In June 2011, an approximately three-acre site at the City of Moose Jaw irrigation area was planted with specially selected fast-growing hybrid poplar and willow clones in a 15-block design. The trees were nested within plots to receive varying effluent application levels. Each plot is approximately 0.5 acre in size with six different varieties of specially selected fast growing hybrid poplar clones including Okanese, Walker, WN2-2-18, etc. and three varieties of willow clones, such as Silver leaf, Acute and Chermisina.
A multi-species "Heritage Forest" plot (0.25 acre) was also planted using a variety of trees, including white spruce, Colorado spruce, various pines and maples, Siberian larch, balsam fir, Douglas fir, red cedar, balsam poplar, bur oak, white birch, etc. A Heritage Forest does not take up as much effluent as fast-growing willows and poplars, but it does provide communities with a beautiful recreational mixed-wood forest when active effluent irrigation has ended or moved to a new site.
Effluent is pumped from the City of Moose Jaw's wastewater treatment plant storage lagoon and is distributed through a system of high-rate micro-sprinklers that are installed throughout the six plots. The site is remotely monitored and will be managed for 5 years, after which it will remain as an afforested site. The results from this project will document an inexpensive means for managing municipal wastewater effluent while protecting surface water from pollution. It is anticipated that by implementing this wastewater disposal management alternative, many existing wastewater treatment systems in Saskatchewan will be able to manage their wastewater more efficiently and more economically with "Zero Discharge" to water bodies, while protecting the environment.