Alberta Onsite Wastewater Management Association Consults with Buffalo Lake Group Regarding Fecal Coliforms in Areas of the Lake

Representatives from the South Shore Community Association have reached out to the AOWMA for information on how to address the presence of fecal coliforms in some areas of Buffalo Lake.

The presence of human fecal coliforms was discovered by University of Alberta students who were doing research on the lake water quality, utilizing new testing protocols.  The testing indicated high levels of fecal coliforms in some of the bays of the lake and resulted in some closures to recreational use of the lake during the summer. The testing results were brought to the attention of the Buffalo Lake South Shore Water Quality Committee, which operates under the framework of the Buffalo Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan 2020.

Residents around the lake utilize septic systems to manage their wastewater, however there has been no regulatory oversight on the operation and maintenance of those systems.

To begin managing these systems, a bylaw is being developed to regulate the inspection, operation, and maintenance of private sewage systems along the lakeshore.  One of the challenges is that the lake borders on three counties:  Camrose, Stettler, and Lacombe.  The bylaw would have to address the needs of all three counties.  To-date, the bylaw is under review and has passed first reading.