No progress on Stratford sludge talks

Dave Stewart
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Pumping sludge from Stratford to Charlottetown plant hasn't moved past general discussion stage

The Town of Stratford's sewage treatment lagoon

While general talks continue, Charlottetown and Stratford are no closer to an agreement on sludge.

One of the options that has been considered the past few years when it comes to Stratford's sewage lagoon has been to pump it over to the waste water treatment plant on Riverside Drive in Charlottetown.

However, two years ago estimates tabbed such a project at approximately $12 million.

Charlottetown Coun. Mitchell Tweel asked for an update on talks at a recent public meeting of council. He asked if the city had any preliminary figures on what it could cost to hook Stratford into the plant.

Coun. Randy Cooper, chairman of finance and technology in Stratford, said the lagoon is the biggest issue facing the utility.

"The largest issue facing the utility continues to be the upgrade of the sewer treatment plant which is consistently not performing to the required standard,'' Cooper said.

Money for a new treatment plant is a long way off, the town says.

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said the issue of linking the town into the treatment plant is a question of money on both sides of the historic Hillsborough River.

"Is the current treatment plant in Charlottetown large enough to handle the capacity from the Town of Stratford? If it's not, what is the town prepared to do in order to invest in that plant to enlarge the capacity,'' Lee said Thursday.

The mayor said maybe this issue is enough incentive to kick off talks about a regional water and sewer commission. He isn't advocating amalgamation, for what that's worth.

A consultant's report said the existing lagoon could benefit from new technology in the meantime, while a long-range plan continued to be developed.

Cooper said town staff are still assessing if that will really work but $1.5 million is in the utility budget for the technology if it is deemed to work.

"We will continue to work on a longer term option to replace the existing lagoon system, but this will allow us to operate the existing plant in compliance with the effluent requirements and allow new subdivisions to continue to be serviced,'' Cooper said.

Sludge cleaning was estimated to cost $160,000 last October. Sludge removal is a regular activity that is done every four to six years based on yearly measurements. A consultant recommended sludge be removed last year to increase capacity, which would increase sewage aeration and reduce bad odours.

Besides pumping sewage over to Charlottetown, Stratford's options include building a treatment plant and relocating the lagoon system to a bigger, different location.

Lee said talks between the municipalities could prove beneficial.

"I would be very surprised at the end of the day with the money that Stratford is going to have to spend to deal with their problem that it would not be beneficial to both municipalities to try and come together and come up with something that works for both of us,'' Lee said.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Geographic location: Stratford, Charlottetown, Hillsborough River

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Recent comments

  • johnthames
    February 28, 2014 - 08:58

    If amalgamation is to occur, it should be done under the open, fair, transparent and accountable model developed at the Town of Stratford, not the closed, patronage-driven, opaque and unaccountable model currently in place at the City of Charlottetown. Amalgamation may be a good idea over time, but not if we simply get a larger City of Charlottetown and its inappropriate political culture.

  • jayzee
    February 27, 2014 - 22:29

    Just amalgamate this region. One municipality from New Haven to Pownal to Stanhope.

  • Imagine That
    February 27, 2014 - 18:13

    Something smells