Water levels in Cochrane Lake, a closed lake system with no drainage outlet, are controlled by manually disengaging pumps diverting water from the Bow River, which supplies drinking water to the surrounding communities. During fall 2011, water exceeded maximum levels set out in the licence. High water levels are covering septic systems and may flood residences and structures adjacent to Cochrane Lake, which could lead to adverse effects on human health and property. Despite numerous requests from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD), the company has failed to take the necessary action to reduce water levels and the lake continues to exceed allowable limits.
Under the water management order, the company must take immediate action to return the lake to normal levels by October 1, and commence pumping activities to directly mitigate the health impacts of affected septic systems and private property by August 17. The company must also submit a long term management plan proposal and bi-weekly progress reports to ESRD.
ESRD focuses on education, prevention and enforcement to ensure all Albertans continue to enjoy a clean and healthy environment. When individuals or companies fail to comply with legislation, a number of options are available depending on the offence to ensure compliance with environmental regulations. Water management orders are issued under the authority of Alberta's Water Act to ensure immediate action is taken to correct a situation.
To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.