“He who controls the river, controls the growth of Erin.” Bad news, good news.
The SSMP succeeded in misleading the citizens of Erin into thinking that a gravity-fed central sewage treatment plant priced at $65 million with some $32,000 for hook-up per household is the only treatment option available to us. Strategically speaking, it is in the best interest of the developers to have the existing population continue with their septic systems intact. Why you say? Easy. The ability of the West Credit to accept our waste stream from a treatment plant is limited to a specific number of residents serviced. This number is determined by the CVC and the Ministry of Environment in what is called the Assimilative Capacity Study (ACS). If our community rejects a treatment plant and remains on septic systems, developers will construct their own treatment plant(s) and will monopolize our river’s total capacity to absorb their new development(s). Remember every septic system remaining in our village, means an extra new home in their development! It’s been an easy sell up to now for developers to convince residents to keep their septic systems; who can afford the prices quoted for the treatment facilities described in the SSMP? If we do not lay claim now to our river by utilizing its ability to absorb our own population first, we will forego our native rights to the river, forever.
That is the bad news. The good news is there are treatment alternatives to the “old-world” technology being proposed in the SSMP which is significantly less expensive, less intrusive, more effective, odourless and likely at no significant upfront costs to the residents of Erin. How? By negotiating private/public partnerships, currently favoured and funded by our governments, coupled with productive negotiations with developers and the local water industries (Nestle) who would also benefit in the proven technologies now available to treat wastewater in a more efficient collection and communal treatment model. Unknown to most, Canada has become a significant exporter of these technologies the world over (as one example of new technologies, watch the video at www.clearford.com).
Our existing growth plan calls for 6500 people in the village of Erin and Hillsburgh by 2035. The SSMP expected the river to support as many as 13,500, but the final ACS will likely dictate a much lower population, in part because of climate change. One proposed scenario is for an upper limit of 7500. Then, if we all stayed on septic systems, the developer(s) would be in a position to build a treatment plant for 7500 people for their new development. This would increase our total population from 6500 to 14,000 by 2035. Conversely, if we commit now to an affordable treatment facility to service our population to 2035, the developer(s) would technically be limited to adding only 1000 people. There are other factors and population numbers that may change, but you get the point.
We have to think very carefully. Do we want to give up our claim to our river and accept more development by holding on to our septic systems, some of which are failing? We certainly don’t need to invest $65 million in old world technology that would create long-term financial and physical turmoil in our villages. To avoid loosing our river to the developers, and for the benefit of our environment and future generations, we must explore cost effective treatment alternatives to our septic systems. “He who controls the river, controls the growth of Erin” R.Val, Erin. May 10, 2013