Tough bylaw coming down the pipe

South Dundas council is still mulling over what they know is a tough bylaw.

The draft sewer use bylaw, is once again undergoing revisions before it is finalized, taken to the public and approved by council.

South Dundas council held a special meeting January 7, at the South Dundas Municipal Centre in Morrisburg, to review the latest draft document.

“We need to be reasonable with this tough bylaw,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds, adding that good public education over this issue will amount to better public acceptance and compliance.

The implementation of a sewer use bylaw is the next logical step to ensure that the public investment of millions of dollars of funding channelled into improving waste water infrastructure in South Dundas is protected. 

Like any sewer use bylaw, the aim is to eliminate all  water not originating from the municipal water supply from the sanitary sewer system. That includes roof leader connections and foundation drain (sump pump) connections.

Most taxing to the system is the extraneous inflow that results at both the Morrisburg and Iroquois waste water treatment plants during big rain events. 

The sudden spike in flow data indicates that rain water, especially rooftop rain water, is being drained into the sanitary sewer system, according to experts. 

Each time this happens, the plants come dangerously close to exceeding capacity. Should either plant ever exceed capacity the municipality  would have to answer to environmental officials and could face potential fines or work orders to construct costly holding tanks to keep the sewage from pouring into the St. Lawrence River.

“This will result in a savings in the long run,” said Mayor Byvelds.

With this bylaw, South Dundas officials hope to address much of the root cause of this extraneous flow.

Municipal officials know the corporation is contributing to the extraneous flow, through the existence of some combined sanitary and storm sewers. 

Todd Grant, of AECOM, the consulting company working on the sewer use bylaw, said, “You have them, and are trying to get rid of them. We need to pinpoint the locations of all of those and find an alternate way to drain the water.”

The comprehensive bylaw sets out rules and regulations, applicable to both commercial and residential connections. 

It spells out requirements for commercial food-related grease interceptors and sediment interceptors. It too prohibits any food grinder, commercial or residential from being connected to the sewer system. 

The bylaw also sets out deadlines, yet to be finalized, likely towards the end of 2015, for all existing illegal drain connections to be disconnected from the sanitary sewer system.

The bylaw gives The Municipality of South Dundas the authority to carry out inspections to enforce the bylaw and to slap offenders with large fines. Although South Dundas will gain that authority, council does not see door-to-door inspections and fines as a first step achieving compliance. 

“We need to take baby steps with this,” said Byvelds, and council agreed.

Public education, surveys and keying in on addressing the large problem areas are what council sees as first steps once this bylaw is enacted. 

The bylaw will be finalized and go to council after a public consultation process. 

It will apply to all of South Dundas’ sewer connections, including the Morrisburg, Iroquois and Williamsburg sewer systems.

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