October 01, 2014

EA Terms of Reference to be set by Triton

As published in the Erin Advocate

Triton Engineering has been authorized to start work on the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Environmental Assessment (EA) on sewage options for the Town of Erin.

This could take 3-6 months and cost an estimated $35,500, including the TOR, consultation with approval agencies and review of proposals from consultants bidding to conduct the EA. Only after the EA could the Town proceed with various phases of budgeting, detailed design, provincial approval and eventually construction of a sewer system.

At its September 23 meeting, Town Council also decided to split the study process, with one EA for improvements to the water system, including more storage and new wells, and a separate EA for the more complex sewage issues. This has been endorsed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

The recommendations from Christine Furlong of Triton, the Town’s engineering consultant, have been made in consultation with the Town’s solicitor.

Council unanimously accepted the recommendations, pending an estimate for the cost of services from Blackport Hydrogeology Inc. for the water component. Ray Blackport has not had time to submit a cost estimate, since the project had only been discussed with him in the previous week, said Furlong.

“Ray has been with the Town forever as the hydrogeologist and participated in the SSMP process,” she said. “He’s worked side by side with Frank (Smedley) and has first hand knowledge of the ground water availability here, along with all the source water threats. He knows your water system like the back of his hand.”

Triton will prepare a TOR that “will include requirements to examine all wastewater collection and treatment options outlined in the SSMP and will also include requirements for the consultant to investigate public/private consortia.”

The document will require substantial review and input from approval agencies including Infrastructure Ontario, the MOECC and Credit Valley Conservation, as well as “the P3 interest groups that have voiced their concerns here” and the Town solicitor.

“The timeframe is probably going to be three to six months with all the consultation that’s going to be needed to make sure we get this right the first time,” she said.

Triton would issue requests for initial letters of interest and detailed requests for proposals, review documents submitted, participate in the interview process and make a recommendation to the Town regarding the most qualified firm.

“This is essentially the same process taken to get the SSMP up and running,” she said.

Councillor John Brennan reminded council that Infrastructure Ontario could provide some of the required services at a low cost. He suggested that Triton consult with the provincial agency before embarking on the process, but was assured that this would happen during the process.

“We’re not going to re-invent the wheel, and we’re going to take as much resources as we can possibly take that don’t cost us anything,” said CAO Kathryn Ironmonger.

“The new council will have the opportunity to review the Terms of Reference prior to it being issued,” she said, adding that she did not want to lose two or three months until the new council would authorize the start of the process.

Finance Director Sharon Marshall said only a portion of the $35,500 cost would be incurred this year, and that while there is very little left in the SSMP budget, there is also an EA Reserve Fund that may be used.

Once a consultant is hired, Triton proposes to act in a project management role to coordinate the actual EA, which would be for an additional fee.