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Wastewater Upgrades

This page was last reviewed on November 25, 2021.

Wastewater Upgrades Coming to the Village


Thank you to everyone who attended the site tours and open house on Sept. 28 + 29. The informational display boards are now posted below. See “Learn More” section.


The Village of Cumberland is getting started on required upgrades to their wastewater treatment system that will meet provincial standards, as well as fulfill environmental goals to remove man-made toxins, restore degraded ecosystems and release safe water into Maple Lake Creek and the Trent River.

The Wastewater Upgrades Project is a result of years of careful planning and community input to develop a sustainable treatment system in a region with unique challenges which include high winter wet weather flows, extremely dry summer conditions and a sensitive downstream habitat.

This is a truly “made in Cumberland” solution, taking into consideration factors of affordability, sustainability, and social benefits.

About the Wastewater Upgrades

The Wastewater Upgrades Project is about improving the treatment provided by the current lagoon system, rather than building a mechanical treatment plant. In effect, it is to “reinvent” the lagoons rather than replace them.

This project includes three components, with the lagoon upgrades as the primary focus.

  • Lagoon Upgrades. These are the main treatment improvements, to meet provincial effluent and reliability standards – works include:
    1. Improvements to wastewater screening,
    2. Changing the flow path in the lagoons and adding extra aeration
    3. Adding nutrients for phosphorus removal
    4. Additional environmentally friendly disinfection
    5. Ancillary works such as an operator’s building, workshop, improved instrumentation, site security, etc.
  • Biochar Media Reed Bed. A constructed wetland that uses plants and biochar (charcoal) to “polish” the treated water and filter out contaminants such as pharmaceuticals. This will be the first of its kind in Canada.
  • Wetland Enhancement. A reanimation of the existing wetlands located on the east side of Maple Lake Creek, using the treated water. Proposed rehabilitation will include invasive species removal, planting of various native habitat zones and reclaimed water distribution by swales and new ponds. This will create opportunities for new walking trails, lookout points and interpretive signs.

This system is a combination of engineered and naturalized systems for high-quality treatment of Cumberland’s wastewater which will further be “touched by nature” before flowing into Maple Lake Creek.

What You Need to Know

  • This is the largest capital project undertaken by the Village of Cumberland to date, with a total projected cost of $9.7 million.
  • Grants will pay for a majority of this project. Here is a breakdown of funding:
    • Canada – BC investing in Canada Infrastructure Program Federal contribution $3.9 million
    • Canada – BC investing in Canada Infrastructure Program Provincial contribution $3.2 million
    • Federation of Canadian Municipalities “Green Municipal Fund” – Loan of $2.26 million and grant of $0.34 million
  • This combination of engineered and naturalized systems will have lower operating costs than a traditional mechanical wastewater treatment system.
  • Lagoon upgrades will support future population growth to 7,000 people.
  • Pre-construction activities will begin in the fall of 2021, with major construction beginning in 2022. Estimated completion in 2023.
  • Some trails in the area will be rerouted to keep the public safe, so look for signage and check website to stay updated on closures.
  • Wetland habitat restoration will create new public access trails and amenities. Community input will be sought during the winter regarding how to best use these new outdoor spaces, so please stay connected.

Project News

Learn More

Get in touch: email wwt-upgrades@nullCumberland.ca or call: 250-336-2291

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