Inverness County is gathering information as it looks to replace a nearly 50-year-old sewage treatment plant.
Constructed in 1973 and later upgraded in 2014, the malfunctioning plant currently serves roughly 1,500 connections within the village, including its hospital.
On particularly bad days last summer some local establishments shut their doors due to foul odors throughout the community.
Unsupervised portions of Inverness beach were closed as a result of rising bacteria levels believed to be associated with the plant on Lower Railway Street.
Inverness CAO Keith MacDonald said Wednesday that the municipality has issued a request for proposals related to both a system assessment and pre-design work for a new facility.
The construction project ultimately hinges on funding from higher levels of government.
“The municipality will be reaching out to both provincial and federal partners with that information in the hopes that the project will be approved,” MacDonald said.
“We’ll be working with partners and the community over the next number of months to establish a firm go-forward for the replacement of that existing wastewater treatment facility.”
MacDonald said the municipality is also making ongoing repairs and improvements to the current treatment facility in hope of reducing the stink.
Last January, an application was made to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program on behalf of two wastewater facilities located in Inverness County.
A new wastewater plant for Whycocomagh and Waycobah was given the green light by Ottawa as its design and other components were already complete.
Unexpectedly, the situation in Inverness drew headlines as the stench caused concerns over its potential impact on a bustling tourism industry there.
The two plants are expected to cost about $6 million each.
Nova Scotia government spokesperson Krista Higdon said the province has already approved funding for Inverness under the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s capital assistance program.
“We recognize the need for upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility in Inverness and, together with the municipality, are looking at options once the pre-design is complete,” Higdon said.
West Nova MP Chris d’Entremont asked a question earlier this week in the House of Commons regarding Ottawa’s financial commitment to the Inverness project.
Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna said the federal government has not received an application, adding that projects must be prioritized by the province before they are submitted for funding consideration.