What we learned:
- Erin is expected to triple in size from 4,415 to 14,500 residents creating housing, industrial and commercial area, a school, new roads and a waste water treatment plant.
- Chemically treated effluent from Erin and Hillsburgh is proposed to be discharged into the West Credit River at Winston Churchill – 3 km upstream from Belfountain.
- Treating waste water does not remove endocrine disruptors, estrogen-based compounds, salt from roads, medications, biotoxins, micro-plastics from laundry, salt loads/ammonia from water softeners tied to household sewage.
- The WCR cold-water native trout fishery, habitat and health of our river will collapse.
- Residents use water from the West Credit as source water for their household
What you can do:
Email, write or call Sylvia Jones, MPP Caledon, the Town of Caledon, Region of Peel, the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to address your concerns:
- Require objective and expert peer reviewing of the environmental processes leading up to approval of the EA for the waste water treatment plant.
- Appeal to the Minister that this WWTP not be approved, full build out of Erin’s development proposal- effluent flows instream chloride concentrations will exceed aquatic guidelines for chronic exposure.
- The Town of Caledon and Region of Peel need to be fully aware of the Town of Erin/Wellington waste water treatment plant as they may be responsible for downstream clean up.
- Confirm all government agencies have fully evaluated effluent discharge into the West Credit River versus alternative treatment methods.
- The impacts to West Credit River are cumulative – the waste water treatment plant, Erin pit expansion, and the proposed development all within 3 kilometers of Belfountain.
The purpose of this presentation is to inform you of Erin’s proposed Waste Water Treatment Plant on the West Credit River, accompanying urban growth and resulting impacts on the cold-water fishery and river health in Belfountain. This information has been compiled by Ann Seymour. This issue literally landed in her back yard; she lives in Belfountain on the West Credit River.
Erin Growth: Some Facts
- Timeline: Four phases of growth, 20 years of construction, beginning within three years and will include a WWTP
- Locations: Erin will have four housing developments and Hillsburgh has 800 acres also to be developed. Sewage from Hillsburgh will be piped to the Erin WWTP. The WWTP is designed to treat sewage from all of Erin and Hillsburgh’s current homes and planned growth. Erin will triple in size, in other words be 80% the size of Orangeville.
- Effluent discharge sites are in priority ranking, WCR at Caledon-Wellington border (at Winston Churchill Blvd.), WCR on #10 or the Halton Crushed Stone Pit sites near Winston Churchill, a mere 3 km upstream of Belfountain.
- MNRF have recently encouraged the Town of Erin to explore whether there are less aquatically sensitive locations in the subwatershed to the site of the proposed WWTP.
- Driving this growth is Solmar Development and Mayor Als’ perception that Erin needs more tax dollars. Solmars real estate sales from 1240 houses, an industrial park, commercial and retail space, a school, etc. will be in over 1⁄2 a billion of dollars (1,240 x 450k = 563.5 million). This WWTP is all about more sprawl…urban development with developers lobbying the politicians.
The West Credit River
- The WCR is habitat for one of the healthiest cold-water fisheries in Peel Region. It is considered pristine. Erin’s WWTP will release treated effluent into the river at 7400 cubic meters per day. The effluent will be disposed into the WCR directly at the Caledon – Wellington Border at Winston Churchill Blvd.
- Brook Trout will not tolerate the increased temperature of the effluent discharged into the river.
- Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) worked together to establish the baseline data for the Environmental Assessment (EA). The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and the CVC are the commenting agencies on the EA. There appears to be little or no evidence that Region of Peel residents were consulted in the Environmental Assessment.
- The MNRF wrote a report detailing their findings on the stress that the effluent will put on the West Credit River.
- The MNRF expressed many concerns about the assumptions and methodology used in the assimilative capacity of the WCR and the concerns on impacts to native trout habitat.
- The CVC flagged the impact of exceeding chronic chloride water quality guidelines at full build out flows.
- Both the MECP and CVC did not further investigate Subsurface Disposal alternatives because sub surface systems take up more space, the local terrain is hilly, and they wanted to wrap-up the E.A. process because these studies would need more time.
- The BCO and Ann Seymour sent separate Environmental Assessment Bump up Part 2 requests to the MECP in June 2018. The MECP decision is pending. The Town of Erin has said that even if further assessment is granted they will still continue to push for the WWTP.
- There was no downstream public consultation for this WWTP with Belfountain from the Township of Erin. Belfountain residents were unaware of the proposed WWTP and that the effluent will be discharged directly at the Caledon-Wellington border. Erin pays no downstream environmental costs, as the first community Belfountain receives the potential damage and risk of failure.
- Long-term the WWTP will not effectively remove salt loads/ammonia from water softeners tied to household sewage. Add winter road salt run off, more roads and the WCR cold-water fishery and health of our river will collapse.
- Household Toxic Substance Disposal into Sewage System: Erin plans to “educate” their population about what not to dispose into the sewage system. An education program is not a substitution for removal of toxins. Education programs are a fig-leaf to avoid having to address a real problem, and not an adequate solution; there is never enough certainty and isn’t equivalent to removing toxins. Waters remain polluted with biotoxins, micro-plastics from laundry, etc., as people haphazardly and unknowingly pour into their drains substances that cannot be effectively treated by the WWTP. It is human nature to not strictly adhere to disposal guidelines, and as result remnants of these toxic materials will be released into the WCR.
- The WCR cold-water fishery over the long-term will not tolerate endocrine disruptors, estrogen-based compounds, salt and medications from effluent as the WWTP cannot effectively remove them. The technology is not there.
- It is understood that Erin would like to grow; however, with such ambitious development, when completed, the West Credit River will not tolerate Erin and Hillsburgh’s effluent.
- This proposed WWTP will result in the eventual collapse of the native cold-water trout fishery and health of our river.
- This is a “Places to Grow” site that cannot support intense development and growth. The WWTP allows for more units to be shoe-horned into the growth area by developers. Erin and Hillsburgh should continue to have private septic systems so as to not have negative impact on what we treasure.
- Humans cannot continue to remove habitat from another species, we cannot continue to do business in this way; Nature Needs a Place to Grow! It is unethical to destroy one of the few remaining cold-water fisheries in southern Ontario.
- There is a solution and a compromise for Erin and Belfountain. Erin can still grow by controlling sprawl smartly, putting households on individual septic sewage systems and cancel their WWTP. The proposed WWTP is in the wrong location; the West Credit River ecosystem cannot support it.
- The MOE will ultimately either approve the report, or make recommendations to the Town of Erin to make adjustments or further research.
- Erin expects a response by early summer.