- Installing a wastewater system will allow us to undertake measured development over the next 20+ years that is essential to the future of Erin, it will also have positive effects on the economy.
- This is growth that we need – growth that we will see gradually over the next two decades. We expect our urban population to increase from 4,415 residents to between 7,000 to 10,000 by 2040.
- Throughout the entire wastewater treatment plant project we have had extensive public engagement – both to communicate information and to receive feedback.
- This includes numerous comprehensive impact studies and public consultation sessions during all phases of planning, including the Growth Management Strategy, Environmental Assessment (EA) and Environmental Study Report (ESR).
- The public consultation process included stakeholder outreach to public contacts, review agencies, business groups, interest groups and first nations groups.
- Information about each public consultation was posted on the Town of Erin website, in the Erin Advocate e-newsletter, on social media, and was advertised in the Wellington Advertiser.
- Two committees were created as additional mechanisms to facilitate the public consultation process - the Core Management Team Committee and the Public Liaison Committee.
- In fact, many key design considerations that were incorporated into the EA and ESR were based on feedback from the public consultation process, such as a review of the effect of chlorides on the West Credit River and potential requirement for chloride control measures and the need for additional spawning studies in the River prior to implementation.
- The project has also been discussed at several Council meetings which are open to the public and the meetings’ minutes are posted publicly after each meeting.
Environmental Research and Due Diligence
- The Environmental Assessment and Environmental Study Report was developed by Ainley Group, a leading firm of consultants, engineers and planners, and is very comprehensive at more than 500 pages long.
- To supplement the material in the report, a series of studies were completed, including:
- Updated Assimilative Capacity Study (ACS) to confirm water quality limits for the plant effluent discharge to the river;
- West Credit River Fluvial Geomorphological Assessment to confirm potential physical impacts to the river bed and channel from the effluent discharge to the river; and
- Natural Environment Study to confirm potential impacts to the natural environment from all components of the wastewater system.
- Through all aspects of this project we are keeping the environment at the forefront of our discussions. We have worked with leading experts to ensure our impact on the environment is minimal. In fact, our project has the strictest requirements in Canada.
- The EA process included examining water, wastewater, transportation and storm water management servicing.
- Part of the project plan includes a storm water management facility that will gather rainfall and surface water runoff to help reduce the possibility of flooding and property damage. They are specifically designed to collect runoff from streets, the ground surface and storm sewers.
- At the treatment facility there are technologies and system designs that can deal with storm surges. The challenge for some towns can come from the sewer collection system, which are sometimes combined with the stormwater system. We have studied those systems and they can have an environmental impact on wastewater flows. In the system we are proposing for Erin and Hillsburgh the sewage and stormwater system would be isolated from each other. Homes and businesses would not be permitted to direct runoff into the sanitary sewer system.
- While the Environmental Study Report concluded that it was not necessary to reduce the effluent temperature, which was also accepted by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), we will be monitoring the effluent temperature at the plant site before it is discharged.
- We believe this to be one of the strictest effluent requirements in North America. These are incredibly low Total Phosphorous (TP) requirements.
- The effluent limits for the plant, which have been agreed upon with the MECP and CVC, are strict and recognize the sensitivity of the aquatic environment and the need to protect water quality. As such, the proposed plant will use membrane treatment technology that will achieve a very high-quality effluent, which will ensure the river is not contaminated.
- The Environmental Assessment investigated several methods regarding the discharge of treated effluent to the West Credit River to determine the best way to limit impacts on the environment.
Support from the Government
- The MECP are fully supportive of the wastewater treatment plant project and have been regularly engaged throughout the planning and consultation process including the EA and ESR. All study findings were first presented to representatives from the CVC and MECP to ensure the report approach was consistent with the requirements of these agencies.