September 04, 2013

Consultant lays out plan to finish off SSMP study

As published in The Erin Advocate

Erin’s sewer consultant has requested an additional $54,000 for extra work on the Servicing and Settlement Master Plan (SSMP), with hopes of completing it by next May.

Matt Pearson of BM Ross is also now suggesting that Erin explore the possibility of piping sewage to Peel Region instead of processing it locally.

The SSMP environmental assessment of wastewater needs in Erin village and Hillsburgh is into its fifth year, but the process has been on hold since May, when Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) said it needed more data on the summer water flow in the West Credit River near the Tenth Line. That will take until October.

In addition, Project Manager Dale Murray of Triton Engineering, on behalf of the Town, notified BM Ross on May 28 that more work was needed to fulfill the requirements of the study, especially the impact of sewers on surface and ground water, and development of financial plans for recommended solutions.

BM Ross responded on August 15, agreeing to do more work under the terms of their original $350,000 contract. They’ve already received $303,000, but Council voted to delay paying the most recent invoice of $31,000 until they are satisfied with the work.

Pearson has now requested payment of that invoice, and estimated it will cost an additional $54,000 to complete tasks that are beyond their original assignment.

Council was to discuss the matter Tuesday night, after this week’s issue of The Advocate had gone to press. The BM Ross proposal can be viewed in the council agenda, available at The Town has also now released a report from last May by Water Superintendent Frank Smedley, which was highly critical of the Final Report Draft.

The Draft discussed various possibilities about how much population the urban areas might be able to have, based on the capacity of the river to handle sewage effluent, ranging from 6,500 to 13,500. CVC expects it to be at the low end, but Smedley pointed out that the Draft raised for the first time the possibility that “alternative treatment options” could push the total well higher than 13,500.

“An in-depth report on our funding options and debt carrying capacity should be completed before Council decides to move to the next phase,” he said. “How can we make decisions on what options to pick if we do not know the cost of each option? Also I believe that not all options have been included.”

He asked how the Town could afford to do all the road work that will accompany a sewer project, if its entire borrowing capacity is dedicated to the sewers themselves.

He listed various strategies, options and financial plans from the original BM Ross proposal, which he felt were not covered. He also noted that about 200 households in Hillsburgh without Town water would face high costs if they had to hook up to water and sewers at the same time.

BM Ross now proposes to meet with municipal hydrogeologist Ray Blackport and the Town’s financial consultant Watson and Associates, and will add more technical detail to the plan, including available wastewater technologies.

The consultant requested an additional $15,000 to recalculate the assimilative capacity of the river, when CVC provides new data.

“The study needs to focus on a population that is accepted by the CVC and MOE and there needs to be clear direction given by Council and town planner on where growth will occur based on the accepted number,” said Pearson.

He also suggests, “Initiating discussions with Peel Region with respect to the possibility of obtaining sanitary sewage capacity at any of their facilities. This will allow an opportunity for a ‘Big Pipe’ alternative which would be explored further in the late EA stages.”

BM Ross requested an additional $39,000 to host or attend various meetings, including three with the Liaison Committee, three with the Core Management Committee, a workshop with Councillors leading to a new final draft report, meetings with Town staff and the Project Manager, and attendance at a council meeting.

Pearson suggested that a public meeting not be held until May, “after Council has approved the SSMP”.