Wastewater & Stormwater
Wastewater is water that has been used in homes and businesses in ways that negatively impact its quality. It is largely made up of human waste, oils, grease, chemicals, dirt and soaps from sinks, showers and washing machines and effluent from industries, commercial businesses and institutions.
This water is removed from homes and businesses by over 26km of sewer pipes the 6 sewage lagoons located south of Three Hills. Once treated a portion of this water is recycled and used to water the beautiful Three Hills Golf Course.
Alberta Environment stipulates that a specific amount of water utilized by a municipality must be returned to the environment each year. As such, each October the Town of Three Hills drains approximately 250 acre-feet (308,370 m3) of treated effluent from the Sewage Lagoon Storage Ponds into the Three Hills Creek.
Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) regulates the Municipal Wastewater and Storm Water Management Program to ensure environmental protection. Regulatory frameworks, standards and guidelines are designed to assure environmentally acceptable wastewater discharge and acceptable stormwater management practices. Municipal systems are regulated by AEP and private sewage systems are regulated by Municipal Affairs.
Water that flows into the sewers from the surface (streets, yards) is referred to as stormwater. This includes rain and snowmelt, but also excess water from watering your lawn.
Under natural conditions, stormwater is intercepted by vegetation and then absorbed into the ground and filtered and eventually replenishes aquifers or flows into streams and rivers. Later, part of it is returned to the atmosphere in the form of evapotranspiration. In urbanized areas, however, impervious surfaces such as roads and roofs prevent precipitation from naturally soaking into the ground. Instead, the water runs rapidly into storm drains, municipal sewers and drainage ditches into streams, rivers and lakes.
The City of Calgary has compiled a great list of ways to help protect these water sources from pollution:
Consider adding attractive, hardy, low-maintenance plants that are wonderful rainwater sponges and filters. Visit
Sweep your driveway:
Use a broom and dustpan to clean your sidewalks and driveway instead of hosing debris down the storm drains.
Pick up after pets:
Always pick up pet waste so that it doesn't go into our waterways.
Dispose of hazardous products properly:
Save your hazardous products like motor oil, lawn chemicals, etc., in a safe location until they can be disposed of at the annual Household Hazardous Waste Roundup each May at the Kneehill County shop.
Care for cars at the car wash:
Wash your vehicle at a car wash, instead of your driveway, to keep soapy water and dirt out of the storm drains.
Drain downspouts on lawns:
Point your downspouts onto well-drained lawn or garden areas, not directly onto streets or alleys.
Limit fertilizers and pesticides:
Reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn that can be carried away by rainwater and lawn watering.
Use a rain barrel for garden watering
Use a rain barrel to collect water from your downspouts. You can use this water for your lawn or plants.
Build a rain garden
Consider incorporating a rain garden into your yard.
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