Central Alberta town commits to recycling and selling wastewater

A central Alberta town has committed to recycling wastewater so it can be sold and repurposed for industry use.

‘It can actually be reused for the community’s well-being’

The town of Thorsby has committed to recycling wastewater. (CBC)

A central Alberta town has committed to recycling wastewater so it can be sold and repurposed for industry use.

The town of Thorsby has partnered with Swirltex, an Alberta company that builds water treatment systems, to clean the water in its sewage lagoon.

"A lot of communities have plastic or cardboard recycling programs, but … there's very little communities at all that are concentrating on recycling their water," said company president Peter Christou.

The community, about 55 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, won't have to pay for new infrastructure to adopt the initiative.

"Instead of communities having to pay millions and millions of dollars to upgrade their wastewater lagoon, what we do is we have a portable system that we can take to the lagoon and drain it seasonally," Christou said.

"So instead of that water being discharged just to the environment, it can actually be reused for the community's well-being."

The town hosted a meeting Wednesday evening to discuss how local industry could make use of recycled water. Christou noted it can be used for various purposes, like fracking, agriculture and livestock washing.

We have to be responsible for future generations with the resources that we've got.- Christine Burke, Thorsby Town Manager

"Something that had little to no value to a community before [and] used to be a waste source, is now an economic tool for the community," he said, noting the plan is to sell the town's recycled water.

Swirltex will share the profits with the town, meaning the town doesn't have to pay for the service, he said.

"Thorsby is viewing it more as a green project," town manager Christine Burke said. "We're not expecting to make huge revenue from it, but we think … we have to be responsible for future generations with the resources that we've got."

Thorsby was the first of six rural Alberta communities to sign on for the project, which is being piloted in Ponoka, Christou said. He anticipates the first round of water cleaning in Thorsby will take place in June.