Erin issues statement to quell rumours around wastewater project

·3 min read

Construction crews have not started any work on the wastewater treatment plant site, as it is only in the design phase at the moment.

The Town of Erin has issued a statement to dispel what they call rumours circulating in the community about the project.

“The wastewater treatment plant is a major infrastructure project, and residents would like to know more about the plant and the associated costs,” said Nick Colucci, director of infrastructure services. “It is our aim to maintain transparency and provide the information in a clear and timely manner.”

The town has released a list of facts about the project, which state that crews will build the project in phases.

The full build-out of the wastewater treatment plant will occur in stages over many years, with constriction expected to begin this summer.

Two sites were identified in the environmental assessment (EA), and numerous and thorough studies were conducted. The town approved the plant with consultation from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and all stakeholders, including the Credit Valley Conservation Authority (CVC).

The sites were disclosed at the public meetings for the EA, at council meetings, and the information has been available to residents.

Researchers at the time determined that it was not necessary to reduce the effluent temperature. The town will monitor the effluent's temperature after construction to ensure it meets the required environmental requirements.

If it is deemed necessary to reduce the effluent temperature in the future, staff will incorporate suitable mitigating actions at that time.

This is especially important to environmental groups, such as the Izaak Walton Flying Fish Club. Along with the Belfountain Community Organization, they are concerned about the impact it would have on fish, specifically the Brook trout, a cold-water dwelling fish that needs temperatures between 10 and 19 C to survive and spawn.

Developers are paying for the costs associated with building the wastewater treatment plant and main trunk lines. According to Banner archives, they were to pay $58 million to $68 million but then pitched in $28 million more to reduce the town’s share.

There is no cost to rural residents as they will not be connecting to the new system.

Urban residents, who will be connecting to the system, will have to pay to connect their homes to the pipeline. This cost will fluctuate depending on the distance from the house to the pipe, but the average connection cost is about $4,000 to $8,000.

Once the facility is built and the home is connected, user fees will be applied. The average costs are based on a review of wastewater rates in nearby municipalities. The annual average user costs are about $500 to $600.

“Residents will recover this cost through property taxes after the house has been connected to the sewer lines and could be potentially spread out over 10 to 15 years,” said Colucci.

The town will be applying for funding to help subsidize the current cost estimates to residents. The exact final cost to each household will be determined by the federal and provincial governments' additional funding grants.

“The town is looking to apply for funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), Green Infrastructure Stream and will be monitoring all funding opportunities that will be applicable to our requirements,” said Colucci.

Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner