Emo to start water, sewer project
Thanks to funding to the tune of $2 million from the provincial government, the Township of Emo will be moving forward with improvements to its water and wastewater systems.
Couns. Ken Fisher and Anthony Leek, along with administrative staff, were on hand in Kenora on Thursday for the announcement made by Glen Murray, Ontario’s Minister responsible for roads and bridges.
“It allows us to be able to move ahead with more of the project,” he continued. “The $2 million will allow us to do phase one and two at the same time, so it is a huge help because it is very urgent for us to be able to provide these standards.”
While the funding won’t cover the total cost of the planned upgrade, which is close to $6 million, it was the maximum amount of funding available.
“There is money coming from reserves from the township to help pay for the project,” he explained. “But that $2 million goes a long way. It’s very supportive of getting us through that project throughout the next eight to 10 months.”
Leek indicated council discovered that the town’s distribution line was in need of replacing.
“The system that was set up 40 some odd years ago just isn’t meeting the needs of today’s citizens because the old iron ductile line,” he explained. “It used to be a six-inch line and now it’s a three-inch line because of the rust inside the lines.
“And we noticed with the amount of dead ends we had, with water hitting dead ends, we are not having a consistent flow throughout the town,” he added. “We also found there are some serious safety concerns and issues that need to be attended to.”
So the first phase of the project will be replacing the distribution line, while upgrades to the water treatment plant and expansion of the current lagoon system, is the second phase.
“In order to maintain the standard we are providing in the town, and hopefully providing better pressures and better flows for any future expansion and for current housing, . . . we’re really been able to approach the project by getting to the core of the issue,” Leek said.
He explained the plan is to put a trunk through the centre on Queen Street and getting it up to the top of the hill.
“Basically creating a central nervous system of how water is going to flow on the east and west side of the urban area of the town,” he noted. “That’s a significant cost, but council set that as the priority.”
The tender was awarded to _____ at last night’s council meeting.
The goal is to start construction in September, with the process taking several months leading into winter.
During the water months, they hope to do the upgrades to the water treatment plant, which is a little less than a $1 million project.
“That involves new variable speed pumps, new electrical upgrades, and get us to a more upgrade state where the treatment plant is able to produce water more effectively and efficiently,” Leek voiced.
The third phase of the project, which will happen once they have enough money, will be to loop both the east side and the west side water lines that are both currently dead ends.
“Looping will help enhance the whole thing,” he expressed. “We’re phasing in what we can and what we can afford to do now.
“We don’t want to things to continue to fall apart,” Leek continued. “We want to ensure people have water flowing out of their showers and sinks.”
He added doing these improvements is a great advantage to help provide potential expansion, and just higher use in terms of more homes and businesses.
“But at the end of the day this needs to get done,” he stressed.
During the construction, council hopes to minimize the closure of roads or interruptions to the water service as best as possible.
“We’re going to try to keep the roads as open as possible, but we obviously don’t know until we hear from the contractors as to what they have planned, but we would like to see minimum inconvenience to the citizens,” Leek noted.
“Council has worked very diligently and very hard over the last couple years, especially the last year, of bringing the cost down and also at the same time attacking what really needs to be down and that’s a combination of the expansion and getting the water to the places that need it,” he said.
“We knew we had to do this regardless,” he added. “Knowing we’re finally moving ahead with this and being able to do it right is a huge thing for us.”