Stettler County says summer villages may be cut off from lagoon

Written by Stu Salkeld

The County of Stettler wants to talk to two summer villages about a sewage lagoon that could face heavy usage, and if it’s not done soon the summer villages may not be allowed to use the facility. 

The issue was discussed at the Feb. 9 regular meeting of council.

County councillors discussed issues facing two lagoons, Red Willow, northeast of the Town of Stettler, and Erskine, west of the Town of Stettler, on the request of Reeve Larry Clarke. 

Clarke began the conversation by noting the county will be shutting down the busy Red Willow lagoon resulting in more sewage being trucked to the Erskine facility. Clarke stated it’s probably a good idea to let everyone know these details.

Clarke added that he felt it important to let users know, including other municipalities that send sewage to the two lagoons, that Erskine’s back-up, Red Willow, will not be accepting sewage.

Coun. James Nibourg stated he felt the county should sit down with lagoon users, including the Summer Villages of White Sands and Rochon Sands, as they are growing and sending more sewage to the lagoons. 

Nibourg added that when he’s out and about he sees truck line-ups at the Erskine lagoon and Stettler County probably needs to look at the cost of operating the lagoon versus what the county recovers, including from users such as surrounding municipalities.

Coun. Ernie Gendre noted he doesn’t mind sharing lagoons with other municipalities but Stettler County has to look after its own resident’s needs first.

Reeve Clarke suggested sending the letter out to White Sands and Rochon Sands councils and include some suggested dates then let the summer villages respond.

Nibourg stated he felt this should be done as soon as possible, and used the word “emergent” several times.

Coun. Gendre added that it’s very important to spell out this is an emergent issue and make it clear that past a certain point or deadline Stettler County may not allow the summer villages to use the Erskine lagoon. 

Reeve Clarke agreed, adding that “if there is an issue” the summer villages may not be allowed to use the lagoon.

Councillors unanimously agreed to have Stettler County staff invite the Summer Villages of White Sands and Rochon Sands to an urgent meeting to discuss the closing of the Red Willow lagoon and summer village use of the Erskine lagoon.

In an interview with the ECA Review Feb. 10 Director of Municipal Services Andrew Brysiuk reassured residents Red Willow will re-open. 

“The Red Willow Lagoon has been temporarily closed to commercial haulers for dumping because it is nearing capacity,” stated Brysiuk. 

“Because the Erskine lagoon can handle the capacity and can have the treated effluent drained without impacting downstream landowners, commercial haulers have temporarily been directed to Erskine. 

“We are continuing to work on further minimizing the impact a discharge at Red Willow would have on downstream landowners.  We anticipate having Red Willow open again later this year.”

 

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.