Friday, 08 December 2017 05:37

Malloy Drain Project breaks new ground near Coaldale

Written by  Demi Knight
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Malloy Drain Project breaks new ground near Coaldale Contributed

Coaldale is undergoing some major infrastructure construction in the next months, as phase 2A of their Malloy Drain Storm Water Management project gets underway.

With the Malloy drain basin encompassing the whole town of Coaldale and reaching further into the surrounding areas of Lethbridge County, an ongoing problem of flooding has plagued these communities over the past twenty-two years due to their lack of natural drainage courses. 
As an effort to combat these flooding issues, the Town of Coaldale, Lethbridge County and St. Mary River Irrigation District came together in 2015 with the initial Malloy Drain Project. With the first phase being completed this spring, the project has now moved into its second phase late this October.  
“Coaldale is in the middle of ancient lake bed and it has no real natural drainage, so water flows in and causes problems that way,” says Kevin Viergutz, Malloy Drain Project Manager explaining why this project was so necessary for the community’s involved with the project. “All the water that gets trapped in Coaldale, needs to travel downstream, so we’re working together with our partners to try and fix that.”
The three-year project implementation plan which was put in place in 2014 found funding after the High River floods with the province’s Alberta Community Resiliency Program and set a three-phase goal of holding water back and diverting it to a new system that will eventually allow the water to flow down into the Stafford reservoir. As the project got underway in 2015, Stage One saw 3,700 metres of drain upgraded as well as the replacement of existing canal structures and the upgrade of the Highway 512 crossing. 
Now the project has begun it ground-breaking work on phase 2A, that will continue the hard work of improving storm water management within the area.
“This phase will help provide storage for whole system.” says Viergutz. “Because what happens when we have rainstorm, is that it flows all way down to the east of Medicine Hat, and the canals and pipelines are bigger at the top end and smaller at bottom end, there’s not much natural drainage so reservoirs reach capacity, so we need to manage water before it gets into them.”
With the second phase of the project getting underway this October, additional storage and re-direction of waterflow are the main problems to be tackled. By developing an interception channel west of Coaldale and Highway 3 as well as a 1,050-mm diameter pipeline that will move water from the south pond to the northwest wetlands and storage complex, these new infrastructures will be built to help with the continuing drainage battle.
Phase 2A of the project will also see 225,000 cubic metres of storm water retention complex with sediment removal, mesic uplands and integrated marsh and wetlands water treatment west of the Birds of Prey Centre and residential areas within northwest Coaldale to better manage farmland and areas being affected by these drainage and flooding problems. With a $5.4 million budget, $4.38 million of it being funded by the provincial governments Alberta Community Resiliency Program, and the remaining balance being funded $340,000 each by local contributors of Lethbridge County, St. Mary River Irrigation District and the town of Coaldale.
This phase of the plan is set to be complete by next August with phase 2B in the planning stages for when the time arrives, says Viergutz.
“After this is completed, with phase 2B we want to collect water coming into the south end of Coaldale. The water comes that comes into the southeast quarter of Cottonwood and the water that comes south off Highway 512 collects at the corner and it overflows and runs north along the highway into Coaldale so in phase 2B we’ll be putting in a pond on that corner to help manage those issues.”
With the addition of storage and better drain management for Coaldale, Lethbridge County and St. Mary River Irrigation District in the making, Viergutz says fixing these issues will help many throughout the area, and will ultimately have a regional impact once the project is officially completed.

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