A8. Reports on Either Water or Wastewater: Municipal Sources

1. Uncommitted Reserve Capacity at Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants

Legislation

MOECC Guideline D-5-1 on Calculating and Reporting Uncommitted Reserve Capacity at Sewage and Water Treatment Plants

Applies to

Municipality

Prepared by

Municipality

Submitted to/publication requirements

Usually in the form of reports to council. May be available online where council reports are made available to the public.

Due date/ frequency

Provincial requirements specify that the report should be prepared by annual filers within 90 days of the end of the calendar year. Although some municipalities do it annually, others prepare this report during phasing/allocation process every five years.

Minimum data requirements

Hydraulic capacity and plant performance in relation to environmental protection as set out in Ministry statutes, regulations and policies, and the Environmental Compliance Approval document.

The following performance characteristics may be used as a basis for imposing limited or long-term development constraints:

  • treatment facility is in poor condition, performing erratically or not in accordance with its design;
  • effluent quality parameters exceed or are near the limits specified in the plant's Certificate of Approval;
  • sewage strength (i.e., organic loading) varies significantly due to industrial discharges into municipal sewers.

Issues/ drawbacks

  • Inconsistently available to researchers.
  • No standard format.

Other information

The regulation specifies: "The number of lots in approved plans of subdivisions, developments committed by virtue of approved zoning, new official plans or site-specific official plan amendments, should not exceed the design capacity of the sewage and/or water system. In order to ensure that capacity is not exceeded it is necessary to determine what uncommitted reserve capacity is available."

2. Class Environmental Assessments

Legislation

Environmental Assessment Act, 1990

Applies to

Municipalities planning to build or expand water or wastewater facilities; also provincial and other public entities creating municipal infrastructure.

Prepared by

Engineering consultants hired by the municipality

Submitted to/publication requirements

No standard publication requirements. Since public consultation is required, municipal websites usually contain information about opportunities to comment (which may be limited). The Province, however, does not systematically track Class EAs. The MOECC may be unaware that a Class EA is under way unless a request is made for a "bump-up" (to a comprehensive individual EA).

Due date/ frequency

As needed. The Auditor General estimates that 435 municipal infrastructure projects were subject to a Class EA between 2010 and 2015 (this includes transit and roads as well as water and wastewater).

Minimum data requirements

Class EA document outlines the planning processes for each class of project, including:

  • consultations with the public, government agencies, and Aboriginal communities
  • assessment of potential environmental effects
  • assessment of alternatives, including financial costs

Issues/ drawbacks

The Auditor General of Ontario has identified many weaknesses in the Class EA process in its 2016 Annual Report. For example: "The majority of projects that are subject to an environmental assessment in Ontario are assessed under a streamlined process. The Ministry has limited involvement in these assessments. While the Ministry is responsible for administering the Environmental Assessment Act, it does not know how many streamlined assessments are completed annually, nor does it have assurance that these assessments are being done properly." (See http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/content/annualreports/arreports/en16/v1_306en16.pdf)

Other information

Table from the Auditor General's 2016 Annual Report

Comparison of types of environmental assessments

3. Master Servicing Plans

Legislation

Provincial Policy Statement

Applies to

Municipalities

Prepared by

Usually prepared by engineering consultants for the municipality

Submitted to/publication requirements

Usually published online through the municipal website.

Due date/ frequency

Every five to ten years; usually prepared in association with an official plan.

Minimum data requirements

Contains an inventory of current servicing, and details of plans for future servicing to accommodate growth including pumping capacity, trunk sewer capacity, treatment capacity, and financial cost.

May also include

Detailed mapping of servicing.

Issues/ drawbacks

Approach and level of detail varies.

Other information

May be integrated with a Class EA: see http://www.municipalclassea.ca/manual/page79.html