Cumberland approves plan for sewage treatment upgrades

The Village will apply for grant funding for the upgrades later this year

The Village of Cumberland has charted a new course to deal with its wastewater treatment issues.

On April 9, Village council approved implementing a two-phase, $8.6-million plan to upgrade its sewage system.

Under the lagoon-based approach, the Village’s existing lagoon will be upgraded, while effluent will be discharged at a north wetland area.

The upgrades are expected by 2020.

The Village’s Wastewater Advisory Committee endorsed the option, which was chosen over mechanical treatment options.

The project coordinator for Cumberland’s development of a Liquid Waste Management Plan, Paul Nash, presented on sewage-related issues for over 90 minutes on Monday.

“We looked at a whole bunch of treatment options and we ended up settling on three possibilities,” said Nash. “Option one, an upgraded lagoon, option two, the base flow mechanical, and option three, the full flow mechanical.”

Throughout his presentation, Nash explained the pros and cons of each treatment option, as well as their financial implications.

“Going with the lagoon, it’s the cheapest initial cost, the cheapest to operate. Going with the mechanical treatment plant gives the best quality treatment in dry weather, and the full flow mechanical reclaims the lagoons,” he said before the vote occurred.

Current non-compliance

Council’s approval comes a month after the Ministry of Environment (MoE) issued the Village of Cumberland its third non-compliance notice in recent years.

Read More: Province issues Cumberland non-compliance notice for wastewater treatment issues

According to Nash, Cumberland’s wastewater discharge permit is out of compliance with numerous provincial sewage treatment regulations. The MoE warned it could issue an administrative penalty if Cumberland continued in its non-compliance.

Nash, who met with MoE officials the week before Monday’s council meeting, said Cumberland must meet its permit conditions as soon as possible.

“They did say they encourage the efforts to get into compliance as soon as possible, and that’s the best defence against enforcement,” he said.

“It was a productive meeting. We have a path forward for getting things resolved. The only thing we can’t control is enforcement action, and we’ll just have to see where the cards fall on that.”

The Village will be applying for senior government infrastructure funding and grants from the Green Municipal Fund later this year to help pay for most of the project.

Also on Monday, Council approved a Biochar Reed Bed pilot project as part of the long-term treatment option. The project is subject to grant funding.

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