Glen Walter water-sewer plan doesn’t wash with council

Michael Flowers and Carla Fernandes of consulting firm WSP Canada make a presentation to South Glengarry council on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. Council has rejected the consultant's report for the Glen Walter water and sewer because many on council believe the plan doesn't address the entire service area. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

LANCASTER – It’s back to the drawing board for the consultants behind a plan to address Glen Walter’s future water and sewer needs.

South Glengarry council rejected a presentation by WSP Canada Monday night on a master plan for waterworks in Glen Walter. Some on council thought the plan was supposed to cover future servicing for the entire study area from Boundary Road east to Rae Road and from County Road 2 north to Tyotown Road.

But WSP Canada left out four subdivisions on well and septic – Farlinger, Sutherland, Bayview Estates and Sapphire Estates – because a door-to-door survey found residents there were fine and had no problems with their private service. WSP was recommending the township “do nothing” to those areas in the future.

Glen Walter has patchwork of well and septic systems and municipally treated water and sewer.

WSP Project Manager Carla Fernandes said the only thing they heard was residents in those subdivisions was “not wanting to be on the system because of financial reasons.” Glen Walter was recently hit with a 34 per cent increase and will face a further 25 per cent increase in 2019 for residential water and sewer bills.

Right now, the master plan is recommending a new water storage tank and pump upgrades of roughly $4 million and upsizing watermains and adding fire hydrants for another $2 million. On the sewer side, a new $1 million equalization tank and a $3 million upgrade to the Bray Street pumping station is also recommended, as well as an undetermined cost to upsize the sewer network.

The consultant’s analysis of the current water system found weaknesses in meeting targets for firefighting standards. The system is leaky too – nearly half of all water pumped in 2016 was lost somewhere in the system. Some of the water may be ending up on the sewer side. The sewer system saw overflow conditions in the Bray Street pumping station during the wet season of 2017.

While the consultants said the plan included future infill for properties, township planner Joanne Haley said there is “very little infill opportunity.”

“I’m confused, only based on when we started this report, I thought we were going to take in those boundaries…and that’s the kind of idea in respect to the cost of providing water and sewer services to those whole areas. It seems like we’re spending millions of dollars to look after what we’re looking after today,” Deputy Mayor Frank Prevost said. Prevost said he wouldn’t accept the report as-is.

“It’s outlined here (on the first page) the service area but you didn’t report on the whole area. Do nothing (for the subdivisions) isn’t a plan,” councillor Lyle Warden added. “They’ve totally missed the boat.”

South Glengarry wants a big picture for the entire service area in order to have the option of having well and septic users eventually hook into a municipal system, if those private systems fail.

WSP Canada has been told to work with township staff and bring back another report.

The study cost $144,338.

South Glengarry had budgeted $125,000 this year for the consultant to conduct the Glen Walter environmental assessment (EA) of the water and sewer system.