It’s about flushing cash into the right areas, a District of Squamish official says.
The municipality is embarking on its first liquid waste management plan (LWMP), a document that will guide the district’s growth and spending on its sanitary and urban runoff needs for the next 20 years, said Jenni Chancey, the district’s director of municipal infrastructure.
The federal and provincial governments set specific standards for treated effluent, but how you reach them is up to local governments, Chancey said. This gives the district an opportunity to tailor its LWMP to fit in with the community and municipal infrastructure, she noted.
“Essentially, we are laying out a road map,” Chancey told The Chief at an open house on the plan last Wednesday (Feb. 6).
In May 2012, a municipal staff advisory committee — consisting of stakeholders such as the Ministry of Environment, Squamish River Watershed Society and Vancouver Coastal Health — was created to help define the wastewater system’s current issues. The open house’s objective was to collect public concerns regarding wastewater management and treatment and urban runoff.
“Right now we are identifying the challenges,” Chancey said, noting that district officials are at Stage 1 of liquid-waste management planning.
After identifying issues, officials will then examine future infrastructure needs and treatment options, including some of the looming “big ticket items,” she said.
Squamish’s sanitary collection system consists of 105 mains and 7,000 service connections. The Downtown Sanitary Servicing Options Study estimates $7.9 million worth of work is required to accommodate future growth in southern Squamish. Municipal officials estimate the sewage plant itself will require approximately $38 million in upgrades over the next 20 years.