Water Canada: Wastewater Effluent Regs and FCM reaction

(Via: Water Canada) Feds Implement Wastewater Effluent Regs 
Posted on July 18, 2012

After over three years of discussion, including very public feedback the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, the federal government has announced that it will finally implement the national Wastewater System Effluent Regulations.

“We want water that is clean, safe, and plentiful for future generations of Canadians to enjoy,” said Minister of Environment Peter Kent this morning in Delta, British Columbia. “Through these regulations, we are addressing one of the largest sources of pollution in our waters. We’ve set the country’s first national standards for sewage treatment. These standards will reduce the levels of harmful substances deposited to surface water from wastewater systems in Canada.”

The feds worked with provinces and territories, and also engaged municipalities, to finalize these regulations. According to a release, it is expected that about 75 per cent of existing wastewater systems already meet the minimum secondary wastewater treatment standards in the regulations. Communities and municipalities that meet the standards will not need to make upgrades to their systems. The other 25 per cent will have to upgrade to at least secondary wastewater treatment.

For the wastewater systems that do not meet the new standards, the release assures that there will be time for municipalities to plan and budget funds to complete the upgrades. Wastewater systems posing a high risk must meet the new standards by the end of 2020; those posing medium risk by the end of 2030; and those with low risk by the end of 2040. Owners and operators of the systems will also need to consistently monitor and submit reports on their effluent releases.

(Via: Water Canada) FCM Wants Long-Term Plan for Wastewater Upgrade Funds
Posted on July 19, 2012

Meeting the new federal wastewater regulations is an important national project that requires a national funding plan supported by all orders of government, according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The organization issued a press release in response to yesterday’s announcement from the federal government.

“The federal government reached out and worked with our communities when it wrote these regulations, and now it needs to keep working with our communities to make sure we can pay for them,” said FCM’s president, Karen Leibovici, in the release. “We need a national funding plan so we can protect the environment and municipal property taxpayers.”

Municipalities have said that funding for the new regulations must be added to the federal government’s new Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP) to pay for the once-in-a generation costs of meeting the new requirements. The new costs are above and beyond what municipalities already need to maintain and expand core infrastructure, says FCM. The LTIP is being developed by Infrastructure Canada and will be in place before current federal funding programs expire in 2014.

“The new Long-Term Infrastructure Plan gives governments the chance to work out exactly what the regulations will cost and how to pay for them” said Leibovici. “At the same time, the regulations give us a new model for taking stock of other infrastructure needs and setting clear goals to meet them, whether it’s roads, bridges, drinking water, or public transit.”

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