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Aquatera urging water users to steer clear of bank infrastructure

Aquatera is banking on public support to help protect its equipment next to the Wapiti River.

“Active river bank erosion and environmental events are causing our water source to shift course, increasing risks to the communities we serve,” says Engineering Services Manager Ralph Wohlgemuth.

Aquatera says it has already installed three levels of mitigation and erosion control, including installing sections of Willow and Balsam Poplar into the steep bank slope above the storage ponds to help remove excess moisture in the soil through the trees’ roots. That technique also traps debris and changes the flow of water from the north channel to the south one.

However, residents using the waterway are now being asked to be mindful of the routes they use. Boaters are being urged to only use the south channel of the river to protect those restored areas. ATV drivers are also being asked to not use the trail along the top of the north bank area, both for safety and bank stabilization purposes.

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Wohlgemuth says if that infrastructure were to fail, the situation could become incredibly serious in a short amount of time.

“If we are unable to pull water from the Wapiti River and must resort to the storage ponds, the City of Grande Prairie, Town of Sexsmith, parts of the County of Grande Prairie and, soon, the Town of Wembley, could experience water restrictions within just a few days.”

A regional transmission line is currently being built, and Wembley is expected to get water and wastewater service from Aquatera instead of aquifers and wells this year.

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