Project for sewage treatment in the Arctic

Status: Active

The NRC is developing and testing a model for Arctic waste stabilization ponds that takes into account the unique challenges of operating in the Northern climate.


  • Develop improved techniques for sewage treatment operations in challenging Arctic conditions


  • A computer model for waste stabilization pond performance evaluations in Arctic conditions


Measuring for dissolved oxygen and water temperature at the sewage lagoon in Dettah, NWT (Dec. 2017)

  • Develop an Arctic-specific model of a waste stabilization pond that:
    • accounts for both aerobic and anaerobic degradation of organic materials in the wastewater
    • considers the periodic nature of the operation and the partial or complete freeze of the pond during winter
  • Collect data from the Yellowknife lagoon and calibrate the model on this information
  • Expand the model's capabilities to include the quantification of ammonia, phosphorous and algal bloom levels in the lagoon effluent



  • This new model will help the City of Yellowknife with the long-term planning of its lagoon at Fiddler's Lake, including:
    • estimating how the lagoon will perform with an anticipated population increase
    • looking into possible ways to control various effluent constituents toward achieving water quality compliance

Project team

Andrew Colombo

Andrew Colombo, Associate Research Officer, Construction Research Centre, NRC

Andrew is the project manager and has been responsible for coordinating stakeholders, promoting the model's development, and field testing at Dettah, NWT and Yellowknife.

Yehuda Kleiner

Yehuda Kleiner, Principal Research Officer, Construction Research Centre, NRC

Yehuda has been responsible for modelling hydraulic aspects of lagoons and refining the ice layer model. He has conducted field sampling in Dettah and Fiddler's Lake.

Boris Tartakovsky

Boris Tartakovsky, Senior Research Office, Clean Energy Innovation Research Centre, NRC

Boris is the scientific lead of the project, focusing on the bio-chemical modelling of lagoon processes.

Shuang Liang

Shuang Liang, Assistant Research Officer, Construction Research Centre, NRC

Shuang is busy with the characterization of algal blooms, nitrogen and phosphorous. She has also joined the project team for sampling at Fiddler's Lake.

Ehsan Roshani

Ehsan Roshani, Associate Research Officer, Construction Research Centre, NRC

Ehsan is primarily responsible for coding the model into Matlab and developing the software's user interface.


Contact us

John Cigana
Director, Research and Development
Telephone: 514-496-6180