Not just a downer, this summer’s wet weather is also hitting Woolwich residents in the wallet, as the township runs deficits in its water and wastewater budgets. Poor conditions have also delayed paving projects.
Through the first half of the year, the wastewater budget ran an $89,000 deficit, largely due to inflow and infiltration problems. Steady and constant rain sees water seep into the ground, finding its way into cracks in underground pipes and putting more water into the treatment plant than is billed for on the customers’ side of the meters.
On the water side, a $30,000 deficit has arisen, in large part due to significant water loss in the Breslau system, the result of a leak in a source pipe owned by Waterloo Region.
“This leak has been occurring for some time now, and our regional billings for the Breslau system increased three to four times the normal level,” said finance director Richard Petherick in a report presented Tuesday night to Woolwich council.
In response to a question from Ward 3 Coun. Murray Martin, chief administrative officer David Brenneman said the leak in Breslau has yet to be fixed.
In a later interview, manager of engineering operations Rod Kruger said the issue in Breslau is proving more complicated than, say, a broken watermain. The leak in one of the connections is not easily accessible – “It’s not an easy leak to fix.”
Once it is repaired, the township can figure out the flow rate and how much it was overbilled by the region, eventually submitting a claim for compensation.
The issue of inflow and infiltration (I&I) is an ongoing one that will take some time to tackle, he added.
The township’s multimillion-dollar I&I program has addressed most of the major problems with the systems in Elmira and St. Jacobs, but there are certainly small leaks still to be tackled.
“We’re not finished with I&I by a long shot – it’s an ongoing situation.”
Current reconstruction work on Arthur, Brubacher and Second streets in Elmira, for instance, will help, as will next year’s similar full-scale reworking of portions of Riverside Drive, Samuel and Ann streets.
“The small things add up. Every little bit helps,” said Kruger. “Overall, the system is getting quite a bit better.”
Aside from water and sewer issues, the engineering department is also coping with delays to paving work due to the bad weather. Rain has backed up jobs all over the region, meaning contractors don’t know when they’ll be able to get to projects such as Riverside Drive West in Elmira, which was to have received a final layer of pavement by now. That project, which also includes parts of Dunke Street North and Victoria Glen Drive, is now scheduled to get underway Aug. 17, weather permitting.
While the rain has hampered paving projects, repairs and upgrades to the sidewalk network have gone on pretty much as scheduled, as working with cement in the rain is less problematic than asphalt, said Kruger.