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Region to review Woolwich’s wastewater needs

St. Jacobs is not flush with sewage capacity, but finding a solution for that will be part of a forthcoming Region of Waterloo wastewater master plan. In Elmira, where capacity issues were addressed a few years back, longer-term planning will be part of the process.

Work on the new plan is expected to get underway later this year, with a completion date in 2012. Work on the two treatment plants in Woolwich would be in the 2014-2018 timeframe, Nancy Kodousek, director of water services, indicated in a presentation to council Aug. 10.

The Elmira treatment plant has the capacity to handle 7.8 million litres per day, but currently averages about 4.1 million litres. That leaves room for another 6,000 people in the service area, to a total of 16,300.
In St. Jacobs, where development has been somewhat curtailed by a lack of sewage hook-ups, upgrades are more pressing.

With a capacity of 1.45 million litres per day and a current usage of 0.98 million litres, the plant has room to handle growth in the village of about 289 more people. The number is actually up over the past couple of years, due largely to a new formula for calculation capacity. As well, relatively drier weather has seen less runoff enter the sewage system, a process known as inflow and infiltration, or I&I.

Wastewater flows are down this year. In 2008, however, the weather was very wet and flows increased, dropping by 22 per cent last year when conditions improved, she noted.

The I&I situation is one closely monitored in the township, as a recently ended agreement between Woolwich and the region saw tens of million of dollars spent on rehabilitating underground pipes to reduce the amount of inflow.

Earlier this year, township determined large-scale I&I work is no longer cost-effective. Instead, small improvements will be undertaken. That includes manhole repairs, identifying leaking laterals from homes and investigating a sump pump program. In the latter case, the township would look at installing the pumps at homes where foundation drains are disconnected from the sanitary sewer system.

The I&I work in St. Jacobs has been particularly disappointing. Although the 10-year program had a target of reducing inflow by 50 per cent per capita, the actual reduction was only 7.5 per cent.

For Coun. Sandy Shantz, the numbers mean the township has to take a hard look at future I&I measures.

In the short term, Ward 2 Coun. Mark Bauman is seeking assurances fluctuation flow rates won’t lead to a drop in sewage capacity in St. Jacobs.

“Are those assured units, or could those be clawed back?” he asked Kodousek of the current capacity at the wastewater treatment plant, noting at least four developers are looking for sewage hook-ups for their projects.

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