May 15, 2013

Town urged to reserve future sewage capacity

As published in The Erin Advocate

Concerns have been raised that if Erin decides not to build a sewage system for existing residents, developers could use up all of the sewage capacity, making it impossible to service existing homes in the future.

At last week's special council meeting on the SSMP, Mayor Lou Maieron outlined an approximate possible scenario in which the urban areas had 5,000 existing people, and the Town was told that the West Credit River could handle sewage from 10,000 people.

"Do you want to service the existing population, or does council say no, we're going to leave everybody in Erin and Hillsburgh currently on septics, on septics?" he said, meaning that the sewage capacity for those homes would be unused.

"The question could become, is the assimilative capacity of the river then 10,000 new people? The developers could say, we want to build a plan for 10,000 more people."

At the council meeting the next evening, Credit Valley Conservation Deputy CAO John Kinkead, said the Town of Erin should hold some capacity in reserve, in case it is needed in the future.

"In moving forward with a wastewater EA (Environmental Assessment) it's important, whether a decision is made today, 5 years from now, 10 years, 15 years from now, that there needs to be a set-aside in that available assimilative capacity in the West Credit for the possibility that the populations of Hillsburgh and Erin, or some portion of those populations, may need to be serviced by a communal system.

"I know there's a strong feeling within the existing community that current [i.e. septic] systems have served this community well for who knows how many years, and perhaps may for a similar number of years in the future. But there's no guarantee that that will be the case.

"I strongly urge council that if the decision is to move forward with completing the EA, that there be a thoughtful consideration for a reserve capacity, for the decision at some future time to incorporate some portion of the existing development to be part of a communal system."