Winter is back this morning, but we missed the freezing rain. Public Works is busy clearing the streets and sidewalks and the Counties have done several sweeps of their roads with plows and sand/salt.
Emergency Survival Kit
This is the second “freezing rain” event in the past two weeks. Do you have a plan and emergency survival kit to take care of yourself and family for at least 72 hours immediately following an emergency?
Here is the Emergency Management Ontario link that covers how to be prepared. https://www.emergencymanagementontario.ca/english/beprepared/Step1MakeAPlan/Step1_make_a_plan.html
Sump Pump Connections
The heavy rain these past few days has resulted in wet basements and, consequently, sump pumps are working hard. Please remember that it is illegal to connect your sump pump to the waste water system.
Council continues to have concerns about the number of properties discharging clean sump pump water to the waste water lagoons. Every person who disconnects a sump pump from the sewer pipes becomes part of the Village solution, instead of the problem. As I walk in the Village, I note that several properties have disconnected from the sewer system over the past couple of years. On behalf of Council and Staff, thank you for working with us to reduce the exponential amount of clean water being sent to the waste water lagoons.
However, there are still property owners that are not in compliance with the by-law. Research indicates that 10 sump pumps connected to the waste water pipes is equal to the normal household discharge of 300 homes. The pipes were all examined in 2018 & 2019 and are in good condition without leaks.
Members of Council visited every residence in late 2019 and conducted a survey regarding downspout and sump pump connections. Council approved the purchase of a flow meter, which has been installed in the sewer pipes. It will measure unusually high flows for a limited number of properties. Over the next few months, Public Works will be following up with property owners in these areas. Property owners with sump pumps still connected to the sewer pipes are encouraged to make the necessary changes.
Please check your sump pump connection to-day and if you have any questions, contact Mr Peter Evans, Supervisor of Public Works @ 613-273-2191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
That is the number of litres of water from illegal sump pumps that went into the sewer system. That is the amount of rain water that people sent to the waste water plant for treatment. That is equal to three times the number of services in the Village. And these wasteful 3,191,000 litres represent the sewage capacity two new subdivisions need to get approval to build. These are the facts.
Council is asking every home and business owner to check the connection of your sump pump to ensure that it is NOT discharging into the sewer system. Help your neighbours as well if you can. If you have questions, please contact our public works department who will quickly respond to provide you with support.
I have heard it said “I pay my taxes, I am entitled to discharge my sump into the sewer system”. One has nothing to do with the other. Water/waste water are paid by the users, not by property taxes. We want to have growth in the Village that will REDUCE BOTH our water/waste water bills AND our taxes.
It has also been said, “I am just one household, how big an impact could I have?”. The industry standard states that the volume from 1 sump pump is the same as 35 households. So even ONE illegal connection is too many.
In the next couple of weeks, members of Council will be following up with residents and business owners to discuss illegal connections to the sewage system. I encourage you to check your sump pump connection today and ensure that it is not an illegal connection. Council is providing a $250 grant to assist in converting illegal connections. Contact Town Hall for details.
The last thing Town Hall wants is charges to be laid for illegal connections. The fine is $500 for a first offence and $2000 for subsequent offences. None of us want to see our residents or business owners pay that amount of a fine, which would go a long way to correcting an illegal connection. However, it has been made very clear to Council that the vast majority of people in the Village want this issue resolved, illegal connections stopped, paving the way for new development. Again, I encourage you to check your connections to confirm that it complies with the law.
Please call anytime if you wish to discuss. 9195.
It’s time to check your sump pump!!
The sewer system in Westport was examined by CCTV in 2018 and found to have no breaks. Good news! The majority of the openings into the sewers from the street have been repaired in 2018, only a few remain for 2019. Also good news!
A sewer system is a closed system – responsible to transport sewage. The government has licensed the Village for a maximum amount of volume to be processed, which averages 350 m3/day. The amount of water drawn from the water tower should equal the amount of sewage pumped at the Glen St station. Earlier this week 186 m3 was drawn from the water tower and 705 m3 was pumped at the Glen St station. And the flows each day show similar results.
The cause? Illegal connections – ie discharging your sump pump directly into the sewer system.
This is not a just a concern for the municipal government, it is or should be a serious concern of every resident. Our new waste water system has enough capacity for an additional 350-400 homes, when processing only sewage. Seriously!! The future and sustainability of the Village depends on reducing the illegal connections. Simply put, to increase our tax base through development, we need to work together to solve this issue and provide sewage capacity for new construction.
To that end, the Village has recently increased the fines for illegal connections. A first offence has been raised to $500 and any subsequent offence is now $2000. Yes, Village Council is taking this matter seriously. The industry standard states the discharge from 1 sump pump is equal to the combined usage of 35 homes. That is a lot of rain water being sent to through the sewage system.
What can you do?
- if you are not discharging your sump pump outside on your property, you likely have an illegal connection
- the Village is offering a $250 grant to help reduce the cost of converting illegal connections
- ask your neighbours “Where does your sump pump dump? Getting this matter resolved is important for all of us and who better to influence neighbours to convert illegal connections than you?
Happy to discuss these concerns. Call anytime – 273-9195
If you are wondering when spring will arrive, head out any morning before 7:00 and listen to the choirs – of the birds – calling to each other and singing the songs of spring! It is wonderful. The weather will catch up eventually as will the spring flowers.
We are waiting for details of the Federal government’s announcement concerning grants for infrastructure and, specifically, for waste water treatment plants (WWTP). In order to be eligible, we continue down the path to be “shovel ready” for this construction season. The Request For Proposal for the detailed drawings for the new approved waste water treatment system closed a couple of weeks ago and a technical team has been reviewing the offers. Their recommendation is on the Agenda for Monday night’s Council meeting. I am hopeful that by early May all MOECC and Council approvals will be in place. We will keep you informed as we learn more from the government of Canada.
Recently, Councillors and I spent time going door to door in some areas of the Village, speaking to community members about the high volume of clean water that is still being sent to the WWTP due to illegal sump pumps. An information package was provided to help people understand the profound expense to the rate payers of even one illegal sump pump. Additionally, Council was offering a grant of up to $500 to convert to a legal sump pump. As I walk my girls, I have noted that several houses are now pumping their sump pump externally into their yards. Thank you to everyone who has made their sump pump compliant with the by-law and eased some of the pressure at the lagoons. And yes, we did have one resident take advantage of the grant.
Some interesting items on the Agenda for Monday’s Council meeting were discussed at the last Committee of the Whole (CoW). Municipal by-law enforcement and changing the from garbage bags to tags for the large bags are two of them. You may wonder why items get discussed twice. The intention of CoW is for Councillors to discuss issues for the first time & that they are satisfied that they have enough information and to provide on-going updates from Committees of Council. On several occasions, more information is required from staff before the matter is ready to be considered and passed at a Council meeting. When no other information is required, the CoW passes a resolution recommending the item be approved at the next Council meeting. Depending on the item, it may be dealt with as part of the “Consent Agenda” portion of Council where several items are lumped together with one motion or it may be dealt with separately – either due to the nature of the issue or at the request of a member of Council. Both Council and CoW meetings are open to the public. Council meetings are held on the first Monday night of the first full week of the month and Committee of the Whole meetings follow two weeks later on the Monday night.
And still on the topic of spring, the 2nd Annual Town Spring Clean Up Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 14th – so circle the date on your calendar. We will meet at Town Hall at 09:00 where there will be coffee and snacks. You can come with a team of people or alone and join some other volunteers. Please bring your rakes and brooms and wear a bright coloured shirt. Garbage bags will be provided and assignments given to the work teams. A noon Bar-B-Q at the spring will finish the day off – with much appreciation from myself and Council, and of course from those who live, work and play in the ‘Port. Reminders will be coming closer to the day.
Since I began this update talking about choirs, I am going to end it on the same note. Westport has its own, new Community Choir. Some Kind of Choir will be giving its first concert on Saturday, April 30 @ 7:00 p.m. at the North Crosby Hall. The quality and experience of many of the singers who have joined this new initiative of the Westport Arts Council has ensured that the music is beautiful, the four-part harmonies are on pitch and those involved are having a great deal of fun. The Rideau District High School Jazz Band is joining the choir on the 30th and all proceeds at the door and for refreshments are going to the band to help repair/replace instruments. That might be another date to circle on your calendar.
If you have any questions about the ongoing issues at Town Hall or something that is a concern of yours, please contact the Councillor of your choice or me.