On the agenda: EPCOR scrutiny, organics processing, advisory boards

· The Pulse

This week, council is scheduled to meet to discuss the January equipment failure at EPCOR's E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant, processing organic waste, and annual reports from several advisory boards.

There is a utility committee meeting scheduled for March 4 and a non-regular city council meeting scheduled for March 5. There is also an urban planning committee meeting scheduled for March 6, a community and public services committee meeting scheduled for March 6, and an executive committee meeting scheduled for March 8.

Here are key items on the agenda:

  • EPCOR officials are expected to appear at a utility committee meeting on March 4 to update council about the equipment failure at the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant that forced a non-essential water ban across the region in late January. Ward pihêsiwin Coun. Tim Cartmell, chair of the utility committee, requested the EPCOR update, so officials can publicly explain what happened and what they are doing to prevent a similar failure in the future. An EPCOR update posted on its website said a high-voltage cable that feeds two pumps at the plant came into contact with water, resulting in electrical gear failure and damage to other components. EPCOR was working on planned improvements at the Rossdale Water Treatment Plant when the failure happened at E.L. Smith. Though EPCOR stopped working on Rossdale and put it back into full service, the second plant was unable to meet the region's water demand without EPCOR imposing restrictions. E.L. Smith was taken offline and crews worked through the night to repair the equipment. The non-essential water ban ended on Feb. 2.
  • An updated organics processing program is needed to manage an expected 36% increase in material once apartments and condos are involved in organics collection, a city report said. The city forecasts an additional 30,000 tonnes of organics will come from apartments and condos once the program is fully in place by 2027. One option to improve processing capacity is to invest further into the city's high solids anaerobic digestion facility, which is underperforming and requires upgrades to reliably generate green electricity, the city said. The report, which was prepared for a utility committee meeting on March 4, said city staff will return later in the year with four options that are efficient on cost, environmentally friendly, and comply with regulations.
  • Several of the committees and boards that advise city council are scheduled to report on their progress over the last year and what's in store for 2024. The Accessibility Advisory Committee, Community Services Advisory Board, Edmonton Design Committee, Naming Committee, and Women's Advisory Voice of Edmonton Committee are among the groups scheduled to present to a non-regular city council meeting on March 5.
Edmonton waste sorting bins.

The city said it needs to update its organics collection program to meet capacity demands by 2027.

Here are some other agenda items:

Meetings stream live on YouTube on the Chamber channel and River Valley Room channel.