Sewage plant expansion needed to keep up with growth
An aging system, aggravated by pressures from new development has prompted Clearview staff to try for funding to cover a portion of what could amount to a $9.9 million retrofit for Creemore Wastewater Treatment Plant.
A well-timed engineering report allowed staff to apply for the unforeseen funding opportunity to address possible improvements to the facility.
“That technology does an outstanding job of cleaning water. I don’t know that there’s a better technology but it’s very expensive to maintain and there are newer technologies that we are looking at that may be more affordable, as we expand,” said Director of Public Works Mike Rawn. “We thought the plant could handle some of the growth without an expansion and we found out that it can not.”
In a July 15 report to council he wrote, “The Creemore Wastewater Treatment Plant is not functioning to its design capacity. The plant should be capable of treating at least 600 cubic metres per day with its current components. Currently the plant is only capable of treating approximately 470 cubic metres per day. With pending building permits, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.”
Three Creemore developments are currently on the books: Alliance Homes is developing 498 total residential units (25 units in the first phase); 72 condo units are approved for 80 Edward St.; and there is a proposal under review for 32 single detached dwellings and 30 townhouse units at 101 Edward St. E. and 111 George St.
Back in July, council directed staff to engage an engineer to explore solutions.
The technically advanced treatment facility is owned by the Township of Clearview and operated by the Town of Collingwood.
“The plant, built in 1999, was intended to serve an initial population of 1,500 people, with provision for future expansion to serve 2,500 people. In addition, allowances were included to service the community’s commercial core and the Creemore Springs Brewery,” states the report.
The highly technical report says the problem is with the membranes, like filters, they work great when they’re new but degrade. The membranes perform well in the warmer months but when the water gets cold it fouls the membranes more quickly.
It says that the cutting edge technolgy of the day has proven to be problematic in some respects
The report also states the type of discharge from the brewery is not consistent with the composition of typical municipal wastewater.
“The current daily limits in the over strength agreement are, in general, well above the original design assumptions for the Creemore Wastewater Treatment Plant and in some cases actual loads are in excess of the limits.”
Rawn said the brewery pays its fair share of its usage of the treatment plant.
“The plant could sustain the brewery and the existing village of Creemore as is but in order to accommodate development and to make the plant more cost effective, we take on more users and we make the plant more efficient. That’s why we are looking at this upgrade,” said Rawn.
Last month, an application was submitted through the “green stream” of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, open to municipalities with populations under 100,000. Clearview is applying for $2,575,470 and would have to cover the other $7.3 million, through existing user fees and development charges. Rawn said the costs are built in to the water and sewer rates.
“It is important to note that a council resolution was not required to apply for funding, however, if funding is received, council will have to make decision whether or not to proceed with the project. Funding for the project will require a combination borrowing, user fees, and developer contribution,” wrote Clearview’s compliance coordinator Stephanie Schell in her Feb. 10 report. “The wastewater treatment plant is an essential part of the servicing infrastructure for the community of Creemore. With development starting, it is imperative a solution to the capacity issues be found.”