A fix is coming for stingy sewage capacity that’s stalled new development near Bright’s Grove for years.
Sarnia is getting $30 million from a federal-provincial fund to upgrade the Bright’s Grove sewage lagoons and the pumping station that feeds it, the city learned last week.
With two-thirds of the money in place – Sarnia must come up with the final $15 million – shovels could hit the ground as early as next spring.
Increasing the sewage capacity would allow for large-scale residential development that’s been on hold indefinitely in the northeast end.
The Bright’s Grove sewage lagoons are a system of three interconnected ponds used to treat human waste.
They are currently at 85% of capacity, and last winter for the first time ever the city had to truck wastewater from the lagoons to a pumping station on London Line because the microorganisms that break down the effluent went dormant in the cold.
The grant will also upgrade capacity at the Bedford pumping station, which serves 40% of the city’s population including Heritage Park and The Rapids Parkway.
That pumping station also has inadequate capacity and at times can’t keep up with the sewage flow in wet weather.
“Station failure is a constant concern … which would result in devastating environmental damage,” according to a staff report
The Small Communities Fund is funded jointly by the provincial and federal governments for priority projects like highways, major roads and other critical infrastructure.