Phase 1 of the City of Brandon’s plan to upgrade its water treatment plant has been approved for funding through Infrastructure Canada’s Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.
The tri-level project will see the federal government provide 50 per cent of the cost ($1.6 million), while the province and municipality will each pay 25 per cent ($809,565).
This will fund the first step of the major project, which is focused on the planning and design of the upgrades.
"It gets the ball rolling," said Patrick Pulak, the city’s director of engineering services and water resources. "In anticipation that this might be forthcoming, we’ve already begun work on doing an expression of interest, which then leads to a request for proposals."
Phase 2 is the construction component, which will also be reliant on funding from all three levels of government. Pulak is hopeful the support for Phase 1 is a signal that it will continue to the second phase. The entire project is estimated at $60 million.
Brandon’s aging water treatment plant was identified as the No. 1 infrastructure priority for the current city council. Portions of the plant date back to the early 1900s.
"I often say that probably the most mission critical piece of infrastructure that most municipalities will have would be your water treatment plant, right up there with your wastewater treatment plant," said Mayor Rick Chrest.
"This is extremely important. We can’t do these big projects very easily without partnerships from our senior levels of government. I’m very delighted, because this allows us to now move forward."
Pulak stressed that Brandon’s drinking water is safe, but there are a few areas that need improvement. The upgrades would ensure the city’s drinking water meets provincial standards for trihalomethanes — a byproduct that can form when chlorine is added to water with organic matter. The city has struggled with THM levels since 2008.
"The other part we will upgrade is a change in our treatment process to help with the lead services issue," Pulak said. "We can add orthophosphates to the water to help inhibit the transfer of lead from the services to the water."
Combined funding for 24 water and wastewater projects in Manitoba were officially announced Tuesday in Elie.
"Modern, efficient water and wastewater infrastructure is essential to safeguarding the well-being of Canadian families and building the Canada we want for tomorrow," Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said in a press release, on behalf of Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi. "We are working closely with the Government of Manitoba and municipalities to invest in important water and wastewater projects that will protect the environment, keep communities in the province healthy and livable, and create well-paying jobs for the middle-class."
In total, the federal government will provide up to $18.7 million for the 24 projects, while the province is investing $9.3 million. The recipient municipalities will contribute approximately $9.3 million as well.
Other Westman projects to receive funding include a rural waterline expansion in Dauphin, back lane sewer and water replacement in the RM of Killarney-Turtle Mountain, and a wastewater pump station upgrade in Swan River, to name a few.
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