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GMF shares best practices and solutions for wastewater initiatives

Banner with “Annual Report 2016–2017” on green background at the top. In a triangular shape on the left side: Solid contact clarifier tank in wastewater treatment plant. Title of page: Wastewater.

White and blue illustration of wastewater treatment plant.

Improved wastewater systems mean better water for all

FCM, through the Green Municipal Fund (GMF), increases the capacity of municipalities to design and develop sustainable wastewater projects through case studies and online workshops, as well as with grants for plans, feasibility studies and pilot projects, and loans for capital projects. During 2016–2017, FCM produced and delivered a wealth of valuable resources and training to help municipalities improve wastewater systems. Below, you will find examples of wastewater projects and information about FCM's approach when developing knowledge resources from our projects.

A circular illustration with text on illustration, demonstrating three steps of a project. Each section is defined in text on the right side of the image. Section 1 (with a water pipe and city buildings) corresponds to: “Municipal initiatives: Municipal initiatives funded by GMF represent the very best examples of leadership and innovation”. Section 2 (with a clipboard and check marks) corresponds to: “FCM knowledge products: FCM produces case studies and leads workshops featuring initiatives with strong environmental benefits, a strong business case and social advantages”. Section 3 (with an illustrated conversation between three people), corresponds to: “Results: FCM shares the lessons and expertise gained through these initiatives and encourages other communities to replicate their success”.

Upgrading municipal wastewater systems means fewer septic tanks and wells, which reduces the risk of contamination

Case studies

District of Argyle, NS, upgrades for better groundwater and fishing

  • West Pubnico Water Treatment Facility Site in District of Argyle, NS. Credit: Brad d'Entremont.

Total project cost$4.2 million
GMF grant$127,000
GMF loan$1.2 million

During 2016–2017, FCM published a technical case study about a facility upgrade in the Municipality of the District of Argyle, NS. Argyle's wastewater treatment facility did not meet provincial regulatory standards. Furthermore, many homes in the area relied on septic tanks and wells, a combination that raises the risk of contamination.

The upgrades added:

  • A sequence-batch reactor
  • An ultraviolet disinfection system
  • A dewatering sludge management system

The upgrades significantly improved effluent quality: residual chlorine dropped from 1.31 mg per litre to 0.02 mg per litre, for instance. A heat-recovery system was installed to reduce energy costs, while the sludge-drying process reduces the costs of trucking away solids. Many homeowners have connected to the facility and abandoned their septic tanks.

The upgrade protects the quality of both groundwater and ocean water — an important consideration given the importance of commercial fishing to the region's economy.

City of Barrie, ON, sets new record for wastewater effluent quality

  • Rotating biological contactors reduce ammonia and organic nitrogen in Kempenfelt Bay, ON. Credit: City of Barrie, ON.
  • Two of the five new Raw Sewage Pumps with high efficiency motors that were installed. Credit: City of Barrie, ON.
  • New covered Secondary Clarifier further settles out solids. Credit: City of Barrie, ON.

Total project cost$88 million
GMF grant$400,000
GMF loan$2 million

To accommodate ongoing growth and to meet local water quality standards, the City of Barrie, ON, upgraded its wastewater treatment plant. In 2016, the plant’s effluent set record lows and FCM published a case study about the upgrade.

The upgrades included:

  • A second high-pressure sodium ultraviolet system
  • A UNOX system and rotating biological contactors
  • High-efficiency motors and light bulbs
  • A biological odour-control unit

The plant now recycles biogas for various onsite processes. To help reduce the amount of wastewater flowing into the facility, Barrie offered rebates on the purchase and installation of low-flow toilets, and reviewed roof drainage systems and downspout connections.

The project earned an award from Ontario’s Water Environment Association. Perhaps most importantly, the project helps Barrie to protect Kempenfelt Bay — a showpiece of the city that attracts tens of thousands of visitors.

Page Updated: 06/06/2018