Municipality of Rhineland Council has approved the use of a new method to clean out the sludge in the Plum Coulee lagoon. 

Council recently learned about the new, biological product at a conference and Reeve, Don Wiebe, says it consumes the sludge.

"There are some good testimonies coming from people that have tried this, that the green cells that use this biological process, the sludge can be reduced from .8 to 1.5 liters, and they (the company) guaranteed a minimum amount," explained Wiebe. 

The intent is that this method will extend the life of the lagoon and replace the need for it to be physically cleaned out. Wiebe noted the lagoon is reaching a critical point.

"With the growth that's there and the growth we're projecting there, something has to be done in the near future," he said. "We're anxious to see what that looks like. It might give us some more time in terms of length of waste storage."

Having to remove the sludge with equipment is a more expensive process and brings with it its own additional factors to consider.

"You have to be pretty careful, because you have to deal with that sludge, and some of that stuff is environmentally sensitive, so it takes a bit of planning to get rid of that sludge," Wiebe noted. "This organic material consumes the sludge, and then that will add life to the lagoon, and it's a lot cheaper."

Council will monitor the sludge reduction after the 20-week treatment window and, if it delivers good results, may consider using this or similar treatments in its other lagoons in the future.

Wiebe noted, the lagoon at Gretna is also reaching critical point.

- With files from Candace Derksen -