A $43.2 million wastewater treatment plant on Lakeshore Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake is expected to be operational in August.
There have been two official launches of the regional project — first when politicians gathered on the site in 2012 to celebrate the funding for it, and then again in 2014 when construction began.
But there hasn’t been much to celebrate since then, with the completion date delayed several times due mostly to construction problems, including leaking tanks and cement peeling from the interior of the tanks, said NOTL’s Regional Coun. Gary Burroughs.
The original date of completion was December 2016, which was then changed to December 2017.
“I told people in Garrison Village that they would wake up last Christmas morning and be able to flush their toilets into the new treatment plant,” said Burroughs.
“That didn’t happen.”
The project completition date was delayed until June, and now the most recent report from the Region is predicting August, he said.
“There are still leakage issues with the tanks, which obviously can’t happen.”
The Region is blaming the problems on the workmanship of Varcon Construction from Concord, though the company claims it is not at fault.
Angelo Riccio, owner of Varcon, said there were consultants on the site daily.
“It has nothing to do with the workmanship,” he said. With consultants onsite, “How can it be workmanship?”
The two sides are meeting regularly to resolve the debate of who is responsible and to ensure work continues, said Burroughs.
“There's more than enough blame to go around.”
With the $4 million contingency fund and a $500,000 overage, the project should still come in under budget, said Burroughs.
“We’re holding back that $4 million until it’s resolved.”
The plant will replace the existing Lakeshore Road facility 800 metres west of it, which has been operating at capacity for years, with overflows causing odour problems for neighbours.
A regional report said the new plant is expected to increase treatment capacity by 40 per cent.
The cost, shared by the federal, provincial and regional governments, includes upgrades to three pumping stations, and that part of it has been completed, said Burroughs.
“The pumping stations are working and in good shape.”
The project also includes a pipe to the two lagoons at the current facility, so they remain full and working until they are removed, which will keep the odour down for neighbours and also make removal of easier, he said.
There have been several reports and meetings on a preferred alternative for decommissioning the existing plant, said Burroughs – one that satisfies Parks Canada, which owns the land, the Region and NOTL residents.
The Region has planned for $10 million in its 2019 capital budget for the work to be completed.