Water pollution plant expansion plans put on hold

By Chris Simon

Expansion plans for the Lakeshore Water Pollution Control Plant have been put on temporary hiatus, pending the outcome of two Ministry of the Environment studies.
The town has stopped an environmental assessment on the plant, which is exploring the feasibility of expanding the the site from 14 million litres per day to 40 million. The expansion is deemed necessary to adequately provide treatment capacity for the town’s growing population.
“There have been some critical findings in the last few weeks,” said Ainley/Black and Veatch consultant Joe Mullan, whose firm was hired to oversee the assessment. “The key component of (a town) pilot study was to identify technology that would permit the expansion to 40 million litres. All four (suitable) technologies would be extremely expensive. Following the implementation of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan in June, the MOE has continued work on two critically important studies.”
He recommended the stoppage, until the completion of the Phosphorous Reduction Strategy and Water Quality Trading studies being conducted by the ministry. Those studies are expected to be complete in March 2010.
As part of the plan, the town also approved about $72,390 in funding for additional work associated to the project. Once the studies are complete, Ainley will submit a report to the ministry, on the town’s behalf. Ainley will review phosphorous loading regulations in American jurisdictions, and request the ministry consider implementing yearly average output limits.
The ministry currently has monthly phosphorous limits, and caps the annual amount of discharge at the plant to 351 kilograms.
But some councillors worry about the length of time anticipated for the completion of the studies.
“They’re looking at whether (phosphorous trading) is possible for the lake,” said councillor Lynn Dollin. “Call me a pessimist, but I’m concerned with the ministry’s timeline. They don’t work by the same calendar we do, days mean weeks.”
Ainley will also be tasked with providing construction and operating cost estimates for the expansion, once the assessment resumes.