Thursday, July 11, 2019 - 12:30 PM

JOINT RELEASE: Secondary Wastewater Treatment

Mayors Dave Aker (Mount Pearl), Danny Breen (St. John's), Dan Bobbett (Paradise)

Today, the Mayors of Mount Pearl, Paradise and St. John’s addressed federal requirements to complete secondary wastewater treatment from the Riverhead Wastewater Treatment Facility by the end of 2020.
Completion of a secondary wastewater facility is currently estimated to cost $255 million.
The Mayors discussed the regional impacts of the federal government’s wastewater regulations, introduced in 2014 under the Federal Fisheries Act. The regulations are designed to reduce harmful solids and chemicals in effluent from wastewater treatment facilities.
Despite repeated requests to the federal government, the City of St. John’s has been unable to receive an extension on the 2020 deadline; so, in less than two years, the current, transitional authority to offer primary wastewater treatment only will expire and the federal government legislates that secondary treatment must be in place by then or face significant fines and penalties.
Mayors Aker, Bobbett and Breen feel compelled to inform the public about what is happening and to affirm that the Councils of Mount Pearl, Paradise and St. John’s want due consideration and support from both levels of government on this significant and costly project which will have a direct impact on the water tax charged to residents.
Of particular concern to the Mayors is the fact that federal and provincial contributions to the project are based on very preliminary estimates; in fact, more recent estimates increase the cost from the original $223 million to $255 million. These additional costs, on top of the expected municipal contribution, increases municipal debt significantly.
“Currently, the federal government has offered $111 million for the project, the province will pay $59 million and the municipalities must cover the remaining $85 million. We are disappointed that a deal to reduce costs has been extended to the province but not to the municipalities - at the very least, the provincial and municipal shares should be the same. This we feel is unfair to the municipalities.”  

– Mayor Danny Breen, City of St. John’s

“As always, our primary concern is public service and the stewardship of our taxpayers’ dollars. With a project of this size and financial impact, additional due diligence is required before any development occurs. As always, we are committed to working with all levels of government and we believe that a ten-year project delay is in the best interests of our residents and businesses.”

- Mayor Dave Aker, City of Mount Pearl

“We all fully support progressive environmental standards, but we want it done reasonably, fairly and equitably. The current approach places an unfair financial burden on municipalities, and ultimately on our residents. As Mayors, we cannot expect our residents to accept that burden and we need them to add their voice to this issue. We are asking all residents to contact their Federal and Provincial representatives and voice their concerns about the potential impacts.”                                                                                                                                 

– Mayor Dan Bobbett, Town of Paradise
Background Information
Media Contacts:

Kelly Maguire
Media Relations
City of St. John’s

Lesley Williams, Marketing and Communications Officer
City of Mount Pearl

Diane Keough
Communications Manager
Town of Paradise