Growth sti­fled

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL News Staff

De­vel­op­ment in South Glen­garry’s fastest­grow­ing com­mu­nity could grind to a halt if cur­rent wa­ter and waste­water ca­pac­ity is­sues aren’t soon ad­dressed.

“We have three dif­fer­ent sub­di­vi­sions (in Glen Wal­ter) that coun­cil is aware of, that have gone through draft plan ap­proval that we can­not com­mit ca­pac­ity to,” said Joanne Ha­ley, the town­ship’s gen­eral man­ager of com­mu­nity ser­vices, dur­ing the March 5 reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing.

“That means that it re­duces or ster­il­izes growth in Glen Wal­ter.”

Cit­ing fig­ures from the town­ship’s an­nual wa­ter and waste­water re­port, Ewen Mac­Don­ald, the town­ship’s gen­eral man­ager of in­fra­struc­ture ser­vices, said the Glen Wal­ter wa­ter treat­ment (sewage) plant’s rated ca­pac­ity of 787 cu­bic me­tres per day was ex­ceeded ap­prox­i­mately 40 per cent of the time in 2017.

And while he ex­plained that the fa­cil­ity can han­dle much higher vol­umes, he added that it’s not an ideal sit­u­a­tion.

“The 787, which is the de­sign ca­pac­ity, is based on an av­er­age an­nual daily flow. Our plant is de­signed... for a peak flow of 2,100 cu­bic me­tres per day,” said Mr. Mac­Don­ald.

“We have proven that we can han­dle more than that, but it’s not an ex­er­cise that we want to con­tinue to do.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Mac­Don­ald, there are two pri­mary rea­sons be­hind the high flows.

“We’ve been deal­ing with this is­sue for a num­ber of years... and it has been di­rectly trig­gered by win­ter rain events or freeze/thaw events,” he said, at­tribut­ing the in­fil­tra­tion of groundwate­r into the sys­tem to older pipes and man­holes in the ear­lier de­vel­oped parts of Glen Wal­ter.

“We sus­pect that there are also still many,

many prop­erty own­ers who have sump pumps con­nected into our sys­tem.”

Mr. Mac­Don­ald said he and the town­ship’s di­rec­tor of wa­ter and waste­water oper­a­tions Shawn Killoran are await­ing the re­lease of the Glen Wal­ter En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sess­ment (EA) re­port this spring – as well as re­view­ing up­dated weather-re­lated flow, and cam­era-in­spec­tion data – be­fore for­mu­lat­ing a strat­egy to deal with the is­sue.

“From that in­for­ma­tion, we need to come up with a plan, which might in­clude some ad­vo­cacy and ed­u­ca­tion to the pub­lic, as far as the sump pump con­nec­tions,” said Mr. Mac­Don­ald, who also pointed out that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has the au­thor­ity to take ac­tion against home­own­ers or res­i­dents who are dis­charg­ing wa­ter into the sys­tem through sump pump out­lets.

“We know that this is a high pri­or­ity. Mr. Killoran and I have dis­cussed that this is prob­a­bly our high­est pri­or­ity in 2018, for that sys­tem.”

An­other op­tion for ad­dress­ing the ca­pac­ity is­sue – al­beit a costly one – would be the con­struc­tion of a sec­ond wa­ter treat­ment plant in Glen Wal­ter, some­thing that Mr. Mac­Don­ald re­ferred to as a pos­si­ble “rec­om­men­da­tion for the long-term.”

Mayor Ian McLeod feels the high flow prob­lem can be reme­died by fo­cus­ing on groundwate­r in­fil­tra­tion.

“The ex­tra­ne­ous in­flows are com­ing from di­rect rain wa­ter, from roof lead­ers, sump pumps and ditches. That’s re­ally what’s dam­ag­ing us,” said the mayor.

“That’s the area that we have to at­tack. If we can claw that back, then we’re good for ex­pan­sion.”

While ex­tra­ne­ous in­flows are a ma­jor is­sue, the in­creased vol­ume of wa­ter is not caus­ing any en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems.

“We know that we have an is­sue with high flows in Glen Wal­ter. Our ef­flu­ent qual­ity, how­ever, is ex­cel­lent,” said Mr. Mac­Don­ald.

“We’re not any­where near the pa­ram­e­ters where the Min­istry (of the En­vi­ron­ment) has any con­cerns. That be­ing said, we can­not be com­pla­cent with this.”

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