After the water line replacement project was completed in 2020, the Town of Vermilion applied for the Municipal Stimulus Program (MSP) to start a project to replace the sewer trunk main line that runs along the river valley across Highway 41.
“The initial reason why we ventured down this path to replace the sewer trunk main is because it is undersized and at the end of its life, we need to upsize it to accommodate growth for years to come,” commented Derek Young, Director of Transportation and Utilities for Town of Vermilion.
The river slope assessment is needed to provide the potential contractor information about whether the river valley bed is stable enough for crews to dig and not have the slope collapse above them.
“When the crews are digging at the bottom of the river valley, the concern becomes is the bank stable enough to hold while they are doing the install? Depending on the soil conditions, they may have to change the way they do the install. So, as a component of tendering that project, we wanted to be able to provide the contractor some details on if the ground is stable enough for regular construction methods. And it turns out there are a few areas that have sand, and of course sand is less stable. So, in those areas we are trying to delineate to say what areas have sand and what areas have clay. Then we are also looking up to the bank to make sure that if you make a cut, will it make things unstable up above,” said Young.
The other component that was identified is that the river bank is starting to erode from the natural process of the river near the sewer trunk main and ATCO transmission lines, therefore the Town will be looking at doing bank stability in that area. The geotechnical engineers are still doing research on identifying the different layers where test holes were made with a backhoe. Construction will begin this summer with the initial phase. At this time there is no time frame to complete all phases of the trunk main replacement. Replacement of the trunk main from the wastewater treatment facility to Highway 41 will be dependent on construction costs and funding availability.
According to www.alberta.ca, the Alberta government set up the MSP to provide additional capital infrastructure funding to municipalities and Métis Settlements in order to sustain and create local jobs, enhance provincial competitiveness and productivity, position communities to participate in future economic growth, and reduce municipal red tape to promote job-creating private sector investment.
“We got some grant money this year, but then going forward we will allocate a certain amount of funding from the Utility Rates. With this being a legacy project, as the pipe has been there for about 70 years now, and it is getting the support from the Council, I think this is a really good opportunity for some local contractors to be successful. Hopefully we can get some interest from our local contractors and stimulate that economy and get people back moving again. As well, it sets the town in a direction to serve the community for years to come,” said Young.