In late August 2016

Trail takes measures to avoid another big sewer bill

The regional service sent Trail a $152,000 invoice to reapportion costs retroactive to 2014 and 2015, based on flow meter readings.

No one likes being hit with a unexpected bill, especially one for $152,000.

That’s what happened to the City of Trail last summer when actual flow exceeded a pre-determined amount of sewer being sent to the treatment plant.

On behalf of Rossland, the regional service sent Trail the $152,000 invoice to reapportion costs retroactive to 2014 and 2015, based on flow meter readings, not the previously arbitrated 63 per cent. (Warfield also had to settle up with the Alpine City and pay back almost $17,000).

So with a new year and the recent passing of the 2017 sewer budget, taxpayers may be wondering if the city will feel the same sting in a few months time. After all, sewer costs are respective to volume and the flow meter readings neared 71 per cent for Trail in January well above 64 per cent, the number council is budgeting for.

In a nutshell, Trail Coun. Robert Cacchioni says, “No.”

“There will not be another big payback to Rossland,” Cacchioni, the city’s sewer committee appointee, told the Trail Times.

Flows for 2016, which determine 2017 costs, were set at almost 65 per cent for Trail, 23 per cent for Rossland, and about 12 per cent for Warfield.

“We had estimated flows at 62.56 per cent, but the flows were way higher, and we had to make that up” he explained, referring to the retroactive bill in July 2016.

“From now on, it’s always based on flow. So that 71 (volume percentage in January) may not make a difference because in February it could go down to 62 per cent.”

He said it’s interesting to note that Rossland’s flow in January was only 17 per cent.

“That is relatively low yet their population is almost double in January,” Cacchioni speculated. “I think it’s because of the lack of I/I, the ground is frozen so the water doesn’t get in (to the sewer system).”

I/I refers to “inflow and infiltration,” or water that enters the sewer line and increases the load on the system. It’s an important factor because no matter the source, water or I/I, comes with a cost because it must be treated the same as liquid waste.

Before Trail paid its bill, the city investigated whether I/I was increasing municipal sewer volumes.

Part of that review led to the city installing a flow meter near Teck Trail Operations right below the Trail Memorial Centre until that point, Cacchioni says the city never included Teck’s actual flow as part of the overall volume.

Based on current values, the plant contributes between three and five per cent of the total regional flow, confirmed Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff.

“Teck pays the metered flow rate the same as any other commercial customer in accordance with the Utilities Rates Bylaw,” he explained. “We do not have enough data to determine what the percentage charge will be as compared to flow, but the cost recovery should compensate for the Teck flow and the regional charges.”

Perehudoff emphasized the city is in the early stages of monitoring Teck flow readings, and has just started to generate invoicing.

“The city will be recovering directly the regional costs associated with the Teck flow so there won’t be any additional costs to the Trail ratepayer as a result of the Teck flow,” he added. “The utility is run on a ‘break even’ basis and based on how the bylaw is structured the fees paid should closely approximate the direct annual costs.”

Between the three regional partners,Cacchioni says the 2017 budget has Trail contributing just over $1 million, Rossland approximately $355,000 and Warfield $185,000. He added, “Area B, about $16,000, which is approximately half of previous years (contract).”

Data is collected from three flow meters (excluding the city’s meter below the arena); one above Warfield, one near the Gulch bocce pits and one at the Waneta treatment plant.

Just Posted

Columbia Basin Trust offering business accelerator program

Trust seeking motivated companies for customized support and mentorship program

Trail military exercises provide crucial training

Exercise Sapper Crucible: ‘The nuts and bolts of what a soldier is’

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Thrums, Riondel, and Slocan, revisited

Place Names: Scottish author delighted by Thrums name origin

Last stand for Silver City summer

Fall officially arrives in Trail at 6:54 p.m. on Saturday

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

Most Read