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Shelburne council approves $2M reserves transfer for wastewater plant design

Town council approved allocation of $2 million in capital reserves to finance the design portion for upgrades. This will begin immediately upon completion of the plant’s environment assessment (EA) study.

“It’s about a year for design time frame, and I think that’s being fair to Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and other approval folks who need to approve the design,” said Stephen Burnett, municipal engineer. “If the EA wraps up mid-summer, we should have the design complete by mid to late summer next year, pending hiccups.”

An administration review of the facility’s remaining capacity found new and proposed developments will exceed the remaining total. Upgrades to the plant are estimated at $26 million to $34 million.

“The reserves we set aside ourselves will be built up from our water and sewer rates,” said Carey Holmes, treasurer. “Once the design phase is done, and the actual construction commences, we can pull from development charges to replenish our reserves back again.”

The town is currently undertaking three environmental assessments and review is scheduled for next year.

The balance in the sewer reserve was $3.4 million at the end of 2020, with a budgeted transfer of $723,265 to the account through rates collected. The estimated balance in the sewer reserve was budgeted to be $4 million.

Consultants S. Burnett and Associates Limited found one of the wells has been taken offline because of air entrainment issues. Crews previously rehabilitated it with new pumps installed in 2020. Up to two air release valves will be installed to try to eliminate the entrainment. The plan is to have it back up and running by summer 2021.

Another well was initially minimized to limit the naturally occurring arsenic levels, which are above the newly reduced drinking water limits. A new filtration system is being designed.

These wells and others significantly limited the town’s water supply. There is not sufficient water supply to meet the current maximum day demand.

The MECP has approved an application for a new elevated water storage tank in February. A request for proposals is planned for May for a detailed design. Construction is anticipated for August and September. It is expected to cost $3.5 million.

These changes will also require an update to the source water protection plan working with Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) and Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA).

“The NVCA is looking at a partnership, where they would pick up some of the costs, and the town will be covering some of the water quality assessment work, but it actually is a partnership and not fully on the town’s ticket,” said Burnett.

The consultants will submit most of this information and testing results in late spring and early summer. It is not anticipated approval will be issued until late spring or early summer 2022 to implement these improvements.

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This will allow the water supply EA to be completed and submit the notice of completion this fall or winter. Pending successful testing as described above.

The implementation of improvements at the wells will provide sufficient water supply for about 15 years. However, a new well supply will be required to meet the 20-year growth scenario. If any of the above testing or improvements are not approved, additional supply from a new well will be sooner.
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