Lindsay Water Pollution Control Plant Upgrades
Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Process
The City of Kawartha Lakes (the City), initially through their consultant AECOM, and subsequently with Associated Engineering (AE), is undertaking a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) study for upgrading the Lindsay Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP). The proposed improvements focus on upgrading the WPCP’s treatment process and provide for additional wastewater treatment capacity and improved effluent quality to service approved growth. The proposed capacity increase will only serve the approved Lindsay settlement service area.
Class Environmental Assessment Process Guide
The Ontario Environmental Assessment Act requires Ontario municipalities to complete an EA when undertaking municipal infrastructure projects. Municipalities in Ontario have the benefit of using the Municipal Engineers Association's Class EA process for certain municipal road, water and wastewater projects.
The Municipal Class EA process has proven to be a sound means of planning and designing municipal infrastructure projects. The City of Kawartha Lakes has planned and designed numerous water supply, sanitary sewerage and transportation system projects using the Municipal Class EA process
How are projects categorized under the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process?
Phase 1 – Problem or Opportunity: Identify the problem or opportunity, need and justification;
Phase 2 – Alternative Solutions: Identify alternative solutions to the problem by taking into consideration the existing environment, and establish the preferred solution taking into account public and agency review and input;
Phase 3 – Alternative Design Concepts for Preferred Solution: Examine alternative methods of implementing the preferred solution, based upon the existing environment, public and agency input, anticipated environmental effects and methods of minimizing negative effects and maximizing positive effects;
Phase 4 – Environmental Study Report (ESR): Document, in an ESR, a summary of the rationale, planning, design and consultation process of the project as established through the above phases and make such documentation available for scrutiny by review agencies and the public; and
Phase 5 – Implementation: Complete contract drawings and documents, and proceed to construction and operation; monitor construction for adherence to environmental provisions and commitments. Where special conditions dictate, also monitor the operation of the complete facilities.
The Class EA process ensures that all projects are carried out with effectiveness, efficiently and fairness. This process serves as a mechanism for understanding economic, social and environmental concerns while implementing improvements to municipal infrastructure.
The amended 2011 Class EA process provides for the following designations of projects depending upon potential impacts:
Schedule A: Schedule A projects generally include normal or emergency operational and maintenance activities where environmental effects of these activities are usually minimal. Examples of Schedule A projects include installation or replacement of standby power equipment where new equipment is located within an existing building or structure. As such, these projects are pre-approved and subsequently do not require any further planning and public consultation.
Schedule A+: The purpose of Schedule A+ is to ensure some type of public notification for certain projects that are pre-approved under the Class EA. It is appropriate to inform the public of municipal infrastructure project(s) being constructed or implemented in their area, however there would be no ability for the public to request a Part II Order. If the public has any comments, they should be directed to the municipal council where they would be more appropriately addressed. Examples of Schedule A+ projects include extending or enlarging a sewage collection system including connections, where all such facilities are located within an existing municipal road allowance or utility corridor, or where there are pipe water crossings based on the use of trenchless technology.
Schedule B: Schedule B projects generally include improvements and minor expansions to existing facilities. Examples of Schedule B projects include the expanding a sewage treatment plant, including relocation or replacement of outfall to receiving water body, up to existing rated capacity where new land acquisition is required. As a result, the proponent is required to proceed through a screening process (Phases 1 and 2 of the Municipal Class EA process) including consultation with those who may be affected.
At the end of Phase 2, a Project File Report documenting the planning process followed through Phases 1 and 2 shall be finalized and made available for public and agency review. However if the screening process raises a concern which cannot be resolved, the Part II Order may be requested and considered by the Minister of the Environment; alternatively, the proponent may elect voluntarily to plan the project as a Schedule C undertaking.
Schedule C: Schedule C projects require that an ESR be prepared and filed for review by the public and review agencies. Examples of Schedule C projects include the siting and construction of new wastewater treatment facilities or expanding an existing wastewater treatment plant beyond the current rated capacity such as this project. If concerns are raised that cannot be resolved, a Part II Order may be requested.
The Class EA procedure does not require application for additional approvals under the EAA provided the proponent has complied with the necessary requirements and procedures. These requirements and procedures include a full description of the project, consideration of alternatives, and identification of the impacts resulting from their implementation and continuance. The Class EA process also requires the proponent to inform and consult with the public and review agencies.
A flow chart describing the Class EA planning and design process is shown below.
Note: As of February 2014 the City is currently in Phase 3 of the process, prior to the next mandatory point of public contact.
Consultation early in and throughout the process is a key component of environmental assessment planning. While the Class EA establishes minimum requirements only, most proponents develop public consultation plans that exceed the minimum.
Most public consultation plans include:
Notice of Study Commencement that indicates that a study has been initiated and that there will be an Open House to identify the problem/opportunity and review the process.
Notice of Public Consultation Centre, for Schedule C projects only, is held to review the alternative designs and the possible impacts of the designs on the environment to assist in the selection of the preferred design for the chosen solution.
Notice of Completion occurs at the end of Phase 2 for Schedule B projects and the end of Phase 4 for Schedule C projects. This notice shall clearly state the review period of the ESR (minimum 30 calendar days) on public records and the date by which submissions or requests for an order are to be received.
For all Schedules of projects, public consultations for Phases 1 and 5 are optional but recommended.
Where can I find additional information regarding environmental legislation in Ontario?
Additional information on environmental legislation in Ontario, including the Class EA process and the Environmental Assessment Act, can be found on the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's website.