understand how emergent it is.

Coun. Justin Stevens suggested the County of Stettler use this opportunity to closely tabulate how much effluent is being generated by the municipality as, for this period of time, no other effluent will be accepted.

 

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.