June 14, 2017

Hillsburgh sewage plant considered impractical

The possibility of building a sewage treatment plant in Hillsburgh has been rejected as impractical and too costly by the consultant conducting a Wastewater Environmental Assessment for the Town of Erin.
Joe Mullan, President of Ainley Group, presented a technical report to Town Council last week. He said there is insufficient data on the quality and quantity of the river flow near Hillsburgh to determine if treated sewage effluent could be safely discharged there.
Gathering the data for a new Assimilative Capacity Study could take 10 years and $500,000 – with no certainty that a Hillsburgh plant would eventually get provincial approval. Council requested the analysis last month, since the option had not be fully explored in the Servicing and Settlement Master Plan (SSMP).
Ainley is recommending that the Town stick with the original plan from the SSMP to have a single wastewater plant discharging downstream of Erin village. Council has made no final decision on this.
A Public Information Centre on the wastewater situation will be held on Thursday, June 22, at Centre 2000. It runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a presentation at 7 p.m. It will describe the scope of possible work, and present the results of studies done so far – including alternatives not covered in the SSMP.
“The industry trend is towards less and larger treatment plants in order to reduce operational and compliance costs,” said Mullan.
Having two plants would save the estimated $5.2 million cost of a forcemain to pump Hillsburgh’s sewage along the Elora Cataract Trailway to the Erin village plant. But building two plants (for the full projected population increase) would cost $98.3 million, compared to $60.7 million for just one plant.
In addition, operation and maintenance costs estimated over 50 years would be about $75 million for a single plant – 32 per cent cheaper than for two plants.
“Subject to development of a cost sharing plan with developers, the full build out cost allocation to the existing community could substantially reduce the per capita cost to existing residents,” the Ainley report says.
Previously, growth within the urban areas of Hillsburgh and Erin was to be limited to 1,500 new residents – based on providing sewer service to all existing residents. As reported last November, a new strategy could exclude several areas from getting sewers. This would help free up capacity for developers, and could allow about 10,000 new urban residents over 20-30 years.

This is referred to as “full build out”, allowing housing growth in areas identified in the Town’s Official Plan. Council has been delaying a decision on exactly where new subdivisions will be allowed.