Wastewater Treatment Capacity and Growth

A common question asked by many residents is the relationship between wastewater treatment capacity and growth. Many times wastewater treatment capacity has been viewed as the one constraint which would place a cap on growth in the Centre Region. Some residents have expressed concern that the Beneficial Reuse Alternative will create an unlimited level of wastewater treatment capacity which could support unlimited growth in the Centre Region.

It is important to recognize that local comprehensive planning and zoning programs are the primary mechanisms which will determine the location, type and amount of growth which will occur in the Centre Region. The Region’s municipalities, through zoning decisions and establishment of the growth and sewer service boundaries, will continue to have the authority to make these land use determinations.

It is also important to consider the options which are available to the community for wastewater treatment and growth management, and carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option for the community. Currently, the Centre Region’s growth plans, through the establishment of the Regional Growth Boundary, call for UAJA to provide public sewer service to most of the future growth which will occur in the community. Through implementation of the Growth Boundary, the Region can accommodate most of the Region’s growth in a manner that will allow:

  1. UAJA and other public service providers to deliver cost effective service to these areas
  2. Growth to occur in a compact and land efficient manner which will avoid sprawl and allow the Region’s outlying agricultural, rural and environmentally sensitive areas to be protected.
  3. Balanced growth in the community that can maintain the area’s healthy economic climate

If a decision is made to limit the capacity of UAJA, other approaches to provide sewage disposal to the Region’s future growth areas will need to be considered. It is important to remember that municipal zoning can not remove all development opportunities from a parcel of land. As a result, if growth does not occur on the UAJA system, it may relocate to outlying areas which will use on-lot disposal systems for sewage treatment purposes. The consequences of decentralized on-lot sewage disposal systems, the impact that a proliferation of these systems could have on the environment, and the negative impacts that this sprawl pattern of growth could have on the Region’s quality of life must be carefully considered.

More information on the proposed Beneficial Reuse Alternative, and the benefits this approach has for the community can be reviewed on this web site. If you have any questions about growth and wastewater capacity issues, please refer to the Question and Answer section of this site.