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Municipalities hope to change wastewater regulations

New wastewater regulations introduced March 19 by Environment Canada will require the replacement or reconstru...


New wastewater regulations introduced March 19 by Environment Canada will require the replacement or reconstruction of one in four wastewater treatment systems across Canada according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The federation estimates that to meet the new regulations, 1,000 plants in total would need construction work.
The municipalities’ main concern is how to fund such a huge undertaking, and at the FCM’s annual conference in Toronto last week, the cries reached such a pitch that Environment Minister Jim Prentice promised to meet with a delegation to review the implementation of the regulations.
An FCM analysis puts the price of meeting the new standards in four cities alone — Vancouver, Victoria, Halifax and St. John’s — as exceeding $4 billion in the next decade. Montreal, meanwhile, has one of the country’s oldest and largest sewer systems and would face a huge cost.
After Prentice promised to meet with them, FCM put on hold a resolution calling for federal action, pending the outcome of the talks.
The municipalities are calling for a new long-term partnership with “all orders of government” to help fund the building and maintenance of infrastructure.
At the Toronto meeting, the 1,500 FCM delegates also unanimously called on the federal government to cut commute times in Canadian cities and renew investments in affordable housing.