City eyes water, climate goals


New conservation steps in works

St. Albert needs to step up its water and energy saving efforts if it wants to meet its 2020 environmental goals, suggests a new report.

St. Albert’s Environment and Sustainability Office released the 2013 Report on the Environment this week. The report, which tracks the city’s progress towards the eight goals outlined in St. Albert’s Environmental Master Plan, comes out around Earth Day (April 22) each year.

The stats and goals in this report are based on last year’s information, notes Leah Kongsrude, the city’s director of strategic services. Next year’s report will likely be very different, as council is set to approve some new goals for its environmental master plan later this year.

Progress made

The report shows that the city residents tossed about 119 kilograms of junk each last year – a little more than the 112 they did in 2012, but still below the city’s target of 125.

This uptick was probably due to natural variability, Kongsrude says.

“As long as we keep it below that target, we’re happy.”

Proposed revisions to the city’s environmental master plan will have the city aim to toss just 105 kilograms per person per year by 2020.

Kongsrude notes that the city introduced a new large-item drop off event last year in order to keep more waste out of the landfill. Habitat for Humanity even managed to salvage some of the junked items.

Expect this event to return later this summer, she says.

Also tweaked was the city’s compost giveaway. Instead of a one-day event, staffers decided to pile about 100 tonnes of compost at the public works yard and have people pick it up when they wanted.

“It was gone within less than a week,” Kongsrude notes.

Staffers hope to repeat this giveaway this year with 400 tonnes of compost, Kongsrude says.

City crews installed two new grit interceptors last year near the Riel BMX Park and the Perron Street Bridge to reduce the amount of sediment clogging the Sturgeon River, the report notes. Crews also built 20 check-dams in the Grandin Ravine to keep sediment from washing out of the Children’s Bridge outfall.

Expect another new interceptor to go into the Children’s Bridge outfall later this year, Kongsrude said.

Water and climate work needed

The report shows that city residents used about 252 litres of water per person per day last year, or a bit less than what they did in 2012.

The city hopes to reduce its water use to 200 litres per person per day by 2020. The Gazette estimates that St. Albert is unlikely to meet this goal unless it steps up its water conservation efforts.

Kongsrude says the Environmental Advisory Committee is set to recommend that the city pass a water conservation bylaw this year, one that will require water-efficient fixtures in all new buildings.

The committee is also set to look at escalated block rates for water use.

“It’s very similar to our rate structure for solid waste,” Kongsrude explains, where you pay a higher rate for water if you use more than a certain amount.

The report shows that St. Albert’s community greenhouse gas emissions rose to 730,004 tonnes last year. That’s an increase of about 18,700 tonnes or 2.6 per cent compared to 2008 – equivalent to putting almost 4,000 more cars on the road.

The city aims to reduce its overall emissions to six per cent below 2008 levels by 2020.

The report shows that the city’s corporate emissions rose to about 31,963 tonnes per year, or about 3.9 per cent more than they were in 2008.

The city’s corporate emissions are supposed to be 20 per cent below 2008 by 2020.

The city needs to lead by example when it comes to emission reductions, Kongsrude says.

“We really don’t have a great handle on our energy use,” she says as example, so crews plan to do energy audits on most city buildings later this year.

“A big part of our greenhouse gas emissions are from transportation,” she continues.

In addition to encouraging car pools and transit use, the city plans to keep working on its south side park-and-ride facility and future LRT link with Edmonton, Kongsrude says.

2013 Report on the Environment

See Wednesday’s Gazette for the full version of this report. You can also find it online at


About Author

Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.