Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

West St. Paul to pipe sewage to city

Municipality's waste will go to North End plant

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Winnipeg has agreed to take West St. Paul's sewage.

On Tuesday, officials announced Winnipeg has signed a formal service-sharing agreement with West St. Paul to treat the municipality's waste water.

The agreement means West St. Paul will now install a $16-million main sewer pipe that will connect 1,692 homes with Winnipeg's sewer system and the North End sewage treatment plant.

Half the funds for the pipe -- $8 million -- will come from a joint investment by the federal-provincial Building Canada Fund and $2 million will come from the Manitoba Water Services Board. West St. Paul taxpayers will finance the rest.

West St. Paul chief administrative officer Brent Olynyk said it would have cost the municipality more to build its own waste-water treatment plant when Winnipeg's largest is just a few kilometres away.

He said the agreement will help the municipality deal with leaky septic fields that do not meet environmental standards.

Residents who connect to the main pipe will have to pay a one-time $1,900 fee, Olynyk said, but noted it can cost about $5,000 a year to haul waste from a holding tank or $20,000 to replace a septic field.

"Environmentally, we want to do the right thing," Olynyk said Tuesday. "We would hope that all of our residents some time in the future would be hooked up to this."

Olynyk said the first phase will connect about 750 homes to the main sewer line and could be completed by September 2015.

The deal with West St. Paul is the city's first since city council approved a service-sharing agreement in December 2011.

Winnipeg chief operating officer Deepak Joshi said the city's North End sewage-treatment plant is more than capable of handling the sewage and storm-water influx from West St. Paul, as the volume is small compared with the annual increase within the city.

Joshi said the deal will not generate significant revenue for the city, but will cover the cost of treating the sewage and will help West St. Paul deal with its environmental concerns.

The city is negotiating sewer-sharing with the RM of Rosser, and though other municipalities have approached the city, Joshi said Winnipeg is not engaged in any other significant negotiations on sewage at this point.

The city had previously been negotiating extending water pipes into Rosser, but put those plans on hold in December after the International Joint Commission, a Canada-U.S. body that prevents and resolves cross-border water disputes, identified "issues" with the city's plan.

Last year, two Ontario First Nations on Shoal Lake, the source of Winnipeg's drinking water, launched a court challenge arguing Winnipeg must obtain their consent to extend water pipes to neighbouring municipalities but did not do so.

Joshi said the city is working with the province and the IJC on the best way to move forward.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 20, 2013 A7

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