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Town plans on spending $3 million to upgrade sewer capacity over five years
A preliminary assessment by town staff relating to a long-awaited sewer capacity study for the Town of Osoyoos indicates roughly $3 million will be spent over the next five years to provide major upgrades to the town’s effluent disposal infrastructure.
Another $8.6 million, or the major portion of identified future costs, relate to the development of a new lagoon based on the community’s inability to secure sufficient lands to spray reclaimed water or manage the town’s distribution to maintain sufficient winter storage capacity.
“This would appear to be a distant future problem (20 years from now) because lands and funding have been identified to add more lands and infrastructure to the (effluent) spray system,” said a staff report released last week to members of town council. “Developing more spray distribution sites will enable the town to manage its distribution and manage a working relationship with the Osoyoos Golf Club’s Desert Golf course need for reclaimed water.
“The spray distribution system and storage capacity is closely monitored and additional development will be assigned a capacity figure that must fit within our current winter lagoon storage capacity and our ability to self-manage timely reclaimed water distribution.”
Other recommended capital projects include a new main pump station and gravity lines. The recommended lines will be reviewed and upgraded through developers paying for the needed upgrades at the time of development or general communal lines being upgraded through operational funding.
The study didn’t outline the town’s recently approved projects that have already been or will soon be implemented, which include $2.95 million designated by council to provide upgrades for influent screening ($745,000), Phase 1 of the reclaimed water supply main ($224,000), Phase 2 of the reclaimed water supply main ($344,000), upgraded main booster station ($470,000), Osoyoos airport supply main ($522,000), airport irrigation ($150,000), Desert Park irrigation ($100,000) and Cell 3 aeration system ($400,000).
The town’s 2013 Business and Capital Plans document included a third party capacity assessment of the town’s sewer system, said chief administrative officer Barry Romanko during his presentation to council last week.
A Request for Proposals was developed and council awarded the contract to Kerr Wood Leidal (KWL) Associates, which performed a comprehensive capacity assessment for the town over the past several months.
“Some important questions regarding the current and future elements of the sanitary sewer system has been brought forward from residents, council and staff that are to be answered in this assessment,” said Romanko.
1. Can the existing transmission and treatment system handle the current seasonal loads as well as take on the development currently being constructed?
2. What is the capacity of the system to service further growth of the town?
3. What is the anticipated growth for Osoyoos as well as the surrounding areas within the Osoyoos service area?
4. What improvements in the future are triggered by new developments and growth, inside and outside the town boundary, to connect to the sanitary sewer system?
5. What are the costs of these necessary improvements to the system and how does Osoyoos recover those costs from the developers?
6. What is the “appropriate per equivalent dwelling unit” charge for service to lands outside the municipal boundary?
A summary of the KWL report provides preliminary assessments of their recommendations and observations, said Romanko.
KWL found the existing transmission system does have some deficiencies. These were found to be in one sewer main in the industrial park/airport trunk sewer and in the main lift station.
The study also found the system does have capacity to accommodate anticipated future growth over the next 20 years and there are current upgrades necessary as well as ones that will be triggered in the future depending on the rate of growth.
Growth forecasts are made difficult because Osoyoos is a resort town and there are economic peaks and valleys relating to future development, says the report.
Expansion of the reclaimed water system is addressed in the five-year sewer capital plan with funds identified for additional reclaimed water distribution sites at the airport and Desert Park.
The lands to the south of Osoyoos Secondary School have also been identified as a reclaimed water distribution site.
That site will be available to disperse reclaimed water soon after the current school year ends in the next few weeks.
The report also identifies the option of effluent disposal into Osoyoos Lake, but there has been no discussion or cost relating to this option council has shown no inclination to look at this option under any circumstances during planning.
The total amount for all improvements between now and the next 20 years is estimated at just over $11.6 million, but does not include expansion of the reclaimed water system, which also needs to be completed.
Council voted in favour of passing a resolution to accept the report as information to be used in the current five-year capital and business planning process.
Council also voted to give members of the public ample time to review the report, which can be accessed on the town’s website. Copies are also available at the town office or can be purchased for $35.
Members of the public can submit comments up until July 7 and staff will then prepare an updated report before July 21.