The Prairie Gold Produce – Vauxhall and District Regional Water Services Commission Water Supply Project celebrated its grand opening on June 10.
“The Vauxhall and District Regional Water Services Commission (VDRWSC) and Prairie Gold Produce (PGP) have recently completed a major water supply project, which will provide water to the PGP plant located east of the Town of Vauxhall,” said Derrick Krizsan C.L.G.M., Municiapl Administrator for the Municipal District of Taber.
Krizan says that the opening will take place at Prairie Gold Produce Plant, which is located 4 kilometers east of Vauxhall on Township Road 13-1A (155049 Twp. Rd 131A). Tours of the plant were to be conducted in the morning.
The Dehydration Division of Prairie Gold Produce, Krizan says, is a potato processing company located in the M.D. of Taber employs 60 people from the Vauxhall area. The PGP plant specializes in dehydrating potatoes to their granular level. In a highly specialized process the versatile product which is produced is used in food processing, snack foods and as an additive to other food products.
“Prairie Gold Produce and the Vauxhall and District Regional Water Commission – which provides water to the Town of Vauxhall and the M.D. of Taber – entered into an agreement to provide potable water to the PGP plant,” Krizan said. “In order to facilitate non-irrigation season water use during the winter months, a pipeline was constructed from a Bow River Irrigation District Reservoir to supply raw water to be treated by the VDRWSC water treatment facility, which will then be pipelined to the PGP plant.”
Krizan said that this project will enable the VDRWSC plant to operate more efficiently. The project will also lower the costs of water to the residents of both the Town of Vauxhall and the M.D. of Taber by spreading the fixed costs of operating the plant over a higher volume of water
“As one of only three plants in North America, the demand globally for the product that Prairie Gold Produce manufactures is very high,” Krizan said. “The PGP plant is a vital link in the potato industry chain of processing in Southern Alberta.”
Krizan says that the project cost $2.65 million project and involved three phases: the construction of a 5.3-kilometer raw water supply pipeline and pumping facility from a Bow River Irrigation District reservoir near the PGP plant to the VDRWSC water treatment plant, the construction of a 4 kilometer treated water pipeline to the PGP plant and mechanical upgrades to the PGP plant.
“The PGP plant produces approximately 10 million pounds of product annually with 90% marketed in the United States,” Krizan said. “In 2017, PGP received notification that standards for food products was going to be held to a higher standard and water treated to a higher standard was required in order to continue exporting to the United States.”
Krizan said that costs related to the project were shared. 66 percent of the costs were covered by the PGP (including all plant upgrades) while 34 percent of the costs were covered by the VDRWSC. Additionally, $500,000 of the PGP costs were funded by a grant from the Industry Development Program of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.