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Erin requests proposals for private water system management

by Olivia Rutt

ERIN - The Town of Erin has sent out a request for proposals (RFP) for the private operation of a water treatment plant and distribution systems.

A document released on Feb. 1 states the objective of the RFP is to obtain cost effective proposals for “maintenance and management of the water systems” owned by the town.

Discussion about privatizing the town’s water management has not yet happened at the council level.

“We’ve talked in the past to council about operating efficiently and effectively, and that’s what we’re trying to do to make sure that we are set up for future growth and operating efficiently and effectively,” said CAO Nathan Hyde in an interview on Feb. 2.

The RFP states the private operator’s responsibilities would include maintaining the drinking water systems and non-residential systems. The company would provide 24/7 operational coverage as well as inspections and maintenance.

Hyde said the town is doing this now to preempt future studies such as the development charges study, asset management plan, water facilities assessments and water rate study.

“We want to be able to bring information to council to prepare for imminent growth that’s going to happen as a result of … wastewater, so we want to make sure that council has all the information available to them,” said Hyde.

Council’s approval to send out the RFP was not needed because “it’s non-committal,” said Hyde.

“Now we’re going to bring information to council so that they can discuss it, otherwise they don’t have information to discuss,” he said.

Hyde didn’t want to hypothesize on what the move could mean for the current in-house water department.

“We’re not at any of those stages yet, so it’s really premature,” he said, calling the process an “information-gathering” exercise.

“We’ll bring all that information forward, outside costs, inside costs ... and council can have a full, open, public debate about it and get a sense of where we’re at today and it’s preparing for the needs tomorrow, too.”

The RFP deadline is Feb. 22. Recommendations will be provided to council in April.

February 9, 2018


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