Effluent Irrigated Woodlot Demonstration Project
SaskWater has undertaken a pilot project to study the benefits of effluent irrigated woodlots for wastewater management in response to the recent, more stringent, effluent disposal guidelines from the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). The intent is to provide a lower cost option to Saskatchewan communities who use lagoon-based wastewater treatment systems to comply with current and future environmental guidelines. We believe that effluent irrigated woodlots, with "Zero Discharge" to water bodies, are a viable alternative effluent disposal method to discharging into a watercourse.
There are many communities in Saskatchewan which use facultative lagoons. With suitable effluent quality and soils, these existing wastewater systems could be upgraded or expanded to take advantage of the secondary treated effluent. Woodlots consisting of properly selected hybrid poplars and willows are able to uptake approximately three to five times the volume of effluent when compared to traditional agricultural crops (such as a hay crop), allowing greater effluent application intensity. This reduces plantation size and reduces costs.
The goal is a well-managed effluent irrigation system that maximizes wastewater application but does not exceed the uptake capacity of the trees or soil, and protects groundwater quality.