PARWU to host Open Houses on regional Water Treatment Plant this month

The RM of Buckland and RM of Prince Albert Office./Daily Herald File Photo

Prince Albert Rural Water Utility (PAWRU) has scheduled two project open houses for October to update the community on plans for a new regional Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and pipeline project to Shellbrook.

PAWRU began making plans in 2021, and project members said they’ve made considerable progress over the summer. They plan to submit a technical proposal this fall, and need to gather input from subscribers, affected communities, and the public.

“We are hoping the community will attend to provide valuable input and opinions from the region,” reads a PARWU press release.

“This project would help many people in the region secure a reliable and safe water source.”

The first Open House is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 18 at the Shellbrook Community Hall. The second will be held at the Nordale Community Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Both events run from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The project began to take shape in Feb., 2021 when PARWU founders became convinced the project was economically feasible and began working to bring Shellbrook and the RM of Shellbrook into their scope. The planning allows for potential growth to other communities in the future.

Throughout the summer, progress has been made with Engineering, Environmental and Heritage Assessments. As the reports are concluding, the costs have exceeded initial expectations.

The Conceptual Design’s initial value was approximated at $53 million, but with inflation, materials and construction costs, the new estimated price of the project is just under $80 million.

With the estimated costs increasing the latest intake of Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) Grant sheds a glimmer of hope toward the funding of the project.

Associated Engineering (AE) has completed the pre-design report for the WTP and River Intake and is now moving to the design stage of planning.

The river intake is a wedge-style intake, situated along the north edge of the riverbank. It will then proceed to a low lift pump station and continue to the WTP.

The water will be treated using the ACTIFLO and sand filtration process. To connect the water treatment plant to new and existing subscribers, three distribution lines need to be installed, one of which will be a Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) under the North Saskatchewan river. AE is in the process of finalizing the HDD River crossing report but has had a geo-technical delay.

The report is anticipated to be completed by month’s end.

The Hydraulic and Distribution Waterline Route report by Pinter and Associates is in the final stages. CanNorth has completed the majority of the environmental reports over the summer with no significant or concerning findings.

As well, a Heritage Archeological dig is in progress to determine if there are any significate findings in the preservation of our provincial heritage.

In November 2021, Steve Irving the project manager sent out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Pipeline Hydraulic and Sizing Design. There will be four pipelines incorporated into this portion of the plan. A line from the Water Treatment Plant, going under the Shell River and then continuing to Shellbrook.

The other pipeline will connect to the River Crossing under the North Saskatchewan River from the Water Treatment Plant. It will then continue to PARWU’s Gerald Barden Pumphouse located on the southside of Prince Albert.

PAWRU decided this was an attainable project following a feasibility study that was completed in the first part of 2021. This was followed by the purchase of a 25 acres parcel on the North side of the Saskatchewan River, and the awarding the engineering tender for the Process Treatment, Design, and River Water Sampling Analysis of the Water Treatment Plant to Associated Engineering.

PARWU purchases water from the City of Prince Albert that serves a network of customers in the RM of Buckland, the RM of Prince Albert, the Muskoday First Nation and the RM of Duck Lake. The PARWU board also now has representatives from the RM of Shellbrook and Town of Shellbrook for regional collaboration to enlarge the PARWU’s ability to service more municipalities with fresh, good drinking water.