Clarenville preparing for new federal wastewater treatment regulations
Cost could be $20 million or more
With new federal wastewater regulations looming, the Town of Clarenville could be looking at a bill of up to $20 million, pending a review by municipal engineers.
The federal government is requiring towns across the country to monitor the outflow of their wastewater and to cease any outfall into the ocean in favour of sewage treatment by 2020.
Clarenville is considering all its options.
Town officials had their first formal meeting with the new Bonavista-Burin-Trinity MP Churence Rogers earlier this winter and the topic dominated the discussion, says Mayor Frazer Russell.
The Mayor told The Packet the meeting was a positive one — arranged to ensure they continue to have a positive working relationship with the local MP.
“Our question to him was, ‘Are there going to be any relaxations of the deadlines?’ because right now, 2020 is not realistic,” Russell told The Packet last week.
Russell says the town has been monitoring its wastewater for the past three years at a cost of $40,000 annually. At this point, he says, they feel they’ve collected enough data and should be able to take this expense off their books.
“We feel right now we have the data we need to assess the situation because the data hasn’t changed that much and we haven’t been growing that much over the past year or so.”
Russell says their engineers are analyzing the present system to determine what infrastructure upgrades will be required. The engineering report with various treatment options is expected in May.
In the meantime, Russell says they will try to eliminate as many of the eight current outfalls as they can.
Russell says their engineers have looked at different options and while the cost is important, the type of treatment is also vital.
He adds run-off storm drain water should also be taken into account, noting they wouldn’t want to add an extra cost with the sheer amount of excess water being treated, along with sewage.
“In our infrastructure upgrades, we need to find ways to reduce the amount of surface water that’s getting into the sewer system because that affects the capacity and the cost of treating it.
“That has great financial implications for the town in terms of our long-term planning as well,” said Russell. “So really, we were trying to figure out what assistance is going to be out there for small towns to ensure the new guidelines are going to be met.
“But none of it will be able to be done without federal involvement,” says Russell.
Clarenville Mayor Frazer Russell