Big time construction underway in Neepawa


Online-C-IMG 0010

Photos by Eoin Devereux

Massive tonnage of clay is being moved as the Neepawa wastewater lagoon gets a complete overhaul. The lagoon cells are being re-lined as part of a phased-in project that will see a first of its kind treatment system for Western Canada.

By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

Extensive construction work involving large earth moving equipment can be seen at the Neepawa lagoon site. Town of Neepawa CAO Colleen Synchynshyn said in an interview with the Neepawa Banner & Press that the $4.4 million project is well underway. It is being half funded by the federal government. What is unique is that the new wastewater treatment process is the first of it’s kind in Western Canada.

At the last council meeting, Councillor Murray Parrott, Public Works chairman, submitted a committee update on the project. Following is a summary of that report.

“Recognizing the need to upgrade the lagoon system to accommodate current community growth and increase lagoon capacity for the future, the Town of Neepawa, in conjunction with the findings contained within a feasibility study completed in 2016, began exploring the opportunity to participate in pilot project for the biological removal of nutrients in the treated lagoon effluent. 

Key to sparking Neepawa’s interest in proceeding with the pilot project to test the technology was the fact that with extremely limited possibility for enlarging the lagoon cells to accommodate growth, the technology proposed to significantly reduce the footprint size of the treatment facility, as well as reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and power requirements. 

The pilot project, under Veolia Water Technologies Canada Inc., began in Dec. 2016 and represented a biological fixed-film process targeting post lagoon nitrification. A pilot trailer was positioned at the lagoon site for a period of six months, the results of which proved successful in simulating the proposed treatment process under harsh winter conditions. 

Moving forward, the pilot project now forms the basis of a full-scale design for Neepawa, the construction of which will represent the first installation of this kind of technology in western Manitoba and western Canada for post lagoon nitrification. Most recently, working in conjunction with the Manitoba Water Services Board, Associated Engineering and Veolia Water Technologies Canada Inc., the Town of Neepawa was privileged to be issued the required environment license from the Province to proceed with the technology as the basis to the lagoon design. 

Future partnerships are possible due to the nature of this kind of cold water treatment for ammonia being untested in Canada at a full-scale operation. By demonstrating this technology at full scale, it will have a notable positive impact on communities throughout Manitoba and Canada who are looking for a resilient cost-effective and efficient lagoon-based treatment solution for ammonia. 

To coincide with this technology, the existing lagoon cells will be reformatted with the expectation that a decommissioned lagoon cell will be re-purposed as a licensed compost facility and/or retention pond.

In recognition of the necessity to operate a fully functional lagoon system, the entire project will occur in several stages with the first stage specific to earthwork and site preparation. A building to house the technology will follow and then significant changes to the lagoon cells to incorporate the required surface area to meet the technological requirements. Once the lagoon system is fully functional, the end result will serve to treat effluent continuously, and allow the Town to direct their attention to re-purposing portions of the land area no longer required into other efficient uses such as compost or water retention.”

Synchynshyn said “We had hoped to do the actual building structure in this first phase but the price estimates came in higher than expected. A second phase will allow for a building to be built.” The building will house the equipment which will allow continuous release of treated effluent into the Whitemud River.

Currently, the effluent is released in the spring and fall and is dependent on the ammonia levels being low enough.

Online-C1-IMG 0022

Online-C1-IMG 0009 Online-C-IMG 0030

Top photo: Heavy equipment working on the sewage lagoon upgrades. Above left: Neepawa’s new firehall now has a roof. Construction will hopefully be done in the spring of 2019. Above right: The new school at Neepawa will include a gymnasium, 10 classrooms and a 70 space daycare.

Firehall update

Neepawa’s new firehall is taking shape, the walls are framed and the roof is on. The anticipated completion was spring 2019 but early delays may have affected the finish date although town officials say construction is catching up again.

School and daycare rising from the footings

The construction site at Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute (NACI) has been a beehive of activity all summer. After initial building removals and site preparation, concrete is being poured for footings for both the new day care and the middle school.

The new school will have 10 rooms and a gymnasium. It will also include a 74 space day care in the north-west corner of the property. The day care will be administered by Budz N’Bloom who have an existing facility on Hamilton Street near the Beautiful Plains Museum.

The hoped for completion date is September 2019 so there will be a lot of construction activity throughout the coming year.