It has been nearly two decades in the making but when the $110 million Red-Seine-Rat wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) and conveyance system contracts go out in 2024, it will mark the beginning of a new economic era for four southeastern communities of Manitoba.
The town of Niverville and rural municipalities of Hanover, Ritchot and Tache will replace their outdated lagoon systems reaching capacity with a mechanical system. The new facility will open up a fast-growing era to new development and opportunities that could double in size over the next decade.
The facility and conveyance system construction is one of the largest projects in the southeastern rural area of Manitoba and has a targeted completion date of 2027. The facility is currently in the preliminary design stage, which is being undertaken by Jacob Solutions (engineers) out of Winnipeg, which has contracted to take the project through to completion.
“There will be two contract streams – one for the WWTF and multiples for the conveyance system,” Niverville CEO Eric King said in an email. The contracts for building the conveyance system include the installation of 90 kilometres of pipe as well as new lift and pump stations. The WWTF is proposed to be built north of Niverville.
The project’s oversight committee, the Red Seine Rat Wastewater Cooperative, is comprised of members from each of the four municipalities. Design work began after the Cooperative received confirmation that it was receiving $21.6 million from the federal government’s Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and the Manitoba government, which pledged $18 million, in mid-2022. The remaining funds will be divided amongst the four Cooperative participating areas.
King said there is, as yet, no information on any special features the facility would have such as mining the wastewater for usable projects or green features.
“It is in the list of things we are considering within the capital cost constraints that the Cooperative has,” he said.
Hanover chief administrative officer Luc Lahaie, who worked with now-retired reeve and former Cooperative chair Stan Toews, who was responsible for steering the Cooperative’s successful bid for grant money, said 10 different communities attempted to get a cooperative WWTF system in place about 15 years ago.
Despite the efforts, some communities felt they were not ready and fell back on their lagoon systems. In 2019, another and more successful attempt was made and the Cooperative of the four members was formed to structure cost-sharing and seek federal and provincial funding.
Although the four communities are involved in the current project, Lahaie said the project has not escaped the notice of surrounding communities. He said there is the potential to bring more areas into the Cooperative to spread the cost of the system over a larger area.
King said the cost-sharing mechanism the Cooperative put in place was based upon flow rates to the WWTF while municipalities will cost share the construction on the conveyance routes.
The new WWTF and conveyance system will allow the four members to continue to grow to meet heir 2045 projections. The plant is being built to handle between 20 to 25 million litres per day of discharge and will serve industry as well as a population of approximately 75,000. The current population of the four municipalities is 30,000.
While the facility will bring environmental benefits to the area such as cutting GHG emissions and preserving farmland, the largest impact will be the ability to draw in new development and business into southeastern Manitoba.
Reeve Jim Funk of Hanover said: “Anytime you have something like this, it opens up new opportunities for development and businesses.”
According to a news release, the project will attract nearly $1.9 billion in new capital investment and construction to the region and create more than 3,400 new jobs over the coming decade.