Mandatory connections possible

·2 min read

MT. BRYDGES - Property owners on private septic beds in Mt. Brydges may eventually need to hook up to the municipal sewage system. Even with the recent housing boom, the 20-year-old waste water treatment facility is still underused, creating challenges in the treatment process.

Approximately 510 properties are connected to the Mt. Brydges treatment facility, and flows are at 25% capacity, or 206 m3/day. For optimal performance, the plant would want to reach 50% or greater, say public works staff.

All new subdivisions in Mt Brydges are required to connect to the sanitary sewage treatment system, as are any properties currently on septic that have a septic system failure, if the property is abutting existing sewers. Sewers front about 90 properties that are not connected.

The way things are now is inhibiting the healthy growth of bacteria and the treatment of pollutants. Staff are evaluating the pros/cons of mandatory connections for all properties that are fronting/abutting existing sanitary sewers.

The Municipality is also completing a conceptual design for both headworks and an equalization tank at the treatment site, with designs to be completed by the end of April 2021. These would help stabilize sewage flows to the facility, which currently has high flows throughout the day, especially after-work hours, and virtually nothing throughout the night. The conceptual design will propose two phases: Phase 1, headworks, costing approximately $1.8-million; and Phase 2, EQ Tank, approximately $1.2-million.

The treatment plant was clearly built oversized when constructed 20 years ago, possibly in anticipation of housing growth. Either that growth didn’t meet expectations, or the current challenges weren’t foreseen by the council of the day; either way, it’s a pricey fix to be paid for now.

Last summer, a broken gearbox at the facility caused a temporary shutdown. For a while, sewage was being trucked to the Strathroy plant; once the broken machinery was fixed that was halted. Public Works staff say they now keep spare gearbox parts, as well as boosted their supply of other parts for the facility in case something goes wrong again.

McKinley Leonard-Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner