The Financial, Social & Environmental Impact of Wastewater Treatment Plants

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As we all know one of the main concerns residents have regarding growth plans for the town is the proposal to build  a waste/sewage water treatment facility for new and current residents. Before a decision is made as to whether or not this proposal should be accepted, residents must be aware of all the possible implications that come with building and implementing these systems.
Flooding is an important consideration when examining environmental sustainability of wastewater treatment facilities. Like any other technology, these facilities suffer malfunctions and mechanical failures. These failures can result in the flooding of land areas surrounding the facility itself, but what is more concerning is what happens to waste-water destined for a facility that has suffered a failure.
In January 2009 the Halifax Wastewater Treatment Facility suffered wastewater flooding damage due to an extended local area power outage, despite the fact that construction of the facility had just been completed in February of 2008. The failure at this facility resulted in waste-water destined for treatment to be re-routed and discharged into the halifax harbour. Halifax is a major Canadian and the facility in question was state of the art and barley over a year old, so it is not impossible for such an event to happen in Erin. If a facility in Erin were to suffer a failure like the one in Halifax where would wastewater be discharged? Into the credit river? The same credit river that such a system is suposed to protect from waste-water and contamination?
A primary health concern caused by these facilities are airborne hazards. Chemicals from wastewater and sewage treatment facilities can become airborne during the treatment process. Studies have shown that bacteria is at its most prevalent in windy and humid conditions. These airborne hazards not only create unpleasant odores but they also pose the risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections for people living in close proximity to the facility.  When the chemicals, bacteria, and other organisms produced in the plant become airborne they risk being inhaled by residents. The effects of inhaling these chemicals and organisms can very depending on a variety of factors, but can include; respiratory infections, eye irritation, depression, central nervous system damage, and possible poisoning.
Construction and implementation of these facilities can also directly impact the finances of homeowners. Not only would construction and hook up of these plants likely add to tax rates, but for those neighbourhoods closest to the facility property prices may see significant depreciation in property values. There are a number of reasons that these plants cause property values to fall, some of these include;
1. Foul Odor – The sewage treatment process is not glamourous, it deals will unpleasant material and understandably so the process of treating this water often sends foul odors into the surrounding area. These odors can hinder interest in nearby properties and cause values to plummet
2. Eyesores – These facilities are often not designed to be easy on the eyes, and many homebuyers find them to be off-putting. As a result the interest from homebuyers in markets near these plants often decreases considerably.
3. Pests – Sewage attracts pets like flies and other bugs and as a result these facilities can be an attracting location for many bugs. These bugs then pose a risk of spreading bacteria and chemicals from the plant further into the community, and can add further health concerns.
In Eastvale California, the foul odor and conditions created by a sewage treatment facility has triggered a lawsuit as it is being argued that the plant has caused housing and property values in the area to plummet as prospective buyers look to other municipalities with more pleasant conditions. These type of problems are the exact reason why many Erin residents are concerned with the proposed construction of this type of facility near ANY existing development.  We propose a minimum of 1.5kms distance from any development.

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