We take it out, we give it back. On average, 80% of the water we draw from the Wapiti River is returned as treated wastewater.
Between our landfill, and water and wastewater treatment facilities, we treat many things which many utilities do not. From the landfill, leachate - the liquid that comes from landfills as waste degrades - is treated at our wastewater treatment facility. There is also certain liquids and solids from the water treatment process that are also treated at out wastewater treatment facility. And sewer sludge from our wastewater treatment facility is combined with recycled yard waste to make cover material for our landfill. We're pretty proud of the three way relationship that exists at our facilities, and we know we stand pretty much alone in having so much treatment and reuse of outputs from the three within our company.
One of the biggest challenges for wastewater is industrial/commercial wastes ending up in our pipes and at our treatment facility or lagoons. Such things as hydrocarbons, dirt, oil, grease, and fat create clogged pipes all the way through our system. Clogged pipes and clogged processes cost great amounts of money to clean and repair. In an average year we spend over half a million dollars just vacuuming pipes. At our Clairmont Lagoon, we have had to take on regular de-sludging – at a significant operating expense. Therefore, industrial monitoring is a focus area to ensure compliance with bylaw discharge limits to minimize operating expenses for us in the near future.