The ongoing sewer issue in the South Shore

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Certain properties in the Southshore communities remain unconnected to municipal sewage, several years after the original deadline. M.D. council got yet another update on it at is Feb. 10 meeting.

In some cases, said director of field services Ryan Tuft, it appears people haven’t hooked up because they simply don’t want to. In others, exceptions have been granted due to economic hardship. Other properties, with new, ‘non-failing’ systems that meet codes were allowed to operate for five years. Properties not on municipal water were also granted an exception.

The M.D. sent letters to 25 property owners in 2018. What that accomplished isn’t clear from the report, but it does say “the project stalled out at the end of 2019.”

The end goal, says the report, “is to have all residences along the Southshore sewage lines tied in. It is a matter of public hygiene, environmental protection, and equity amongst citizens.”

The precise number of unconnected properties isn’t known, Tufts said. Another survey may be in order.

Councillor Darcie Acton called the matter, “an ongoing sore point,” with a couple of major aspects.

One of those, she said, is the perception of a high failure rate of the grinder pumps. One person has had to replace the pump five times. They “feel they are victimized by our failure to have a system that works.”

Other people, it was noted, have not had nearly as much trouble with the pumps. Also mentioned were the good results so far with a new type of pump that is gradually being introduced.

The second aspect, Acton continued, is the ongoing “failure to connect,” and the perception that the M.D. is failing to enforce its own bylaws.

Councillor Sandra Melzer chimed in, mentioning that some of the pump failures have to do with things getting into the system that shouldn’t be there. There needs to be an educational effort, she said, so that when the pumps are installed, the owners understand “this is what you cannot do. That’s all.”

Tufts said he’d like to establish “best practices, for installation, operation and maintenance,” for the grinder pumps.

Council accepted the report as information, with the expectation it will be revisited.

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