A long-awaited day has arrived for the City of Morden.
Mayor Brandon Burley made the announcement after City Council passed a resolution at Monday's council meeting.
"I'm very pleased to announce today the City of Morden is moving forward on a $70 million wastewater treatment facility in conjunction with the Province of Manitoba, Manitoba Water Services Board and partnership with the Federal Government. The project has been on the books for some time, and necessary for even longer. Today's announcement will allow us to move forward in developing our economy, and seeing additional homes and people brought to our community, as well as moving and reducing the odour that has long been associated with our wastewater treatment facility."
After researching and considering multiple options, Council has landed on a Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor to be installed in the current Morden Lagoon.
"The technology we finally selected gives us the opportunity to do some modifications in the future. It's a technology that can also be expanded and enhanced for future compatibility and future expansion. So, it's not just a 20-year project like some technologies would be, but it's a technology that is forward compatible as well."
The cost of operating this facility is two cents per gallon of waste, one of the factors considered when selecting this technology.
"One, we selected, not only on capital costs but also operational costs. Other factors were mitigation of the smell, also access to the level of operator we need to run that facility. We think it's a good technology. Council is quite excited to start being able to smell the apple blossoms in the spring once again.'
The smell mitigation was an added option which council felt was necessary for the 10 percent more cost to the project, but Burley noted, council felt if this wasn't included in the decision making, it would be considered a loss by ratepayers.
He outlined the timeline for the project.
"Because we're repurposing some of the lagoon's cells, as they are now for holding of water, we have to maintain the lagoon at some capacity at the current site while it occurs. So, it will be a multi-year build. It won't happen in one step, and then a grand opening. It will be a couple of years before we have the "Grand Flushing" as a grand opening, I don't know what you do when you commission a wastewater facility. We anticipate going to tender early next year on a multi-year build."
Wastewater was the number one topic in the fall election and was marked as the top priority for the new council moving forward.
Burley said he is feeling relieved about reaching this milestone and shared the benefits of responding in this way to growth in Morden, the fastest growing city in Manitoba.
"It's sometimes difficult to sell growth to existing ratepayers, but we have to recognize that without growth, our economy stagnates, and it dies. Most of our children won't be able to stay because our population just organically continues to grow. So, for our economy it means continued growth, it means better paying jobs, it means better household incomes, better bottom line, the addition of daycare facilities coming on board, we can accommodate those things, because we have better wastewater capacities."
As the wastewater chapter comes to a close, Burley stated, council's focus will shift to water capacity in Morden, adding, "This is a good day for Morden."