© Guardian photo
The Town of Stratford's sewage treatment lagoon
Stratford is going to suck muck this fall as it deals both in the short and long term with its sewage treatment system.
The monthly meeting of council heard Wednesday that a consultant's report on the lagoon recommended removing sludge this year from the two watery cells that make up the treatment lagoon. That work is expected to begin soon.
Councillor Emile Gallant, chair of Stratford's infrastructure committee told council that this year's utility repair and maintenance budget is $119,000 but the sludge cleaning is estimated to cost up to $160,000.
He asked for and received an increase the Stratford Utilities maintenance budget to $279,900 for 2013.
"The removal of the sludge will improve the treatment process and will reduce the risk of odour during the spring turn over," said Gallant.
He said that sludge removal is a regular activity that is done every four to six years based on yearly measurements. The consultant hired to look at the short-term demands and maintenance of the Stratford sewage system recommended the sludge be removed this year to increase capacity, which increases sewage aeration and will reduce odour next spring.
New this year will be the handling of the sludge once it is removed. In the past it was spread fully wet on a farm field.
Now it will drain in a plastic fabric tube known as a geotextile de-watering tube and then be spread next year in a drier format.
Gallant also wants a report on the long-term options for sewage in Stratford.
"We want to have, in four to six months at the most, all the options identified, studied, and cost out to present to the public," said Gallant. "This is looking at what we have to do to handle sewage for the next 25 to 50 years as Stratford grows and develops."
Options could be building a treatment plant, relocating the lagoon system to a bigger, different location or hooking into Charlottetown's system.
"We need to have those decisions made because it's a two to three year process to get everything in place," said Gallant. "We need to make the decision as soon as we can so that we can start going to find the resources to do it."