Unity was one of five municipalities noticed by the Saskatchewan Municipal Awards Program. The program, which is in it's 12th year, recognizes innovation and excellence in local governments.
Unity was able to win a Honorable Mention from the committee for their Waste Water Treatment Plant. The program recognized their innovative and cost-effective system that expands their waste water capacity, while maintaining regulatory requirements.
"It's certainly worthy of an acknowledgement," Unity Mayor, Ben Weber, said it's something he expects to see more of in the future, "The province and especially smaller rural communities across Canada, will see a huge benefit from what's happening here with the technology, once it catches on."
He noted they started the project around three years ago, when their lagoon situation was brought to council's attention, "We were advised that our current treatment capacity had reached it's upper limits. It couldn't accommodate any further growth so the town of Unity was advised to expand or improve it."
Mayor Weber went on to say they found a company in Australia who had a more advanced way of treating water, that would not require them to expand their lagoon, "Through a bit of luck and research, we found this new system of treating water and by extension, waste water."
Construction on the new facility started around two years ago. The treatment facility works by drawing sewage in, which is then treated through two separate tanks. Mayor Weber said the water is then dumped back into the lagoon, in a clear state, "It's a huge improvement over all the current systems out there. It required no expansion to the current lagoon, no extra land or chemicals."
Even better, this treatment facility was approximately half the cost of a traditional lagoon expansion.
After another year of testing and improvements, the facility was approved by the Water Security Agency in September and is now up and running.
"After a couple of years of testing and improving, the technology worked beautifully, " explained Mayor Weber. "We weren't looking for any awards but never the less, it is being recognized as noteworthy."
He said they are hoping to have an announcement or grand opening ceremony for the new treatment facility in the near future.
The winning rural municipalities will be given their award at the Annual SARM Midterm Convention, November 14th in Saskatoon, while the urban municipalities will receive their award at the Annual SUMA Convention in February 2019.
First place was awarded to the Town of Moosomin for their Nutrien Sportsplex. The city of Melfort earned second place with their Wellness Centre. Third place was given to the Northern Village of Île-à-la-Crosse, for their Fish Processing and Packaging Facility.
The Regional Cooperation award was awarded to the RM of White Valley and Town of Eastend for their Tourism and Rebranding Campaign.