Short and long-term solutions for Hudson water woes
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Hudson Town Council welcomed Marie-Claude Besner to the post of Director of Urban Planning at the September 5 council evening.
The short-term strategy for Hudson’s potable water problems is to dig a new well as soon as possible while the long-term and more reliable solution is to draw water from the Ottawa River which means building a water treatment system. These were the recommendations contained in the ‘Source Report –A Path Forward for our Water Supply’ presented by the Hudson Citizens Action Group-Infrastructure Tuesday, September 5, preceding the monthly town council meeting.
In a 45-minute presentation, Councillor Ron Goldenberg, resident Jacques Bourgeois and town employee Simon Corriveau provided a summation of the committee’s work and recommendations.
The Town of Hudson wells draw from two underground sources: the Viviry and Alstonvale Aquifers. “What we rely upon to build and replenish our aquifers is not reliable,” said Bourgeois in reference to local precipitation levels. According to the report, precipitation is less dependable with average monthly changes from year to year and unpredictable highs and lows with about 10 per cent of the rainfall infiltrating the aquifers.
Wells and treatment centres
The core of Hudson is served by two wells operating at capacity, the Bradbury and Wellesley A wells. The original Wellesley installation in 1965 became unusable for potable water resulting in the installation of the Wellesley A in 1983. In addition, the Woodland Water Treatment Centre exceeds its capacity level at a population level of 6,530. Water usage follows a predictable seasonal cycle with peaks in the summer months and lows in November and January. The demand on the supply is expected to increase as housing developments are contemplated for several areas in the near future.
The report noted the associated benefits of installing a new well as soon as possible; several potential sites have been identified, infrastructure and experienced personnel are in place, and the source of water is plentiful. According to the report a best-case scenario timeline for installing a new well is 12 months with a capital expenditure of an estimated $1.3 million.
The long-term solution of building a treatment plant for processing water from the Ottawa River was presented as a reliable and limitless source of potable water. It is however, a more expensive solution with an estimated capital expenditure of $12 to $15 million with an approximate yearly operating expensive of $400,000 per year. These estimates do not include use of existing staff or partnerships with neighboring municipalities.
Steering Committee and feasibility study
The report strongly recommended to council that a steering committee be created immediately to oversee the installation of the new well and begin the detailed feasibility study for the long-term solution. Councillor Goldenberg invited residents interested in serving on the steering committee to contact him after the meeting.
Reaction from residents
There appeared to be general support from those in attendance for the recommendations put forward by the report. Concerns were raised regarding how safe the river water is for human consumption given that treated and untreated sewage is disposed in the river.
“I don’t have a detailed answer for you,” replied Goldenberg. He said many communities currently draw water from the river and that treatment regulations are very stringent. “That’s something that will have to be taken into consideration when the feasibility study is done,” he added.
“I think that the committee has done wonderful work,” said Jamie Nicholls after the presentation. “That there will be a steering committee in place is a positive development.”
“The sense I get, is that there is buy-in, which is very encouraging,” said Bill Nash when asked what he thought of the reaction to the presentation. Nash is a member of the committee that prepared the report. Both Nicholls and Nash are running as candidates for mayor of Hudson in the up-coming municipal election.
Town Clerk and Director of Urban Planning
Council approved the hiring of Melissa Legault as Town Clerk and Marie-Claude Besner as Director of Urban Planning. Legault, a lawyer, will be taking up her duties as the Quebec municipal elections approach in November. Besner is replacing Nathalie Lavoie who recently vacated the position after 15 years of employment with the town.
Hudson Heartbeet Community Farm
The land lease to Hudson Heartbeet Community Farm and the Hudson Food Collective was also approved on Monday evening. In a second motion, improvements to the property located next to the dog park on Main Road and opposite Thompson Park include sources of potable and non-potable water and toilet facilities. “We need them for people using the dog park as well as Thompson Park,” said Councilor Nathalie Best, “they are not only for the farm.”