Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan

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The goal of the Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan is to ensure the City’s wastewater (everything flushed down your sinks, drains, and toilets) is managed in a way that is sustainable, protects our waterways and the environment. The Master Plan is the City's long-term plan that will look at how the City is currently managing Guelph's wastewater and how we can continue to meet the demands of Guelph's growing population now until 2051.

The master plan will consider:

  • Advances in treatment technologies.
  • Changes in wastewater treatment plant infrastructure needs and legislation.
  • Sustainable and cost efficient wastewater treatment concepts that mitigate climate change and contribute to reaching the City’s goal of using 100 per cent renewable energy sources by 2050.
  • Guelph’s growing population and it’s impact on the wastewater treatment process and Speed River’s capacity.
  • How it will contribute to achieving the strategic priorities set out through the City’s Strategic Plan.

At the first virtual open house and online survey, the City presented and discussed what challenges Guelph is facing with regards to the wastewater treatment facility, proposed options for addressing challenges and what evaluation criteria will be used when making final decisions.

After hearing from Guelph residents and through careful assessment, the City is ready to present options for addressing Guelph’s wastewater challenges and wants further input. Here’s how you can get involved and help shape the Master Plan:

  • Visit the second virtual open house : attend the virtual open house to learn what the Master Plan aims to do, what challenges the City is facing and how it impacts you and the rest of our community.
  • Take the online surveys: answer survey questions by (June 11) to share your feedback and ideas.

The goal of the Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan is to ensure the City’s wastewater (everything flushed down your sinks, drains, and toilets) is managed in a way that is sustainable, protects our waterways and the environment. The Master Plan is the City's long-term plan that will look at how the City is currently managing Guelph's wastewater and how we can continue to meet the demands of Guelph's growing population now until 2051.

The master plan will consider:

  • Advances in treatment technologies.
  • Changes in wastewater treatment plant infrastructure needs and legislation.
  • Sustainable and cost efficient wastewater treatment concepts that mitigate climate change and contribute to reaching the City’s goal of using 100 per cent renewable energy sources by 2050.
  • Guelph’s growing population and it’s impact on the wastewater treatment process and Speed River’s capacity.
  • How it will contribute to achieving the strategic priorities set out through the City’s Strategic Plan.

At the first virtual open house and online survey, the City presented and discussed what challenges Guelph is facing with regards to the wastewater treatment facility, proposed options for addressing challenges and what evaluation criteria will be used when making final decisions.

After hearing from Guelph residents and through careful assessment, the City is ready to present options for addressing Guelph’s wastewater challenges and wants further input. Here’s how you can get involved and help shape the Master Plan:

  • Visit the second virtual open house : attend the virtual open house to learn what the Master Plan aims to do, what challenges the City is facing and how it impacts you and the rest of our community.
  • Take the online surveys: answer survey questions by (June 11) to share your feedback and ideas.
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Thank you for your interest in the Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan.  We invite you to learn more by visiting the project page and viewing FAQs.  Please provide your questions and we will aim to have answers in five business days,  

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    It would be nice to consider local reuse of resources, such as local farmers using biosolids from the WWTP on their fields. Closing the local nutrient loop etc. Long term cost and capacity to grow are also key items.

    7 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are happy to report that we are already doing this. In 2019, 100 per cent of biosolids (3,700 tonnes) were treated using the Lystek process and beneficially reused by farmers as fertilizer. In addition, we partially power the Wastewater Treatment Plant using captured digester gas generated by the wastewater treatment process.

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    As Guelph’s population grows and the wastewater facility exceeds capacity, would it be a consideration to build a second wastewater treatment facility in the south end of Guelph, or close to wherever the largest increase in growth is occurring? An additional treatment facility would take the pressure off of the plant on Wellington Road.

    7 months ago

    Thank you for your question. While this may be up for consideration in future Master Planning, at this time it is not necessary based on the City future population projections from the Province. Additionally, our wastewater treatment plant currently has space to expand on Guelph's projected population growth.

    If we identify this as a future need, we would need to take into consideration things like: associated expenses that come with building, operating and maintaining a second wastewater treatment plant versus expanding the existing plant. We also need to consider the environmental impacts and the capacity of the Speed River.

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    You should tell the general public the pit falls of the sanitary sewer discharges and the inability to rid the chemicals that are untreatable in the treatment facilities. The majority of residents are taking medications and urine and feces are discharged into our sanitary sewers along with commercial and industrial sewer wastes. Also, when will the sanitary sewer discharges from the Rockwood village area become of such a capacity that the Guelph treatment plant be unable to handle the discharge, the residents should be given a reality source of information and not a political response Have a good day.

    7 months ago

    A big function of the Master Plan is getting an understanding of how our population growth will impact our natural environment, like the capacity of the Speed River. Through the Master Plan we will also review treatment processes that will address contaminants, including things like chemicals and medications.

    The City is undertaking an assimilative capacity study of the Speed River downstream of the WWTP, which will ensure that the increase in flows resulting from population growth will not have a negative impact on the Speed River. It will determine the loading rates of various constituents that the Speed River can assimilate, which will determine the treatment requirements required for the Master Plan such that the natural environment is not negatively impacted.

    Currently, the Town of Rockwood is allocated a maximum flow of 1,710 m3/day to the Guelph WWTP under its agreement with the City. This has been factored into the Master Plan’s future projections, so there are no concerns that flows from Rockwood will become an issue in the future.

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    Right now something doesn’t smell right at the plant. My five year old grandson plugs his nose as we drive by and says stinky grandma! I am worried about the ability of the wastewater management plant to keep up with the growth of Guelph. That is my biggest concern and I believe the cost to build a larger facility should be added on to.

    7 months ago

    We are aware that odours occur occasionally, and we understand your concern. We want you to know that we document odours and are evaluating this regularly.

    Part of the Master Plan will provide us with recommendations for managing odours from the WWTP, including evaluating new technologies and an implementation plan that will ensure we are prepared to handle odours as our community grows.

    The Master Plan will contain an implementation plan to ensure that the necessary upgrades will be completed to keep up with the population growth in Guelph into 2051.

    Cost is one of the evaluation criteria for technology alternatives. Currently, development is charged to future homes and condos, although this Master Plan is not involved in evaluating funding sources.

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    A couple of your survey questions say pick 3 answers but you can only select 2 questions you should not put 2 differing options in one question as it is hard to answer: question 1: Impacts to the Speed River should be reduced as much as possible regardless of cost, I agree impacts should be reduced, but what does regardless of cost mean? Kind of a ridiculous thing to say

    8 months ago

    The City has noted your recommendation and will be considered for future surveys.

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    Couple of comments on the open house information: - Why assume future growth will be at 390 litres per person per day? If the City commits to overseeing new development construction to ensure low inflow and infiltration and if there is an increase in multi-unit residential, the 390 litres per person per day may be an overestimation. Water efficiency gains may also reduce the per capita sewage flow, but I understand the City already has a low per capita water use rate – I question “proven in North America” as a must meet criterion as it may limit options that are cost effective and meet other desired outcomes (e.g. energy generation/saving). The Ministry of Environment is always open to reasonable proposals.

    8 months ago

    The per capita flow rate is based on the previous 10 years of flow and population data in the City. While it is likely this is a conservative estimate, it is difficult to estimate future reductions in water usage due to the lack of data and information about future developments.

    This per capita flow rate also includes flows from industrial, commercial and institutional users, such as the University of Guelph. Also, the capacity of many processes is based on loading rates rather than hydraulics. While the per capita flow rate may be reduced over time, the loadings will likely stay the same, resulting in a higher strength influent wastewater. The per capita flow rate may be a driver for some hydraulic upgrades later in the planning period.

    Should the City’s per capita flow rate decrease, the consequence would be that capital expenditures would be delayed. This is a low-risk consequence. Should the City’s per capita flow rates increase above the projected value, the consequence is an earlier than expected capital expenditure, which is higher risk to the City.

    The approach used is conservative while seeing that solutions will address future loading needs. Master Plans are updated on a 5 to 10 year basis, which will allow the City to adjust and address changes in the City’s per capita flow rate in the future.

    Regarding the must-meet criteria, “proven in North America” was selected to ensure that the technology vendors have a presence in this region should service and/or consumables be required. For the various technologies, if it was proven in Europe or elsewhere in the world, only one full-scale installation was required in North America to meet the must-meet criteria. This way, the City will have captured technologies that are proven worldwide and ensured that there is reliable supply and service for the technology in North America.

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    Current population growth is not sustainable. Until human population levels are stable and within the carrying capacity of the natural environment, wastewater treatment will not be sustainable.

    8 months ago

    A big function of the Master Plan is getting an understanding of how our population growth will impact our natural environment, like the capacity of the Speed River.

    The City is undertaking an assimilative capacity study of the Speed River downstream of the WWTP, which will ensure that the increase in flows resulting from population growth will not have a negative impact on the Speed River. It will determine the loading rates of various constituents that the Speed River can assimilate, which will determine the treatment requirements required for the Master Plan such that the natural environment is not negatively impacted.

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    Also, put an ad on bus shelters or on buses. Something memorable, like: “Waste happens. Check out Guelph.ca” (I’m not joking. A slightly irreverent catch-phrase would get people’s attention. Sort of like how South Dakota’s “Meth. We’re on it.” Slogan got people talking. Wastewater treatment is not on our minds…until there’s a problem. If you want people to be engaged, you first need to get people’s attention.) PLEASE don’t mess up the Speed River. You can’t put a price on an unpolluted river. If people complain about increased waste-water rates (and they will), then get the word out about how WASTEFUL our society is with regard to almost everything, especially water. Thank you.

    8 months ago

    Thank you for the feedback. This idea will be considered when determining the City’s future outreach strategy.

    The City is undertaking an assimilative capacity study of the Speed River downstream of the WWTP, which will ensure that the increase in flows resulting from population growth will not have a negative impact on the Speed River. It will determine the loading rates of various constituents that the Speed River can assimilate, which will determine the treatment requirements required for the Master Plan such that the natural environment is not negatively impacted.

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    Associated with Q5 on survey in terms of “best means to communicate this Master Plan to the residents of Guelph” Comment – other method to use – direct mailer.

    8 months ago

    Thank you for your feedback. We'll keep this in mind when communicating with the community

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    I understand that the assimilative capacity of the Speed River is the limiting factor on how much treated sewage can be returned to the river. If the math says we can return X litres of treated sewage per day to the river, do we then (for example) return X/3 litres per day?

    8 months ago

    In the assessment of the assimilative capacity study of the Speed River downstream of the Guelph WWTP, the City will not be utilizing a dilution approach to determine the effluent limits for the WWTP. Rather we will be determining effluent concentrations that will result in improved downstream water quality from current Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) conditions under low and moderate flow conditions.

Page last updated: 08 July 2021, 10:51