| Nov 06, 2008

Nov 6/08 - SF Council

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Feature Article - November 6, 2008 Sydenham Water Plant Faces Potential $1.4 million UpgradeBy Wilma Kenny

Only days after Sydenham residents paid their portion of the capital costs for the village water treatment plant, a bill that averaged $5.000 per household excluding hook-up and internal plumbing changes, Council learned they were facing additional costs up to $1,420,000 for improvements to the plant necessary to bring the village water up to Provincial drinking water standards.

When chlorine is used for disinfection, it combines with organic substances to form disinfectant byproducts, primarily triahalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids.

Plant manager Kevin Riley, of Utilities Kingston, reported that total THM results in Sydenham have "routinely been detected at levels greater than 100 Fg/L (micrograms per litre), which is the current maximum acceptable concentration." To further complicate matters, Health Canada is expected to lower this limit to 80 F/L, in line with the US standard.

Del Stowe led off the Council reaction by asking why the MOE had approved the present system.

"That’s why you have experts,” he said “this plant is only three years old. I’m at a loss for words."

Councilor David Hahne said "You buy a new car, it comes with a warranty. Why doesn’t this system work? What did we get for our money?"

"I’m really cheesed, said Deputy Mayor Bill Robinson. “We paid a lot of money, and I don’t think we got a lot of bang for our buck."

Utilities Kingston has consulted XCG Environmental Engineers, and Cameron Smith of XCG presented his report. Early trials showed that byproducts of disinfection were formed relatively quickly, and so the problem did not appear to result from low use of the water system, as had been suspected.

Two alternative solutions were proposed.

1) Use of granular activated carbon to remove organic matter prior to chlorination. This has the additional benefit of removing taste and odour, or 2) A combination of ultraviolet irradiation and chloramination, which although less expensive ($.6 million), would be "apt to lead to public awareness/concern related to the addition of ammonia to the drinking water," according to Smith.

As well, this process has potential for nitrate formation (one of the problems the water system was originally intended to address.) XCG recommends that the granular activated carbon (option 1) be the preferred treatment alternative.

On the day of Council meeting, No. 4, Ministry of he Environment (MoE) representatives said that in combination with the proposed carbon pilot test, additional coagulation/flocculation jar testing should be done.

CAO Gord Burns said he and the Mayor had met with the Minister, and had been told the THM problem had to be solved.

"Time is of the essence," agreed Plant Manager Riley.

Councilor Ron Vandewal said "I don’t like what’s happened, but the reality is we have to do something about it."

Councillor Hahn argued that there must be a public information meeting, once the pilot study is complete. Mayor Davison agreed, "We must be open and transparent," adding, ‘we’re just trying to be a little low-key at the front end here."

As for funding, gord Burns said the province’s 5-year grant of $20,000/year would cover the $50,000 cost of the pilot study, and application was in process for a Build Canada grant: both the MoE and Public Health had written letters of support. Council agreed to proceed with the pilot study. (Neither Councilors York nor Fillion were present for this meeting.)

CAO Search Committee

CAO Burns is retiring August 09. Mayor Davison, Deputy Mayor Robinson and Councillors York and Stowe will form a search committee for a new CAO with the assistance of William Winegard.

Sydenham Triathlon, 2009

Council expressed interest in a proposal for a one-day race event to be held July 5 in Sydenham. It would include swimming, running and bicycling at a range of levels, all the way from Olympic to a children’s one-km run. The village has nearly ideal conditions for such an event.

Restarting the Clock on Severances

Council plans to vote on this issue at their December 2nd meeting.

Sydenham Library Expansion Committee

Council approved a budget of $15,000 for a topographical survey, soils investigation and architect fees to include analysis of the resulting information and siting of the proposed building.

Coyote Predation

Coyote kills were high this month: four sheep, a goat and a calf, at a total of four different locations in the Township.

Santa Claus Parades

Sydenham’s parade will be 10 am November 29, and Harrowsmith’s will be the same time the following week: Dec 6.

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