$73M upgrade coming for waste water treatment system in growing Winkler area
Upgrades were initially proposed in rapidly growing southern Manitoba region in 2012
The growing southern Manitoba city of Winkler, and the rural municipality that surrounds it, are set to get a much-needed waste water system they planned for almost a decade ago.
On Friday, the federal, provincial and municipal governments announced $73 million in funding for the first phase of upgrades to the regional waste water treatment system for the city of Winkler and the rural municipality of Stanley.
The upgrades, initially proposed in 2012, have long been needed in the rapidly growing area, where the population boom has outpaced the capacity of waste-water systems and affected growth.
Between the 2011 and 2016 censuses, Winkler grew by 18 per cent — four times the national average — to a population of just over 14,000.
The first phase of upgrades to the treatment system includes building a new mechanical waste water treatment facility in Winkler and retrofitting the first of two existing lagoon cells, and adding two lift stations in Stanley, according to a news release from the federal government.
As well, about 45 kilometres of piping will be added to connect the nearby communities of Schanzenfeld and Reinfeld to the treatment system.
The new system will meet both federal and provincial environmental requirements and create more regional capacity for waste water treatment, Friday's news release said.
The federal government is investing more than $25.2 million in the project, with another $21 million coming from the province of Manitoba. The City of Winkler and RM of Stanley will contribute a combined $27.2 million.
Water conservation measures in place
In a shared statement in the release, Winkler Mayor Martin Harder and RM of Stanley Reeve Morris Olafson said the announcement is "a proud moment to be celebrate," and will allow further economic growth in the region.
"This announcement today will help us put the infrastructure building blocks in place to carry that excitement forward for future generations," their statement said.
After a number of dry years, the city of Winkler is currently at the "moderate" level of its water conservation plan, indicating "some treatment, storage or rainfall issues," according to the city's website. Residents are being encouraged to use rain barrels for gardening, and a lawn-watering schedule is in place.
The city gets approximately 65 per cent of its water from the Winkler aquifer, according to its website, which is treated at Winkler's water treatment plant. The remaining water comes from the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative and is treated in Letellier, Morris and Stephenfield.
The water co-operative has asked for a 15 per cent reduction in water consumption by municipalities serviced by the Letellier plant, which is unable to meet current demands, the City of Winkler's website says.
With files from Rachel Bergen