Long-term plan in works for St. Mary’s water treatment plant

·2 min read

ST. MARY’S — In the wake of recent disruptions at Sherbrooke’s water treatment plant, plans are afoot to make the service more modern and reliable, staff told council for the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s at the regular monthly meeting on September 12.

“There’s going to be a lot more focus on our [water utility] asset management and what that looks like,” said Chief Administrative Officer Marissa Jordan, following her scheduled report to council. “[We’re] getting some more details and reports on how to make that treatment facility more efficient, as well as to maintain our assets moving forward so we don’t have everything exhausted at once.”

Councillor Courtney Mailman (district 1) raised the issue following complaints from her constituents. “We’ve had some difficulty lately with it and some feedback from residents,” she said. “Do we have any planning for maybe installing some sensors to know where things are going wrong and maybe some upgrading as budgeting allows?”

Jordan said the problem is related to aging infrastructure, particularly the pipes that run to residents’ homes, some of which haven’t been replaced in years.

“We have had a lot of bad luck in the last little while with breaks,” she acknowledged. “Unfortunately, we’ve had a few kind of piled up on top of one another which has caused some issues in the last couple of weeks. Public works staff have been working really hard to get that managed … That’s something we are working on with the director of public works.”

In June, council approved $5,730 to replace both failed recycle pumps —which are used in the efficient pre-treatment of raw water prior to sand filtration — at the treatment facility. “Right now, [neither] are operational … They need to be replaced as soon as possible.” Jordan told a special council meeting at the time.

Council agreed to hire Ed’s Plumbing and Heating Ltd. of Antigonish to replace both pumps, with the expense to be allotted from the municipality’s 2022-23 gas tax reserve fund. Earlier this year, council approved $221,000 in spending from its capital reserve fund on a slate of other projects designed to position the area for economic development and growth, including lighting upgrades to the Recplex in Sherbrooke, and an electric vehicle charging station in Port Bickerton.

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal