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EPCOR is proposing an action plan to reduce the impacts of sewer corrosion and odours to improve the quality of life for Edmontonians.

June 2019

Why is this important?

The formation of sewer gas from the sewer system negatively impacts communities, corrodes infrastructure, and makes maintenance and inspection challenging.

Sewer odour occurs anywhere there is wastewater. Wastewater decomposes resulting in the formation of sewer gases, which can be smelled at very low levels.

Prioritizing drainage improvements

Odour reports by residents are a leading indicator of potential system challenges, including corrosion and pipe failures. Public outreach that we conducted earlier in 2019 confirmed that residents in areas with high instances of odour reports are significantly impacted by "persistence nuisance" odours.

By analyzing the location of these reports, plus available information about the drainage network, we have identified three types of odour areas:

  • Consistent odour areas (Steinhauer, Allendale, Bonnie Doon)
  • Dynamic odour areas (Jasper Place, Glenora, Parkdale, Downtown)
  • Emerging odour areas (Parsons Road, Lauderdale)

Each type has distinct causes and challenges and will require a different mix of solutions.

How is EPCOR reducing impacts from sewer corrosion and odours?

Our strategy is to prevent the formation of gas in the sewer system; control the release of air from the sewer system; and adapt the system using real-time monitoring technologies and improved inspection data.

The corrosion and odour reduction strategy includes $217.3 million in early actions, to be complete by 2026. The capital and operating program is expected to:

  • Reduce odour intensity in Steinhauer-Duggan by 2020
  • Permanently reduce sewer odour intensity in the consistent sewer odour areas by 2025  (Steinhauer-Duggan, Allendale-Pleasantview, and Bonnie Doon)
  • Appreciably reduce sewer odour city-wide through operational improvements and trunk line cleaning
  • Provide the data and monitoring needed to develop efficient and effective solutions for the future

Over the long term, we plan to target emerging odour areas with efficient and effective solutions informed by real-time monitoring, improved inspection data, and system modelling. This will result in significantly reduced sewer odour city-wide by 2031.

The benefits to Edmontonians

  • Our strategy will reduce community odour impacts and lengthen the life of sewer network assets.
  • Early action investment will permanently reduce odour intensity in consistent odour areas and appreciably reduce sewer odour city-wide.
  • Capital and operational changes to reduce sewer gas will deliver lower-cost and faster solutions to community odour issues, and do a better job of protecting assets from corrosion (compared to investments that focus only on controlling and treating sewer gas releases).

What will the plan cost?

The $217.3 million in early action investments will be complete by 2026. The average cost to ratepayers from 2020 – 2026 will be $1.29 per month. We are seeking City of Edmonton approval of a non-routine rate adjustment in 2020 and 2021 to facilitate immediate implementation of the strategy.

This is a dynamic planning process. Additional projects post-2026 will address dynamic and emerging odour issue areas, and be informed by city-wide monitoring.

Next steps

EPCOR is presenting the Corrosion and Odour Reduction strategy to the City of Edmonton's Utility Committee on June 28, 2019. Following that meeting, EPCOR would request a non-routine adjustment for drainage rates in 2020 and 2021 to fund early-action investments.

The full report to Utility Committee is available on the City of Edmonton's website. ​​​​