A centerpiece of Okotoks' sustainable development initiative has been the conversion/expansion of its wastewater system into an Integrated Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) that processes sewage into compost. Think of it as a huge composting toilet.
As the first municipality in Canada to generate compost from sewage, the $3.7 municipally-funded construction project (completed 2004) represents a revolution in thinking about wastewater treatment - a move from the existing paradigm of "waste disposal" landfilling and land spreading sludge to "resources recovery" and zero impact - with a composted product that is in demand and for sale. Removal of solids from the front end of the treatment process allow for greater efficiency in treatment of liquids, discharging effluent that meets or exceeds upstream water quality standards and contributing to maintaining and enhancing the aquatic health of the Sheep River.
The system takes a variety of proven bio-solids removal and treatment technologies and bundles them into an engineered system to achieve better results than today's common conventional wastewater treatment systems can provide.
The compost is currently initially processed and stored on site for a short period of time and then trucked out to a waste management facility where they have constructed a licensed composting facility. Material will be further processed for approximately 6 months from this location. The Town is currently in the process of forming a relationship with the Regional Services Commission to market and sell the product produced (Grade A Commercial Compost).
Removal of solids from the front end of the treatment process allows for greater efficiency in treatment of liquids, discharging effluent that meets or exceeds upstream water quality standards and contributes to maintenance and enhancement of the aquatic health of the Sheep River.