Grovedale Alberta: Water treatment plant in the works for hamlet and surrounding area. Or to serve frac’ers? “The oil companies are looking at any water source they can for fracking”

Map Grovedale Alberta showing Fox Creek

Water treatment plant in the works for Grovedale and surrounding area by Svjetlana Mlinarevic, July 21, 2016, Daily Herald-Tribune

Grovedale residents should have a fully functioning water treatment plant in three years.

MD of Greenview Reeve Dale Gervais said council has approved administration to enter into negotiations to purchase land in the Grovedale and Landry Heights area in order to expand the municipality’s water system within that time period.

“We are going to put in a municipal water system into the Hamlet of Grovedale and surrounding area. There’s a fair concentration of acreages and subdivisions there that desperately need water,” said the reeve.

The MD plans on investing more than $28 million to the project and has already drilled a couple of wells that Gervais expects will meet the demands of Grovedale residents for at least 30 to 40 years. [How long if frac’ers suck the area waterways and aquifers dry?] He said the next step is to build a water treatment plant and other infrastructure to get the water to about 2,000 residents with an estimated population growth of 2% annually for the next 25 years.

“We are anticipating Grovedale to be a growth area in the future,” he said.

Gervais explained that it’s relatively difficult for the hamlet to get water.

“It’s difficult to get the quantity and quality that is required for a municipal system. The volume that we’re looking for (was hard to find). In Grovedale, most anybody can drill a well that will serve one house, but if you’re looking to serve 200 houses it’s going to be difficult to find a well or several wells that will do that,” he said.

The reeve said the draw for people to live in the hamlet is its proximity to Grande Prairie: the lure of rural living but with the benefits of living near an urban centre.

“We recognize the need and we’re doing something about it. They’ve been discussing (a water distribution system) since I’ve been on council, about 12 years, part of the sewer system is in, the lagoon is in, but it’s a long ways from being done yet,” he said.

Aside from creating a new water distribution system, the MD is also selling wastewater from its lagoons to oil companies, such as Shell, for fracking operations.

“We have several smaller lagoons and the oil companies are looking at any water source they can for fracking so this is attractive to them and it’s a good deal for us,” said Gervais.

The water that’s being taken has not been treated for human consumption but has had bacteria introduced. Gervais said it’s up to the oil companies to treat the water to their standards for fracking.

Gervais said administration has had a number of conversations with Alberta Energy Regulators over the use of fresh water for fracking operations as the municipality feels fresh water should be used for citizens and not industry.

The municipality would not share how much revenue Greenview expects to make from the lagoon deal. [Emphasis added]

[Compare to heavily frac’d Fox Creek:

2016 04 20: A New Water Treatment Plant for the Town of Fox Creek by Brandi, April 20, 2016

Water is the number one priority for the Town of Fox Creek. [Not frac bribes & Synergy anymore?]

For the past two years, the Town of Fox Creek has been drilling wells and the water pipeline construction started last June for the upcoming water treatment plant.

The construction of the building will start very soon, in the same location as the current water reservoir, across the highway on the Smoke Lake road.

Mairek Grzeszczuk from MPE Engineering Ltd. in Edmonton attended the April 11 town council meeting in Fox Creek as a delegation.

He provided Mayor and Town Council an update on the water treatment plant and explained there were a total of five tenders submitted for the project, ranging in cost from $6.7 million to $9.6 million.

Councillor Jim Hailes motioned to award the tender for the construction of the Fox Creek water treatment plant to Alpha Construction Ltd. of Edmonton for $7, 085, 002 million. The project is funded by the water reserve account. All were in favor.

The conditions include; a 10% hold back, $1500 per day held back if milestones are not met and $90,000 held back for one year after construction.

Mayor Jim Ahn was concerned about the timeline of the project completion, the capacity of the treatment plant and the quality of the water.

Originally the water treatment plant was set to be done in April 2016, then July; however the date is now set for the end of September 2016.

Currently the average consumption is approximately 1000 cubic metres a day.

Mr. Grzeszczuk explained the water quantity will quadruple and will exceed to approximately 4900 cubic metres per day, including the existing wells, once the water treatment plant is complete. [With the AER’s dishonest massive deregulated blanket approval frac frenzy pilot project around Fox Creek, how long will that supply last?]

