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

In order to protect the Rossdale 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. It is important to note that this project will not worsen flooding in surrounding neighbourhoods. ​

 

 

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 Rossdale 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 five key locations around the Rossdale 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​​

  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 emban​​kments topped with security fencing

Things to consider:
  • The embankments are 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 only accommodate naturalized grasses or sod so the area can be mowed. Roots from large vegetation can form small holes in grass-covered 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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​​In certain locations the barrier could start as a wall and then transition into an embankment.

Security fencing on top of the flood barriers protects the water reservoirs and treatment plant.

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 five key locations around the Rossdale 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 reservoir

 

This flood barrier is located directly north of the underground drinking water reservoirs.

We are proposing a grass-covered embankment in this location. An embankment here would protect the reservoirs while minimizing the impact to the look and feel of the area.

The embankment and the space between the flood barrier and the roadway could be planted with natural grasses or sod.​​​


2. East of reservoir

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At this location there are three options for a flood barrier:

Grass-covered emban​​​​kment

 

Partial flood wall and grass covered-embankment

 

Flood wall

 

What​ type of barrier do you prefer in this ​​location?

When considering which barrier you prefer, t​​here are two important things to consider at this location:

  • Regardless of which barrier is selected, to allow for a buffer zone, there will be some trees and vegetation removed along the barrier and between the barrier and the pathway. The space between the flood barrier and the path could be planted with sod or local grasses. If a wall is chosen there are more options for replanting larger vegetation.
  • In the future, the grass area on the reservoirs may be accessible to the public. A grass-covered embankment in this location may make access to the park space different than a wall. The public would be able to walk over an embankment to enter a park and a wall would need stairs.

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

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

 

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3. East of water treatment plant

This flood barrier will be located east of the water treatment plant. Between the flood barrier and the multi-use trail along 101 Street, there is currently a grassy space with trees and landscaped beds.

 At this location there are two options for a flood barrier:

​Grass-covered embankment

 

Flood wall

 

What type of barrier do you prefer in this lo​​cation?

When considering which barrier you prefer, there are two important things to consider at this location:

  • Overall in this location it is important to consider which option (wall or embankment) you prefer visually. In this space there is more area to replant vegetation and install amenities, so the footprint of the barrier has less of an impact on replanting than it does in other locations where the barrier is close to a path.
  • To secure the water treatment plant, security fences are required on top of the barrier.
    • If a grass-covered embankment is chosen there would be a tall security fence needed on top of the embankment, approximately 2.5m high.
    • A short security top would be needed on the wall, approximately 0.5m high. ​

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

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

4. South of water treatment plant

This flood barrier is located south of the water treatment plant, next to the multi-use path beside the river.​

At this location there is an opportunity for the flood barrier to be either a wall or a back-filled wall. A back-filled wall looks similar to a half grass-covered embankment sloping up to a wall. A security fence would be installed on the top of the slope. See cross-sections on the next page for reference.

A wall here would protect the critical river water intake infrastructure, while minimizing the impact to the existing trail between the river and the water treatment plant. The space between the flood barrier and the path could be planted with local grasses or sod.

Trees and vegetation removed between the water treatment plant and the path in order to construct the barriers and allow for a buffer zone. The space between the flood barrier and the path could be planted with sod or local grasses.

This area is also close to a number of future projects that the City of Edmonton is planning such as Touch the Water. As a result, the exact alignment of this barrier may change to accommodate the goals and objectives of that project. Community feedback on this location will be considered in this decision and communicated to the City of Edmonton for inclusion in their project planning for Touch the Water.​

At this location there are two options for a flood barrier:

​Back-filled wall

 

Flood wall


What t​ype of barrier do y​​ou prefer in this location?

When considering which barrier you prefer, there is an important consideration at this location:

  • To secure the water treatment plant, security fences are required on top of the barrier.
  • If a back-filled wall​​ is chosen there would be a tall security fence needed on top of the embankment, approximately 2.5m high.
  • A short security top would be needed on the wall, approximately 0.5m high. ​

Which design considerat​ions are most important to you in this area?

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

 

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5. Southwest of water treatment plant

 

This flood barrier is located between the decommissioned Rossdale Power Plant and the southwest edge of the water treatment plant. As this location is close to the river, a flood wall barrier has been chosen so that there is less impact to trees and vegetation in the area.

Similar to location 4, this area is also close to a number of future projects that the City of Edmonton is planning such as Touch the Water. As a result, the exact alignment of this barrier may change to accommodate the goals and objectives of that project. Community feedback on this location will be considered in this decision and communicated to the City of Edmonton for inclusion in their project planning for Touch the Water.​​​

  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.​​​

​​Education and history​

Edu​cational 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

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

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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​​Community space​​

Welcomi​​ng sp​ace

Designing features around the water treatment plant site that foster community interaction. This could include adding seating to an area, and creating space for community gathering.​​

Space th​at supports recreation

Features that encourage and enhance recreational use of the area.​

Flexible space

Area in the community that will encourage a variety of activities.​​

 

 

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 Rossdale 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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