$26M in fed­eral funds could boost sewer work

The Observer (Sarnia) - - NEWS - TYLER KULA tkula@post­media.com

Sarnia is in the run­ning for a $26-mil­lion fed­eral boost to on­go­ing sewer sep­a­ra­tion work in the city.

The city re­cently cleared the first hur­dle by fil­ing an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est to tap into Ot­tawa’s $2-bil­lion dis­as­ter mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion fund.

Now the city’s pro­posed 10-year project to sep­a­rate sew­ers along Cromwell, Mit­ton, and a host of other streets has moved into the fi­nal vet­ting stage, and re­sults are ex­pected by early next year, said Mike Berkvens, Sarnia’s en­gi­neer­ing di­rec­tor.

The work is ex­pected to mit­i­gate the risk of flood­ing for homes and streets, he said.

“And if we’re sep­a­rat­ing sew­ers, we’re not treat­ing (rain wa­ter) at the treat­ment plant, so we’re not run­ning as much elec­tric­ity, as many chem­i­cals, and we’re sav­ing money,” he said.

If suc­cess­ful, the dis­as­ter mit­i­ga­tion ap­pli­ca­tion could mean an ex­tra $800,000 in 2019 for sewer sep­a­ra­tion work, he said.

The city is pen­cilling in $2 mil­lion, in­clud­ing the grant money.

Projects to curb base­ment flood­ing and over­flow spilling into the St. Clair River started about 15 years ago, Berkvens said.

Ex­am­ples in­clude Christina Street and sec­tions of East Street.

Over the past few years, work has con­tin­ued in the area of Tal­fourd and Devine streets.

That in­cluded $2.8 mil­lion be­tween Devine and Con­fed­er­a­tion streets on John, Emma and Mary streets this year. Parts of John and Mary streets are con­tin­u­ing into 2019, Berkvens said.

Richard Street was also tack­led this year.

The cu­mu­la­tive work has made a sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ence at the wa­ter treat­ment plant, Berkvens said.

“Ev­ery time we have a ma­jor rain event, we’re not by­pass­ing at the plant,” he said.

Parts of the map in­cluded in the dis­as­ter mit­i­ga­tion fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion would be tack­led in 2019 if the fund­ing is ap­proved, he said.

Other iden­ti­fied ar­eas that still need sewer sep­a­ra­tion in­clude Queen, South Vi­dal and Brock streets in the area of Tal­fourd and Devine streets, and oth­ers in the Welling­ton Street area, in­clud­ing Vic­to­ria, John­ston and Front streets.

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