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NEWS: Residents raise concerns about sewage plant on Lake Simcoe

Toronto-based Council of Canadians organizer Mark Calzavara is following the situation with a proposed sewage treatment plant that would discharge into the Lake Simcoe watershed. Lake Simcoe is the fourt-largest lake wholly in the province of Ontario.

YorkRegion.com reports, “Plans for a sewage treatment plant and water reclamation centre discharging into the Lake Simcoe watershed didn’t pass the smell test with about 200 Georgina residents during a public information meeting (on November 16) in Keswick (about 70 kilometres north of Toronto). Representatives from the region tried hard during a 45-minute presentation to explain the selection criteria and benefits behind choosing a system discharging treated wastewater into Lake Simcoe rather than Lake Ontario to a packed audience at the Stephen Leacock Theatre, which included residents, environmental groups, municipal and regional politicians and senior staff.”

“(The sewage treatment plant is) to accommodate the projected 150,000 new people moving to the north end of the region to 2036. …The reverse osmosis system, along with other treatment processes, is the most effective available technology for removing microconstituents, George Godin, a wastewater specialist with the region, explained to the crowd. But the ability of the treatment centre to effectively and completely remove those microconstituents, or pharmaceutical and personal care products, is exactly what Ward 1 Councillor Phil Craig questioned… Stating the levels are much higher from the 15 wastewater treatment plants currently discharging into Lake Simcoe, Al Rimar, a wastewater and reclaimed water specialist with the region, said the level of removal would be much higher with the combination of the new treatment and water facilities.”

“The most formal (expression of concern) was a statement read by a representative of the Chippewas of Georgina Island. It stated a ‘strong opposition’ to the sewage plan since members did not receive the consultation they deserve and the plan will affect their drinking water and every aspect of their way of life since their home is an island in the middle of the lake. …Jackson’s Point resident Evren Ozdemir read his own statement, voicing his opposition to the plan, calling the region ‘absurd’ and ‘disrespectful’ for treating Lake Simcoe as a ‘giant toilet’. …Assurances that the lake flushes every eight years did little to placate the crowd. Nor did the prospect of using reclaimed water on sod fields and golf courses…”

“The region initially assumed future sewage connections would be to the south, connecting to the larger York-Durham Sewage System, until the province told them to look for a made-in-York solution. The projected cost is estimated at $512 million with connections completed between 2017 and 2019. …While the region insists the proposal to treat north York Region’s wastewater in the Lake Simcoe watershed rather than Lake Ontario’s is in the early stages, there is already a list of 25 to 30 potential sites for the new system’s needed water treatment plant, almost all of which are in East Gwillimbury. …The plan accommodates new development to the south, primarily in East Gwillimbury, and means millions of litres of treated waste water will be discharged into Lake Simcoe every day.”