WATER TREATMENT FACILITY
The weir acts as a dam and creates the reservoir for the city. Water is piped from the weir into the carbon treatment shed and then piped into the main treatment facility. The chemical treatment process includes chemicals to improve clarity, colour and taste of our water.
The treatment facility is a maze of pipes, all colour coded for the stage in the treatment process. The facility is amazingly clean!
(above) Shoreline along the Swift Current Reservoir
MAIN LIFT STATION
At the main lift station, sewage pipes from different areas of Swift Current combine into one major pipes that goes to the lagoon.
The lagoons consists of Cells A, B, C and D covering a total area of 101 HA or 250 acres. Each cell is 1.4 meters (5 feet) deep. The annual wastewater flow from the city to the lagoon is 2,700 ML or 7.4 ML/day.
Snow fluent is waste material converted into snow. The climatic conditions required to produce snow fluent are an air temperature of minus 10 degrees Celsius and a minimum wind velocity of 5 kph.
According to the City of Swift Current Engineering Department, the facility is capable of converting 200,000 m³ of effluent to ice crystals each year under optimum climatic conditions. However, the Swift Current climate is not ideal for snow fluent production and thus the facility falls far short of the 200,000 m³ goal.
In 2002, the snow fluent plant was decommissioned due to poor productivity.
The City of Swift Current, like many other municipalities on the prairies, uses effluent irrigation as one method of sewage disposal. The Effluent Irrigation Project began in 1973, a joint pilot project among Agriculture Canada’s Swift Current research station, Saskatchewan Environment and the City of Swift Current. The purpose of the pilot project was to look into the suitability of using sewage effluent for irrigation, and in doing so, provide a cost-effective method to dispose of sewage other than discharges into the creek.
After thirty years on the project, researchers at ICDC (Irrigated Crop Diversification Corporation) state that effluent irrigation is an efficient way to dispose of a large part of Swift Current sewage. The effluent provides crops with additional water and some nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus and micronutrients that are required for
productive growth. By using effluent to irrigate, producers can increase their crop yield three to four fold compared to dryland. For example, the long term average dryland yield is about 1.1 tons per acre per year. Yet at two effluent irrigation sites monitored by ICDC from 1998 to 2000, the average yield of irrigated alfalfa was 4.4 tons per acre per year (after two cuts), a substantial increase in yield. This feed crop can then be used in the livestock industry; thus, our own sewage comes back as a steak! Scientists are aware that effluent irrigation could potentially have negative impacts on soil salinity as effluent tends to be much ‘saltier’ than water. However, according to soil scientist Y.W. Jame, the risk of salinity problems can be dealt with through over-irrigation. ICDC agrologist Korvin Olfert adds that careful monitoring of the effluent and soil samples is also important to prevent increases in soil salinity.
Information Sources:“Municipal Waste Disposal - Sewage Effluent Irrigation Pilot Project” by W. Nicholaichuk published as a Weekly Letter for February 19, 1975 by Agriculture Canada; “Conservation irrigation” by Bryan Lyster, pages 16-18 in Country Guide: The Farm Magazine. September 1979; and scientific articles (titles available) written by Bix Biederbeck. Article written by: Korvin Olfert and Cher King.
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