Sewer 20-year master plan

·3 min read

STRATHROY-CARADOC - The future of all that stuff that goes down the drain is being planned for the next 20 years.

An under-appreciated, very expensive and necessary aspect of every community is being studied in Strathroy-Caradoc by to RV Anderson Associates Ltd. after the company’s bid of $324,840 to create the Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Master Plans and Pollution Prevention Control Plan came under budget and was approved by council.

The other qualified tender was almost double the amount at close to $600,000, according to Jake Straus, Director of Engineering & Public Works.

Straus said his report on the master plan bids didn’t show scores in because it is a protected process. He compared it to restaurants keeping their secret sauces secret.

This was not the lowest bid, but within $100,000 and scored the highest in technical ranking. The scores were 85, 80 (a bid at nearly double the price), and 70 for the least expensive bid that did not qualify.

The goal is to develop strategies to support the big projected growth in population and new businesses moving into the area. All those people and buildings will need to bring water in and waste out. Rain and snow melt will also need somewhere to go with whole new neighbourhoods on the drawing board.

Sewers have been top of mind for residents in Mt. Brydges with the big expansion of the town’s wastewater treatment facility.

Another report on the Mt. Brydges plant was presented May 1 by Strauss after council passed a motion last month asking for details on the process, including the environmental assessment, costing and timelines.

That report said most details will have to wait for the master plan, scheduled to be done in a year.

According to Straus’s report, that means just selecting a consultant to do the environmental assessment would not be done until early 2025. It says detailed plans would likely not be drawn up until 2027.

“That seems like a really long timeline,” said Coun. Greg Willsie, who made the motion a month ago to make this Mt. Brydges report.

“To me that defeats the purpose of planning ahead if we’re not dong anything for four years,” he added at the May 1 meeting.

Straus said it may be sped up, but a sewer treatment facility requires a lot of public engagement.

“If the council wanted to pick a number out of the air and say this is what they wanted the rated capacity to be, we can certainly undertake that EA as soon as we select a consultant to undertake that on our behalf,” replied Straus.

Coun. Brian Derbyshire asked Apr. 17 if rewarding the master plan to the same company connected to Mt. Brydges’ plant was wise.

“Are we maybe too intertwined with the wastewater plant considering this will be part of that study, just considering it is their design, their project?” asked Derbyshire.

Coun. Steve Pelkman said he understood the concern, but was OK with the tendering process.

“And there’s only a limited number of companies who do this kind of work, and we see the same names pop up time and time again,” said Pelkman.

Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner