April '10 Newsletter

Town Council News

April 2010 Volume 5, Issue 2

The Curotto-Can automated garbage pickup system reduces labour and the risk of injuries to personnel. Each residence on the route will receive one roll out trash cart.

Automated garbage pickup coming to Athabasca

Automated residential garbage collection is soon to become a reality in Athabasca. The new service will begin in June.

Athabasca Regional Waste Management Services Commission (ARWMSC) has two trucks equipped to accommodate the new system and is waiting for the trash carts to arrive. Once the carts arrive and the public has been duly informed of the procedures regarding the new garbage collection process, service will begin in the communities of Athabasca and Boyle.

“We started looking at this automated waste system about two to three years ago,” says, Rob Smith, ARWMSC manager. “It’s been in the States for many years and it’s in other Canadian communities.”

The system includes roll out trash carts to be located at each residence plus an automated collection bin that is attached to the front of the garbage truck. On pick up day, residents will roll their cart out to the designated pick up spot. The truck will pull up beside the trash cart and an automated arm will stretch out to grasp the cart and tip its contents into the collection bin. As the collection bin fills, the contents will get tipped up and over into the truck.

There are several advantages and efficiencies associated with the new system.

“Labour is an issue,” Rob explains. “Right now, we have two people on the route. With the automated system, our labour goes down to one person. Injuries can be an issue, too—we pick up garbage bags from 450 homes a day.”

Not only will the new system improve the labour ratio and reduce the strain on the backs of employees, but the process of garbage pickup will be faster and cleaner and will allow for flexible use of the designated garbage trucks.

“We wanted something to give us a back up if something went wrong with one of the trucks,” says Rob. “A dedicated system is restrictive. The Curotto-Can (collection bin) is a removable attachment for our trucks. If a truck needs servicing, the Curotto-Can can be transferred to the other truck. It can also be removed so the truck can be used for commercial garbage pickup.”

Manual trash pickup may still be necessary in some areas

There are a few areas in town that may make the automated system impractical.

“Some areas in Athabasca will be challenging because of hills or access,” notes Rob. “There may be some homes that will get a manual pick up. But, 95 per cent of the town will be automated.”

When the new system rolls out in June, it will likely begin in the newer subdivisions where the terrain is more level and access is less challenging. As familiarity with the equipment develops, the service will expand to other areas in town, including the downtown districts.

The by-laws governing automated residential garbage collection are being finalized and will be used to develop appropriate guides and rules for residents who receive garbage pickup services.

“The bylaw sets the parameters—collection day, pickup point, general waste allowed,” says Rob. “Once going, it will be regular weekly pickup, primarily at the front curb.”

Each residence will get one 64-gallon roll out cart that will be marked with a serial number exclusive to that residence. The cart becomes the responsibility of the resident.

“The carts have wheels and are easy to manoeuvre,” Rob assures. “All garbage is to be bagged before going in. Each cart will hold the three-bag limit. The carts have lids and must not be overflowing on pickup day.”

Although the automated system may be expanded at a future date to include grass and compost materials in a second, separate cart, at present the carts will be strictly for traditional household garbage.

Blue Box recycling will continue to be separate from garbage collection.

Once the new automated residential garbage collection program is up and running smoothly in Athabasca and Boyle, ARWMSC may consider the possibility of expanding the service to other communities in the Athabasca region.

Appliance and Household Hazardous Waste Roundup

It’s that time of the year—the recycling roundup is on once again!

Appliance Roundup Week: April 19-25

Bring your old fridges, freezers, kitchen stoves, dishwashers, microwaves, clothes washers, dryers, furnaces and hot water tanks to any Transfer or Landfill Site within Athabasca County during regular operating hours.

No fees will be charged except for appliances with Freon (fridges, freezers and A/C units: $15/ea.).

Don’t forget to bring your old T.V.s and computers—they’re free to drop off, too.

Household Hazardous Waste Roundup: Saturday, April 24

Check your home for potentially hazardous products and items and bring them to:

- Athabasca Recycle Facility: 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

- Boyle Landfill: 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Hazardous products might be found in your basement, kitchen, bathroom, utility room, laundry room, storage shed, garden shed and garage.

For more information on the Appliance and Household Hazardous Waste roundups, contact Rob Smith, Athabasca Regional Waste Management Services Commission, 780-675-1117.

Blue Box recycling program enhanced

As recycling technologies improve, facilities like ARWMSC can benefit through greater operational efficiencies and the entire recycling community can benefit as a result.

Enhancements to the Athabasca Blue Box recycling program are being introduced and area residents on the program will find information with the new Blue Box guidelines in their Blue Boxes.

“I am excited about the new Blue Box changes,” says Rob. “The markets have changed, making it easier to sort recyclable materials.”

In particular, the changes have affected the way plastics and paper can be sorted and processed at the local facility.

“Due to new sorting technology, we can handle everything all in one,” Rob explains. “For example, soft plastics like bags and plastic wrap will now go together as one sort. Hard plastics, like tubs and jugs, will now go together as a second sort. That’s going to help greatly.”

Also, prior to the changes, newspaper had to be sorted separately from other paper items. “Now,” says Rob, “magazines, catalogues, phone books, soft cover books and gift wrap can be included with newspaper. It eliminates one sort.”

Stockpiled cardboard moved successfully

For a period of time, the price for recyclable cardboard dropped below profitable levels. Rather than selling it at a loss, ARWMSC decided to stockpile it, since the facility has the room to do so, and wait to see if the market would rebound. The decision paid off, as the market for cardboard has gone back up again.

“The good news is we got top dollar for all the cardboard we had been stockpiling,” declares Rob. “We moved it all in January.”

With cardboard prices now sitting at profitable levels, ARWMSC no longer needs to stockpile it and is selling it off as the volumes dictate.

For more information about recycling and waste management within the Athabasca region, contact Athabasca Regional Waste Management Services Commission at 780-675-1117.

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Centennial Calendar: add your 2011 events

Athabasca’s big year to celebrate is fast approaching. Any group or individual planning any kind of event in 2011 is encouraged to let the Athabasca Centennial Committee know about it so it can be included on the events calendar being developed.

The committee is hoping community members will come forward with a wide variety of events and activities for 2011 to help create a spirit of celebration and excitement to last throughout the year. Family events, community group events, sports events, corporate events—whatever you have planned in 2011, if it can in some way be tied to the Athabasca Centennial theme, it’s all good. Let the committee know about it!

There are a few projects currently being looked into where immediate input from the community would be helpful. For example, items to be placed in a time capsule are being considered and collected. Space in the capsule will be limited, but all ideas and suggestions are welcome. Pass your recommendations on to the committee.

The committee is also seeking help in finding interested and qualified parties capable of performing artistic work in the form of ice sculptures: in particular, public ice sculpture demonstrations for the benefit of attendees at a Centennial-themed winter carnival event. Again, please pass any known references or contact details on to the Centennial Committee.

Now available: Centennial Clothing

Centennial clothing imprinted with the official Centennial 2011 logo is now available and samples can be viewed at Cheap Seats Sporting Goods on 50th Street in Athabasca.

A variety of clothing styles have been discussed at committee meetings and select items are being made available to the public for purchase. This will give everybody in the community the opportunity to take an active part in promoting our community’s big event, now and throughout 2011.

Centennial apparel can be worn at family events, community events and elsewhere. It can be given as a gift, awarded as a prize and used for silent auctions. Consider purchasing some items to help promote Athabasca’s 2011 Centennial.

Centennial website and Facebook profile

The Centennial Committee is working on ways to pass information on to the community and to receive relative feedback in return. The Centennial website and Athabasca 2011 Centennial Facebook page are two examples.

A link to the Centennial Website is being placed on the Town of Athabasca homepage for the convenience of visitors to the Town site. Additionally, for branding purposes, some Athabasca Centennial promotional materials will direct readers to the Town site for Centennial information. Some updates may appear on the Town homepage or elsewhere on the Town site—in this Town Council Newsletter, for example—and visitors will also be directed to the Centennial website for further information.

The Centennial website is a work in progress. Currently, the official Centennial logo can be viewed there, along with several photos from the September 2009 logo unveiling event. A link to the Centennial Forums site is also available on the Centennial website.

The Athabasca 2011 Centennial Facebook page offers another way to become socially interactive online with other members of the Athabasca community and to view current Centennial announcements. Log in to your Facebook account and search for “Town of Athabasca 2011 Centennial.”

For more information about the Centennial Committee or to provide information or feedback regarding any of the notes or requests in this article, please contact the committee at helloathabasca@hotmail.com

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Overhead view inside the new Water Treatment Plant on Wood Heights Road in Athabasca. Pre-testing of the new plant will begin in July before the plant officially goes online in September.

The first of two water clarifier systems delivered to the Water Treatment Plant on January 29.

Raw water reservoir, looking west toward the Water Treatment Plant. Water is pumped up from the river into the reservoir. The reservoir can hold 75, 000 cubic meters of water.

Summer start-up for new Water Treatment Plant

If all goes as planned, initial pre-start-up testing for the new regional water treatment plant on Wood Heights Road in Athabasca will begin in July. Construction work inside and outside of the facility is progressing well.

“Subject to unforeseen delays, we anticipate a September start-up date with pre-start-ups in July and August,” confirms Brian Brost, Chief Administrative Officer for the Aspen Regional Water Services Commission. “The treatment plant will supply water to the Town of Athabasca, Athabasca County and the Village of Boyle.”

Before going fully operational, all systems will be thoroughly tested and facility staff will be appropriately familiarized with the proper procedures and trained to handle all equipment and processes.

When construction is complete, the facility will be contained inside a secure compound. The administrative offices, including a training room, will be on the west side of the plant and although they are attached to the main structure, they are separate from the plant proper.

The new plant boasts a unique energy-saving feature: a specially designed solar wall.

“The solar wall is offset from the main wall,” explains Brian. “It’s designed for heating purposes, especially in the winter. Warm air between the walls is drawn into the plant, reducing the amount of natural gas needed to heat the interior of the building.”

Inside the plant, a full range of processing equipment will handle the various stages of treatment needed to convert raw river water into completely safe and palatable water for use by residents of the town and region. In addition to the actual processing equipment and chemical storage tanks, the plant contains an electrical room, a lab for water analysis and testing, a workshop and a control room that monitors and runs the whole system.

Once the water has been fully processed, it is stored in reservoirs located directly below the main floor of the plant. “They take up the entire footprint of the building and hold about 3,000 cubic metres of treated water,” says Brian.

Before the water enters the plant for treating and processing, it is stored in a raw water reservoir located outside of the plant, to the east of the building.

“The raw water reservoir can hold 75,000 cubic metres of water,” notes Brian. “Raw water is pumped up from the river through a supply line that feeds into the east end of the reservoir. It is drawn from the west end of the reservoir into a tank, and then into the plant for processing.”

The large capacity of the raw water reservoir is advantageous in that it allows the facility to draw water from the river at opportune times to ensure better quality.

“For example,” Brian explains, “if upstream contaminations develop, we will have a sufficient quantity of clear water in storage to last through the critical period.”

Although the treatment plant is expected to meet the water processing needs of the region for many years to come, it has been designed to accommodate future expansion. Water treated at the plant will be sold by Aspen Regional Water Services Commission to the Town of Athabasca, Athabasca County and Village of Boyle.

For additional details, read the previous Water Treatment Plant article.

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