He explained the delays were because of the time to drill new wells, construct the new pipeline and the treatment process. [And frac impacts constantly setting plans back?]

Town of Fox Creek CAO, Roy Dell said in a subsequent interview, “The water treatment plant will remove iron and some calcium. The cost for the new water plant, line and wells, are using no tax dollars to fund the project. All funding came from various grants and from selling our waste-water to industry. This upgrade will service our growing population to a size of 7500 people.” [Emphasis added]


In the fall, Fox Creek spent millions of dollars drilling eight new wells and building a pipeline to the reservoir in the middle of town. (Some of that money came from revenue generated by selling the town’s wastewater to oil and gas companies operating in the area.) Along with the old wells, the new system is enough to continue to supply the town with water for the foreseeable future. But Gervais questions whether, with all the water operators are taking from the area, Fox Creek’s wells won’t go dry again in a few years. “If the industry takes a new model to get all their water from aquifers,” he says, “is that going to put our new aquifers in jeopardy?” [Emphasis added]

2016 01 14: ‘Turning a blind eye:’ Oilpatch impacts concern mayor of Alberta town

FOX CREEK, Alta. – The mayor of an Alberta town in an area of heavy hydraulic fracking is expressing concern over the oil industry’s impact after yet another earthquake hit his community.

“Fox Creek town council is very concerned,” Jim Ahn wrote in a letter to reporters Wednesday. “It seems industry and the provincial government have been turning a blind eye as to what has been going on in our area.”

Fox Creek, a resource town that relies on oil, gas and forestry for its jobs, was hit Tuesday by a quake that measured 4.8 on the Richter scale — big enough to rumble buildings and shake pictures on the wall and count as the strongest ever recorded in Alberta.

It was the town’s 367th seismic event since January 2015.

… Earthquakes aren’t the only thing Ahn is concerned about.

“We have industry pulling water from our rivers, streams and lakes at rates we feel far exceed their capabilities to replenish themselves,” he wrote. “We do not want to be left with swamps that were once prize trophy lakes.”

The town has had to spend $300,000 to truck in water after levels in the aquifers it normally depends on fell too low, said Ahn. It has received whistleblower reports of drilling rig leaks that could affect Fox Creek’s water supply and received contradictory messages from those involved.

In an interview, Ahn said the town’s frustration is mostly with the regulator for, too often, not telling Fox Creek about what’s going on.

“They just leave us in the dark.”

When the regulator does communicate, it doesn’t consider the realities of a small town, the mayor suggested.

Council must apply — and pay — to get specifics on who’s drilling for what, and where. The regulator approves water withdrawal licences and gives the town — which has a volunteer council that meets twice a month — 10 days to respond, Ahn said. And when it does, it’s ignored.

“Even if we oppose the application, it still goes through.”

Fox Creek is trying to sell itself as a good place to start a business and raise a family and news about well blowouts and earthquakes doesn’t help, Ahn said.

“We have spent millions of dollars to try and attract people to come here … what we do not need is negative headlines.”

An AER spokeswoman said in a statement that the town’s water level concerns should be addressed by Alberta Environment and Parks. [Emphasis added]

2016 03 03: Devolution of a Species. Alberta Venture Special Report: Towns in Alberta’s industrial heartland ran out of water last summer. Is fracking to blame? Is “No Duty of Care” legally immune AER’s one-size-fits-all, world-record quaking frac frenzy drying up Fox Creek’s drinking water supply?

2015 07 17: AER Frac Pilot Project: Earthquakes, tax increases, water restrictions, double homicide, spills and accidents shake Alberta town’s faith in fracking; Aging sour facilities in deregulated Fox Creek a big worry for council; AER’s FracQuake Red Light stops Chevron only 16 days; Families moving out

2015 07 15: State of agri­cul­tural dis­as­ter de­clared in Parkland County because of lack of rain, Intentional contamination and permanent loss of massive volumes of fresh water injected by oil and gas companies for fracing continues

2015 05 28: Edmonton-area municipalities tell residents to conserve water

2015 05 27: Town of Fox Creek Water Ban on ALL Non-Essential Use. Does that include fracking in AER’s Deregulated, Blanket Approval, Frac Frenzy, Play-Based Pilot Project surrounding Fox Creek? ]

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