A groundbreaking pilot wastewater treatment system was unveiled in Estevan today, promising a more sustainable and cost-effective approach to wastewater management. The new system, developed by MAGNA Engineering Services Inc. (MAGNA), was introduced with great anticipation by Estevan water treatment employees and city officials.

The existing facility was integrated with a pilot MAGNA Biofilter Wetland System (MBWS). This will allow them to gain insight into scaling parameters for future full-scale implementation. The MBWS utilizes subsurface-engineered wetlands to provide an economical, easy-to-maintain wastewater treatment system that can withstand cold climates.

Jennifer Massig, president and CEO of MAGNA, explained that by keeping operation and maintenance costs low, they are ensuring resources are being reallocated which will be crucial for the long-term operation of the facility.

“Most importantly, we hope this project ultimately benefits the community’s quality of life by treating wastewater locally and responsibly. We’re taking a big step towards ensuring cleaner water, a healthier environment, and a brighter future for everyone who calls Estevan home,” said Massig.

“You are taking a lot of the features wetlands offer to the environment and making it year-round,” said Estevan Water Services Manager Shane Bucsis. “If Shand were to shut down, the city needs solutions that aren’t cost-prohibitive. Currently, the only solution is a mechanical treatment plant.”

“We’re looking at a bioengineered landscape harnessing the power of microorganisms, specialized media, and vegetation to naturally purify wastewater,” said Massig. “Working with nature allows us to address the objectives of wastewater treatment in a resilient, environmentally friendly way.”

City Manager Jeff Ward explained that mechanical plants have become increasingly expensive, costing between $70 million and $80 million. The city explored a few other wastewater solutions and decided on MAGNA Engineering.

The project’s total cost will be around $550,000. However, the project has received funding through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, making it no cost to the city during the pilot phase. This includes construction labour, engineering, lab testing, and ongoing support from MAGNA.

The project is the first of its kind in the province. Bucsis noted that there has been interest from other communities, as well as the engineering firm, in how the project will fare.

“Sask. Water Security Agency has been very supportive of this process. They’d like to see what kind of results happen with the Saskatchewan environment because of the cost-effectiveness of these natural, sustainable solutions,” said Ward.

Massig emphasized that this project is about celebrating innovation, nature, and building resilient communities.

Following the official ribbon-cutting, there was a tree-planting ceremony. Trees and mulch will be planted over the treatment system to help control odours and beautify the area.


Tree Planting