As of January 1, 2013, section 19 of the Safe Drinking Water Act extends legal responsibility to the people with decision making authority over municipal drinking water systems, including municipal councillors.
That has prompted South Dundas to undertake a thorough review of the provision of water and wastewater services, and to make a change.
The report was presented to South Dundas council at the December 18 meeting.
Currently, South Dundas contracts the operation, maintenance and management of its water and sewer systems to a third party contractor – Caneau Water and Sewer Operations Inc.
When that contract expires in June, South Dundas will take over direct management of the services and provide these services in house.
“The bottom line here is we have to have properly trained personnel in our plants to ensure the safety of our drinking water,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan.
“I like the idea of eliminating a level of bureaucracy because come January 1st, it’s our asses on the line, so it would be nice to be hands on with the goings on of our plants.”
Although South Dundas mayor Byvleds did not approve of the expression used by Mellan, he did say, “Councillor Mellan is correct.”
Byvelds said it is time for South Dundas to bring the operation of the water and sewer plants in house. “We have the opportunity to bring this in house, and get the accountability where it needs to be. There have been challenges with upper management that we wouldn’t have to deal with.”
In bringing plant operations in house a staffing model of four certified operators and an operator in training is proposed.
Even with the creation of the new positions and the purchase of vehicles and equipment, the municipality expects to be able to operate the plants, in house, for less than the roughly $400,000 paid out to Caneau annually.