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Developing barriers to protect equipment and water reservoirs if the river overtops its b​​​​anks

​In order to protect the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant in a situation where the North Saskatchewan River overtops its banks, our engineering studies have shown that permanent flood barriers are needed in key locations around the facility. Once constructed, these barriers will limit potential damage to critical equipment and drinking water reservoirs, and ensure that we can resume producing clean drinking water as quickly as possible after a flood.

 

 

Learn more about how to participate with our projects
at our water treatment plants.

View engagement activities

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To date, we have had many conversations about the project and have compiled and assessed all of the information we have received. This feedback has been used in combination with engineering studies and other information to determine options for the flood barriers that reflect community priorities while being mindful of costs. Find out more information about our community engagement process and what we've heard to date.​

​The E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant is located in the river floodplain where it brings untreated water out of the North Saskatchewan River, treats it, and pumps safe, clean drinking water to homes and businesses in Edmonton and surrounding communities. As this river valley location presents an increased chance of flooding, we have a long-term plan in place to protect nearly one-third of the population of Alberta's drinking water supply.​

 

 

Types of flood b​​arriers

Two types of flood bar​riers can be used to protect the water treatment plant in the case of a major flood.

​View types of barriers

 

 

​​Flood bar​rier locations

There are three key locations around the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant that need permanent flood barriers.

View locations​​

 

 

Design co​nsiderations

Maintaining the natural state of the area around the water treatment plants is important to EPCOR and community members.

View potential amenities​​

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  Types of flood barriers​

Two types of flood barriers can be used to protect the water treatment plant in the case of a major flood:​​

Grass-covered embankments topped with security ​fencing

Things to consider:​​

  • The emban​kments are more natural looking;
  • They take up a wider amount of space due to the slopes, creating less space for community amenities; and
  • They have specific landscaping requirements that can oly accomodate naturalized grasses or sod so the area can be mowed. Roots from large vegetation can form small holes in embankments and encourage burrowing animals.​

Flood ​walls topped with security fencing

Things to consider:​

  • They take up ​a smaller amount of space; and
  • They can incorporate more of the community amenities​.

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With either type of flood barrier (wall or grass-covered embankment) buffer zones are in place that restrict the type of vegetation that can be replanted. The buffer zone is about 5m from the wall or end of the embankment slope. This is to maintain the structural integrity of the barrier.​

  Flood barrier locations

​There are three key locations around the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant that need permanent flood barriers.


Below​ you will see renderings and cross-sections for each key flood barrier location. There are unique details to consider at each location. Please note that we are still in the planning process and these details will change based on your input and as our plans progress.​

Flood barrier renderings and information by location​​​

1. North of water treatment plant
A grass-covered embankment was chosen for this location to keep the area looking more natural, and because there is space to accommodate it within the existing fenceline. There will be some trees and vegetation removed on the water treatment plant side of the fence in order to construct the embankments and allow for a buffer zone. The trees could be replanted within the water treatment plant site.

2. North of water treatment plant alongside river


A flood wall was chosen for this location. The wall will range from 2.5 to 4.5 metres tall depending on the contour of the ground. A wall here would protect the critical river water intake infrastructure, while minimizing the impact to the wildlife corridor between the river and the water treatment plant. The space between the flood wall and the trees could be planted with local grasses.

 



Which design considerations are most important to you in this area?

Find out about design considerations for education and history, art and community space​.


3. Northeast of water treatment plant

A grass-covered embankment was chosen for this location so as to keep the area looking more natural, and there is ample space to accommodate it on the water treatment plant side. There will be some trees and vegetation removed on the water treatment plant side of the fence in order to construct the embankments and allow for a buffer zone. The trees could be replanted within the water treatment plant site.​​​

  Flood barrier design considerations​​

Maintaining the natural state of the area around the water treatment plants is important to EPCOR and community members

Participants in our first phase of community engagement mention​ed that the natural state ​of the area is important, and the loss of vegetation should be mitigated.​​

​​​As one of the primary land use owners within the Ribbon of Green, EPCOR's watershed management team is committed to stewarding a healthy and ecologically robust river valley. EPCOR has selected a 1 kilimetre squared natural area adjacent to the water treatment plant and is working with the City of Edmonton to manage this area and achieve the objectives listed below. Edmontonians can be assured that in this area that EPCOR operates there will no net loss of ecological function and natural river valley area.

EPCOR is committed to collaboratively achieving the following objectives:

  1. No net loss of vegetative cover;
  2. Net gains of naturalized area, closed canopy forest, and connectivity; and,
  3. Long-term reduction of stormwater runoff to the North Saskatchewan River through green infrastructure projects.​​​

​​​​Design considerations

In certain locations we can incorporate community-preferred design elements into the flood barrier. Below is a list of potential amenities that may be included.

We appreciate the ideas participants brought forward in phase one of our engagement that helped shape this list of amenities and what they could mean to the community. We are still in the early phases of this project and are open to further ideas.​

​E​ducation and history​

Edu​ca​​tional features

Improve signage or add interactive features outside the existing fence line to educate people about the services the water treatment plant provides.​

Historical features

Add features that draw inspiration from local history. Options could include working with a local historic group, or highlighting Fort Edmonton’s history at this site.​

Indig​enous connections

Honor Indigenous perspectives of water and the connections that many Nations have had to thi​s site since time immemorial. Recognize the importance of water for all beings.​​​​

​A​rt​

Artistic features - example of sculpture

Adorn the area with local or Indigenous art, murals or sculptures. The public art could be interactive in nature or highlight the community’s character. EPCOR would further engage with the local and Indigenous community regarding art selection.​

Artistic f​eatures - example of mural

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Now is the time to get involved - share your ​​thoughts with us

We want to hear from you so that we can design flood barriers to protect the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant and integrate into your community as much as possible while being mindful of costs. We also want to understand your preferences for what type of flood barrier (wall or grass-covered embankment) you would like to see and design considerations in each area.​

Current engagement activities

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