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Explore the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant’s innovative processes at your own time and own pace​​

This is a self-guided walk. The stops have been carefully selected by our staff to help you discover the site on your own. There are several stops along the map to tell you about the processes and features of our facility.

Please remember park etiquette:

  • Follow the designated trails to protect this important plant and animal habitat, which can be easily damaged by human activity.
  • Share the trail and make room for all users and practice good trail etiquette! Note that sections of this trail are designated off-leash areas.
  • Enjoy your walk!​​
Walking Directions: Starting at 50th Street, just north of Gold Bar Park Road (at the pedestrian crossing), we will explore the headwaters of Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant.​​


Click the map above to follow the Gold Bar walking trail

Stop 1: What is wastewater?

It all begins in your home

Every time you flush the toilet, take a shower, or do a load of laundry, you send wastewater to the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant through a network of underground pipes. The plant’s job is to take what you put down the drain and turn it into clean, safe, reusable water.
Learn more about wastewater

​Walking directions: Just around the corner from where you are, we will learn more about odour, and what we do to reduce it.​​

Stop 2: What causes odour at Gold Bar?

Treating wastewater is a smelly business, and we do our best to capture and treat the air that carries odours from wastewater treatment processes. Most of these odours are related to hydrogen sulphide (H2S). This gas, naturally produced by biological activity in wastewater, can be detected at very low levels.
Learn more about odour

Walking directions: Continue your walk through the park by heading east on the trail. In about 100m, look for an opening in the trees on your right and head across the field towards the Air Quality Monitoring Station.

Stop 3: How do we measure air quality?

The Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station (AAQMS) continuously monitors ambient air quality near the Gold Bar site.

Monitoring air quality is an important part of our commitment to reducing odour at Gold Bar. The AAQMS gives us information we can use to make any changes necessary to improve odour emissions and air quality.
Learn more about air quality

Walking directions: Head across the field back to the paved walking trail. Continue your walk through the park by heading east on the trail, and look for stop #4 on you left in about 300m.

Stop 4: What is in these basins?

In these basins are millions of microorganisms like bacteria, protozoa, and fungi, which consume two things: nitrogen and phosphorous. At EPCOR’s Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant, this treatment stage is called Biological Nutrient Removal.
Learn more about the process

Walking directions: Continue your walk on the trail, and take a left at the trail intersection (head north towards the river). Look for stop #5 right at the corner of the trail intersection.​

Stop 5: What happens to solids in wastewater?

Screening and filtering

Millions of litres of wastewater are processed at the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant every day. Everything that goes down the drain eventually reaches the wastewater treatment facility. Each day, almost 8,000 lbs of inorganic solids like rocks, silt, and garbage are filtered, screened and, often manually removed from the system. That’s about the weight of an adult hippopotamus.

Learn more about how we transform what you put down the drain into clean, safe, reusable water.
Think before you flush

Walking directions: Continue heading towards the river (north) on the paved trail. When you get to a fork on the road, take the gravel path on the left. When you reach the t-intersection at the river, turn left (west). You’ll find your next stop on your left in about 75m.

Stop 6: Protecting the Watershed

Edmonton's drinking water source is the North Saskatchewan River, but every body of water has a watershed. Watersheds drain rainfall and snowmelt into streams and rivers. These smaller bodies of water flow into larger ones, including lakes, bays, and oceans. Over 150,000 km2 of land contributes run-off to the North Saskatchewan and makes up the North Saskatchewan Watershed.
Learn more about protecting our water

Walking directions:Continue your walk through the park by heading west on the trail, and look for the next stop in about 200m on your right hand side, by Outfall 10.

Stop 7: What’s coming out of this outfall?

After 17 – 18 hours, wastewater has been treated and cleaned to remove solids and excess nutrients. We are now able to return the water to the North Saskatchewan River in a condition that is safe for fish, the ecosystem, and recreational use.
Think before you flush

Walking directions: Continue your walk through the park, heading west on the trail, and look for your last stop in about 100m, on your left.

Stop 8: Adapting to Climate Change

Climate change is predicted to increase weather volatility and variability in many regions.

For the North Saskatchewan River, the change in weather, snowmelt and rainfall patterns is expected to increase the risk of more precipitation in the winter and spring, with earlier or multiple spring runoff periods. EPCOR’s wastewater treatment plant in Edmonton — Gold Bar — is situated next to the North Saskatchewan River. We have a long-term plan in place to ensure we can successfully manage increased extreme weather.
Learn more about climate change

Walking directions: Continue on the trail until you reach the boat launch. Take a left at the boat launch and continue south on 50th Street, back to where you started. Or you can stay a while and continue to explore this beautiful par​k.