December 21, 2017

Wastewater meeting planned

Town of Erin residents should get their first detailed look at various options for a wastewater system at a Public Information Centre planned for Friday, Feb. 2.

The Environmental Assessment (EA) team at the Ainley Group had hoped to have the meeting this past fall, but they have been “busier than anticipated” with technical reports and field investigations, according to spokesperson Dave Hardy.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) required extra work to be done to support the Assimilative Capacity Study (ACS), which measures the potential impact of sewage effluent on the West Credit River.

The town authorized a brief study of freshwater mussels, which help keep rivers healthy by filtering toxins. Mayor Al Alls said the cost was $6,800 and that no mussels were found. The final ACS will be published soon, along with the ministry’s comments.

The technical memoranda, also to be published soon, will cover collection system alternatives, treatment plant site selection, effluent outfall site selection, pumping station and forcemain alternatives, and treatment technology alternatives.

There has been a study of the suitability of all sites that may be required for infrastructure, including meetings with all landowners. The environmental, geotechnical and archaeological investigations of the sites are almost complete.

The current schedule includes a presentation to council on Jan. 9, and discussion (open to general attendance, but not participation) at the Public Liaison Committee meeting Jan. 24.
In another development, Ainley President Joe Mullan has complained to council about ongoing questions and alternatives put forward by the town’s Environment and Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC)

In a letter published with the Dec. 12 agenda he says the Consultation and Communications Plan for the EA does not include direct correspondence with ESAC. He said council could change the procedures.

“This would create additional processes, which could have an impact on the timeline and/or the team’s budget,” he said.

ESAC has been unhappy with the scope and detail of answers it has received, with the consultant in many instances saying the issues have already been dealt with in previous reports and at previous meetings, or that questions are premature.

The Dec. 12 agenda includes a series of ESCA questions and Ainley answers, including ESAC asking about ways to challenge technical memos and eventual preferred solutions.