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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Council endorses plan for the Ward 1 Southwest Area Stormwater Improvements

- the multiple-stage program’s cost estimate is

$10,980,000 and is aimed to mitigate flooding -

by Sylene Argent

On Monday evening, members of Essex Council welcomed Jian Li and Mike Reaume, Project Managers from Stantec Consulting Ltd., to a special meeting, where they presented the results of the “Improvements to Essex Ward 1 Southwest Storm Sewer System” report.

  Council endorsed the recommended plan presented for the Ward 1 Southwest Area Stormwater Improvements, and further approved and directed Administration to proceed with the 30-day public review process.

  The estimated probable cost for the recommended improvements is $10,980,000.

  In the report to Council on the matter, which Director of Infrastructure, Kevin Girard, prepared, it notes during the past several years, Council has pursued improving stormwater management within the Town of Essex. The plan is meant to improve the system and flow of stormwater.

  Reaume explained Stantec undertook the “Improvements to Essex Ward 1 Southwest Storm Sewer System” project under the Environmental Assessment Act. As part of the “problem statement” for the drain, he noted the existing storm sewer layout was designed in the 1970s, and no comprehensive stormwater drainage study has been done to review the drain system to consider any changes in development or design standards that have occurred over time.

  In recent years, he continued, there have been street and basement flooding during extreme storm events in town. On August 11, 2014 and September 3, 2015, there were rain events that provided a record amount of precipitation. Many houses, mostly in Essex Centre and the Southwest drainage area, flooded. He added during extreme rainfall events, runoff can pond on streets and can increase the volume of stormwater entering the Town’s stormwater drainage system.

  To continue with future development, the existing storm sewer system needs to be evaluated to identify areas where improvements can be implemented.

  Reaume presented four solutions for Council to consider through the Environmental Assessment, including field inspection and general maintenance, increasing hydraulic capacity of existing storm sewers, construction of stormwater management ponds, and a combination of the suggested alternatives.

  Part of the suggestion of increasing hydraulic capacity of storm sewers, recommendations included replacing the storm sewer along Centre Street, between Hanlan Street and South Talbot Road, to provide a proper outlet for service; replacing the storm sewer in Optimist Park to provide a proper outlet for servicing Iler Avenue drainage area; replace the storm sewer along Brien Avenue West, between Kimball Drive and South Talbot Road, from Brien Avenue West to Fairview Avenue West, at the outfall; and make improvements to the outlet sewer configuration at Tulley Meadows as it was designed as its own stormwater drainage system.  

  The suggestion also includes the construction of stormwater management ponds, which is recommended to be expansion projects at the Woodview Stormwater Management facility and the Canaan Pond, in addition to a new Essex Outlet Pond, which would be adjacent to the Essex Wastewater Treatment Plant. He added a pumping station should be added to each pond for dewatering, so they can be ready to receive water runoff.

  Power would be needed for the Canaan Pond. Reaume suggested as the area near by is town-owned and is slated to be a rec facility, to acquire a hydro easement in the private property portion and negotiate easement with the property owner to power that pumping station.

  Reaume suggested staging the construction of the recommended improvements. As such, he suggested first projects should be the sewer along Brien Avenue West for around $4,100,000 (for which he said he would like to see the designing and tendering completed this year with construction hopefully done next year) then the Canaan pond expansion and pumping station for $1,200,000 as part of phase one.

  He suggested an agreement with the MTO for the Canaan and Essex Outlet pond be looked at, as the MTO is working with the Town for a watermain crossing as part of the Highway # 3 project, as he said infill will be needed to build up the road for the expansion.

  Phase two would include the Woodview pond expansion and Tulley Meadow Improvements for $500,000, phase three would include the Essex Outlet Pond and dewatering pumping station for $1,500,000. Stage four would include Centre Street Sewer and Optimist Park sewer for a combined total of $2,280,000, for which a timeline has not been discussed as of yet.

  Stantec, Reaume said, was looking for approval and review comments, prior to holding a public virtual open house, and before proceeding with the rest of the project steps, including the implementation stage.

  Kevin Girard, Director of Infrastructure for the Town of Essex, said the Town is in possession of funding for the first stage, the sewer along Brien Avenue West. The future stages would be completed as funding comes available, either through grants or though taxation or other means.

  Later that evening, during the regular Council meeting, Essex Council received the Report, “Engineering Services for Ward 1 Storm Improvements,” and further appointed Stantec Consulting Ltd. to provide engineering services in the amount of $642,919.68 to design, assist in procurement, and administer the Ward 1 Storm Improvements.

  Girard explained this report goes along with the special Council meeting held prior to the regular meeting. It is a follow up with Council’s adoption of the Ward 1 Southwest Area Stormwater Improvements. This report, he said, will get the ball rolling as far as the detail design for the Brien Avenue West Trunk Storm Sewer replacement, under Phase 1 of the Environmental Assessment.

  In 2018, the Town was successful in obtaining funding from the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) Intake 4 to complete the Southwest Area Stormwater Environmental Assessment, along with Phase 1 of the proposed study. The original grant application required that all projects were to be completed by March 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, project completion was extended to March 2022, the Report to Council notes.

  In the approved Capital Budget, the Town included $4,559,912.00 for design, contract administration, and construction. A report is anticipated to be brought to Council in the summer for the award of the construction contract.

  For more Council news, read the article “Essex Council Notes for March 1, 2021” in this week’s edition of the Essex Free Press.

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