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Township uses new technology to build Eloras $16.5-million sewage plant

by David Meyer

ELORA - Centre Wellington council is hoping the new sewage treatment plant for this village will be well underway by the end of the month.

At its committee of the whole meeting on Monday, council authorized the mayor and clerk to execute a technology licence agreement and an operating support agreement with Lystek International Inc., of Cambridge.

Christine Furlong, of Triton Engineering, the township’s engineer, said the plan is to protect people living near the Little Folks factory by insisting on a warning on title that there is a sewage treatment plant in the area. That area is on the outer edge (150 metres) from the new plant.

Furlong said the new plant, expected to cost $16.5 million, would produce Class A biosolids that are user friendly for farmers, and at some future date instead of paying farmers to take it for their fields, the township could sell it for fertilizer.

The new plant is expected to:

- increase the average daily flow capacity from just over 3,000 cubic metres per day to 5,000;

- improve the quality of water discharged into the Grand River as well as the biosolids that remain; and

- modify the Clyde Street pumping station to increase the flow capacity.

The environmental assessment is complete and Furlong hopes to have Ministry of Environment approval by the end of January.

An easement agreement is also in place for the GRCA for a second entrance to the property off County Road 7 to permit easier access for trucks bringing chemicals to the site and for biosolids trucks to haul away the leftover sewage.

Furlong told council it would continue to pay to dispose of the biosolids but it will be up to Lystek to market the biosolids.

“We’re always looking for farms,” she said, noting the difficulty of disposal. She added, “You’ll see the benefits right away. Instead of paying people to take it for fertilizer you may eventually sell it.”

She said a number of places in Ontario are now using the trademark Lystek process, including St. Mary’s, Guelph and Peterborough.

Councillor Fred Morris noted there is a window of opportunity for biosolids disposal, and he wondered if that will change.

Furlong doubted it will. That window is set by the province.

But the process would allow the township to store more biosolids. Currently it is paying $5,000 a month to truck them to a lagoon near Creemore.

Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj noted that with more storage capacity, the township might be able to rent some space for biosolids to other municipalities.

Furlong said one advantage of the Lystek process is farmers will  be able to spread in themselves. The process turns biosolids into a cake like form and then it is mixed in a tank. Using chemicals and high speeds, the tank turns the cake into a liquid that can be pumped. Steam and more chemicals turn the waste into  a Class A biosolid with no detectable pathogens. They are then placed in tanks awaiting disposal.

The process is patented, so the agreements with Lystek are required.

Because the process creates a Class A biosolid, it can be registered as a fertilizer with the federal government. That removes restrictions for land applications that are associated with Class B biosolids, and there are no longer such things as setback requirements for wells, water courses and property lines.

Furlong said the sewage system is now “over designed” by 1,000 cubic metres, giving the township some extra storage space if other municipalities need to rent it.

Councillor Walt Visser asked if it would be able to handle septage - waste brought it from septic tanks.

Furlong said it is not, and that is tough to handle because of odour problems and complaints. She said that is “best to happen in Fergus” because that area has a better flow into the river.

In answer to a number of questions about financing, Furlong said the annual operating costs paid to Lystek would be $17,500 per year, but the savings to the township would be $53,000 a year compared to current costs.

Elder told council Centre Wellington has been sending waste to the storage lagoon since 2004 when the province set tough limits on the application of biosolids on land at four months per year when it cannot run off into rivers.

Furlong said the proposal is to pre-qualify construction companies to do the work so, “You’ll get a good contractor.”

She said any major delay would likely come if the MOE is slow in giving the project approval, as well as meeting Grand River Conservation Authority approvals.

“We’re hoping to put a shovel in the ground in April or May,” she said.

She said the township is protected by a Lystek bond, “if the process doesn’t work.”

Councillor Steve Van Leeuween asked how many different sewage treatment process were considered.

Furlong said Triton and township staff considered a large number of them, but were limited because they had to meet the standards and processes used in the Elora plant The Fergus plant operates on a different process.

She said they also “looked at biosolids that was marketable” and was also safe and easy for farmers to use.

She said Lystek “answered those questions.”

Councillor Mary Lloyd asked about financing.

Furlong explained the township received a $1 million grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, a very low interest low of $14.6 million from that same source, and it can also bill development charges to the costs. There was also a $900,000 infrastructure grant.

Elder said he is confident “Lystek will make the system work.

The committee of the whole voted unanimously in support of the proposal. That vote will have to be ratified by the formal council meeting before it becomes official. Councillor Kirk McElwain was absent.

January 20, 2012


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