By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The community’s sewer and wastewater system may be up to date with capacity for a population of 30,000, but the bylaw that governs what can and cannot go into that system was first put in place when Trudeau was prime minister.
Morinville Town Council gave first reading May 22 to a Source Control Bylaw that will update the existing regulations in keeping with new regulations, including the Quality of Wastewater Bylaw put out by the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission’s (ACRWC) and other Alberta Environment regulations.
Claude Valcourt, Morinville’s Director of Public Works, told Council the new draft bylaw was developed specifically for Morinville with the assistance of the ACRWC. It was reviewed as part of a regional standard followed by the 13 municipalities forming the Wastewater Commission’s membership. Additionally, the document was put through an internal review of public works staff, Town of Morinville administration members and representatives from AECOM, a company that provides municipalities with technical support on infrastructure.
“We’re breaking ground there,” Valcourt said of the draft Source Control Bylaw, adding Morinville is the first regional residential municipality to adopt a bylaw of this kind.
The public works director said the idea is to have a common bylaw throughout the region so that commercial and residential customers are dealt with in a consistent manner.
Hefty fines for violations
The proposed bylaw carries some harsh financial penalties for those who mishandle wastewater or the community’s sewage system. The release of hazardous waste to storm sewer or watercourse carries with it a proposed $5,000 fine for a first offence, $10,000 for a subsequent infraction. Hazardous waste deposited into a sanitary sewer carries with it a proposed $4,000 fine, $8,000 for a subsequent offense.
Valcourt said he looked at other municipalities to see what they were doing in terms of fines. “If anything, we are a bit lower on that scale,” he said. “We’re trying to be consistent with our neighbours.”
The proposed bylaw also safeguards the community in that it allows fines imposed on Morinville by the ACRWC to be redirected to those who caused the polluting of the system. That cost recovery would include any administrative fees.
If the bylaw is passed, education on the new bylaw will be provided through the Town website, pamphlets, and advertisements in the local papers. An inspection program would also be developed.