Oxford County’s 11 sewage collection systems only reported four minor incidents to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in 2016.
According to the county’s annual wastewater treatment plant report, these incidents’ included sewage overflow in Norwich due to faulty measurement equipment, a power outage in Drumbo caused by weather and two instances of a sewer forcemain leak in Ingersoll due to a faulty valve and in Innerkip due to a contractor error.
Manager of environmental services Shahab Shafai said the amount of incidents have decreased when compared to previous years, and the incidents that did occur aren’t very controllable.
“Some of them you can’t really control that much,” he said. “For example, in Ingersoll there was a forcemain leak due to a faulty air release valve… A lot of these they couldn’t really control.
“A lot of the time the chances are that it’s going to happen,” Shafai added. “You just minimize it as much as you can.”
The report also mentions that eight of the nine wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) achieved 100 per cent compliance with their provincial effluent discharge limits. The only outlier was the Drumbo WWTP, which received a 95 per cent compliance rate.
Shafai said the county is currently holding a class environmental assessment to explore possible upgrades or expansion of the plant.
“There are concerns, its approaching capacity,” he said. “We are doing a class environmental assessment… We are right in the middle of that right now. We are going to have a public meeting in a couple of months.”
During this assessment Shafai said that there will be some issues with the limits, adding that’s where the missing five per cent in the Drumbo WWTP’s compliance rate comes from.
Oxford County council will be reviewing the annual wastewater treatment plant report for 2016 at its meeting on Wednesday.