A one-year pilot project in which Encana purchases wastewater from the Town of Rimbey is due to expire at the end of the month, however, chances are it will be extended.
Under the terms of the agreement, Encana has agreed to purchase 180,000 cubic metres of wastewater from the town’s lagoon in the northeast edge of town at $2.25 per cubic meter. As a result, the town will make about $400,000 on the deal.
Mayor Rick Pankiw sees the pilot project as a good thing.
“I am in favour of the town selling it (the wastewater), until it can be proven otherwise. If it all works out, we will review and extend it. Environment has given us a permit, obviously they have done their homework.”
Pankiw said the profit from the venture can be put to good use.
“The money the town gets can be put back into infrastructure or used in other ways beneficial for our taxpayers.”
Pankiw noted the alternative to striking a deal with Encana was to enlarge the drainage ditch at the lagoon so the wastewater would not run off into farmers’ fields.
“That would have cost us about $600,000 in repairs so in reality the town has netted about $1 million by selling the water. That’s pretty big.”
Encana spokesman Doug McIntyre said the company has been taking wastewater from the lagoon for about a month.
“It’s been taken to a drilling site northwest of Rimbey and is being used in our hydraulic fracking operations,” he said.
He said Encana has complied with federal, provincial and municipal laws and try to keep traffic (to the site) as minimal as possible.
“We acknowledge that there has been an increase in truck traffic in the area with water being hauled to that drilling site. We will continue to ensure that this is done safely and we expect heavy traffic to that site will conclude by sometime in December.”
Using Rimbey’s wastewater for their operations is one of the ways Encana has come up with to use water efficiently.
“We are very happy to be able to source this affluent water. We currently have three rigs operating in the Duvernay (play) and plan to have four running by year-end. One of these is located fairly close to Rimbey,” said McIntyre.
He added the Duvernay play is one of five key resource places that will receive about 75 per cent of Encana’s 2014 capital funding.