BARRY’S BAY – Although the newly installed septage receiving station is not currently operating, Madawaska Valley residents on septic should pay for the capital costs of the unit.
That was the consensus at the water, wastewater and waste management committee meeting on November 20.
Committee members received a package at that meeting outlining the history of the wastewater system, including when the decision was made to add the septage unit to the facility.
Council of the day added the unit during the renovation of the plant. At the time, the province was considering implementing a policy, which would mandate septage be processed in the receiving unit rather than spread on a field.
While current Mayor David Shulist called previous council progressive for preparing for this, the policy did not in fact happen.
“One of the things that the minister’s office said is they are not ready to pass a bill because there are not enough systems out there to take the volume,” Shulist explained. “Right now, they can put their septage out in the field. I think the cheapest way to do it, that’s the way [residents] are going to go. If someone tells me I can pump my system out for $200 and it goes out in the field, then all of a sudden someone says it’s going to cost $350 … I am going to pay $200.”
This means while the septage receiving unit could be fully operational, it is not being used to date.
“At the end of the day, we have a septage unit that is not being used, probably never will be used and who pays for it?” Bob Kulas said. “I would assume it falls back on the users of the plant, unfortunately.”
The unit itself cost $127,598 and was paid 90 per cent by the provincial and federal governments. The remaining 10 per cent would come, ultimately, from the taxpayers.
“The people that use it must pay,” Shulist said. “Only the people that it was built for should be paying, the way I’m seeing it. I don’t see it any other way.”
Carl Bromwich asked if council has ever approached the Ontario government, asking for help in paying for the unit.
“We are going to stick everybody with a bill for a septage unit that’s not going to be used,” Bromwich said.
Shulist reiterated that Madawaska Valley is in a similar situation as Mississippi Mills. Both townships planned for the policy and then were both told that the province has no plans to implement it yet.
“To me, right now, it’s something we need to decide on who is going to pay here because I don’t think the Ontario government is going to make any decision like that whatsoever,” Shulist said.
Linda Neuman said it is up to the users, even though the unit is not being used to date, to pay for it.
Read more in the November 27, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.