Monday, February 26, 2024

Concern About Sewage

Dear Editor,

Both a recent chance remark ruing “the loss of the old Canadian cottage experience” some had in their childhood, and the wake-up call about 300 permanent homes …” below our proposed power plant reservoir, struck a chord with me. Summer holiday cottages of the 1950s with no running water have been transformed into year-round, often larger, permanent homes. These beach houses still occupy the original shoreline lots and use sewage systems built for an earlier era (i.e., anaerobic septic tank with raised or in-ground aerobic leach field).

Septic tanks discharge hazardous sewage directly into the natural environment with no sampling or effluent quality requirements, so ammonium and reactive phosphorus nutrients along with E. coli and other microbes can readily find their way into Georgian Bay. Adequate aerobic treatment is a concern where leach fields are on clay or high-water table, or in close proximity to the shoreline, which is the situation of many houses on Kiowana Beach and Christie Beach. (More detail for the interested reader is on page 10 of: www.foca.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/FOCA_LS_Newsletter_SPRING_2011_FINAL_lowres.pdf.)

Unseen, out-of-mind pollution is unwelcome, especially as water quality of the Bay is high on our radar. Meaford has an excellent sewage treatment plant, though with no phosphorus limits as does Thornbury, Owen Sound, and Wiarton. With much new development in the offing and with the public health need to sewer the permanent beach houses, Meaford could also adopt phosphorus removal into any upgrades to handle higher flows.

There are reliable small diameter pressure sewer systems that can distribute sewage from the beach houses to the plant in Meaford. These homeowners would benefit from no further septic tank pump-outs and no potential breakouts of sewage in their yards. Their useable property is effectively enlarged when the leach field is no longer needed. The uncontrolled sewage contamination of our Georgian Bay is also stopped. A big win-win.

The cost of this environmental renovation is not inconsiderable with the length of shoreline, but with Kiowana and Christie Beach residents fully behind preserving Georgian Bay, and with the added property value it provides, this improved protection of public health will surely be a winner.

Craig Jowett, Meaford

 

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