Engineering

Goodbye bottled water: New project brings improved water quality to Lottie Lake and Ashmont

It’s not all that often that when people see an increase in their water bill some of those folks are actually happy, but that’s been just the case after the recent installation of a new waterline that extended an existing regional potable waterline to serve residents of Lottie Lake and Ashmont.

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Lottie Lake and Ashmont are hamlets in the County of St. Paul, which is located in northeast Alberta and has a population of around 6170. We have been working alongside the County of St. Paul for over six years to bring improved water quality to these areas.

In December 2016, construction of a 12 km potable water transmission pipeline from Spedden to Ashmont was completed and local residents have been enjoying fresh treated water ever since. This waterline carries treated water from EPCOR in Edmonton through two regional water commissions and now terminates in Ashmont, over 200km away.

Although the local tap water was considered safe to drink before, it was hard (had a high mineral content) and often didn’t look clean and clear. Residents had to replace appliances such as dishwashers and hot water tanks frequently, and many opted to drink and cook with bottled water—a significant hassle and cost over time.

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Mike Hopkins
Mike Hopkins an Engineer with Urban Systems who worked on the job says, “Getting this project completed has been so rewarding. We thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the County through the whole endeavour, and when the water was finally connected in late 2016 it was the final piece in the puzzle. Now that the water is flowing, it’s so satisfying to see residents excited about the improved water quality.”

In a recent letter to the editor at the local paper, longtime residents Keith and Margaret Huser write:

“Hats off to the County of St. Paul for the hours of planning and the completion of the waterline to Lottie Lake. What a treat! No more bottled water. For the residents of Lottie Lake and other communities it will increase property values and be an overall benefit. Although there will be an increase in water rates, there will be less cost with treating water in each home and other ways to save money. Thank you!

Mike says it feels great to read such positive feedback.

Urban-Systems-LottieLake-post“Urban has been involved from the beginning, from assisting with initial assessments and preliminary detailed designs all the way through to construction on this project. We feel very close to it. It’s wonderful to see the community now enjoying the benefits. And rewarding that even with the increase in rates, residents are still so excited with the improved level of service.”

Sheila Kitz, County CAO, says that over the years the County of St. Paul has developed a great working relationship with Urban Systems.

“They provide innovative solutions to problems and issues as they arise, taking into consideration all views of a problem or situation when suggesting and recommending alternative solutions. I find the team at Urban to be very responsive to our needs and make us feel like a valued customer at all times. Ashmont and Lottie Lake started receiving high quality water in December 2016 and from most reports our residents are very happy with the improved quality of water.”

What’s next? Our team has continued work with the County of St. Paul and is currently designing the next 22km leg of the regional system to continue the waterline from Ashmont to Mallaig. We’ve also been working with the County on a review of their existing water rates in preparation of tying into the new water source.

Great job everyone, a toast with a fresh glass of water may just be in order!

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