Four municipalities in the southeast have announced plans for a regional wastewater treatment plant.

Hanover, Tache, Ritchot and Niverville have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to create the Red-Seine-Rat Wastewater Cooperative (RSRWC). The cooperative will create a regional wastewater collection system and plant that will enhance wastewater management to meet new environmental standards and ensure affordable utility rates for ratepayers in all four municipalities. Prior to the formation of the RSRWC, the municipalities will be submitting a joint funding proposal to the provincial and federal governments for a mechanical wastewater system.

(Chris Ewen, Justin Bohemier, Stan Toews and Myron Dyck)Hanover Reeve Stan Toews says the plant is projected to cost nearly $110 million. It is contingent on receiving about $43 million from the federal government and $36 million from the provincial government. The remaining funds would come from the four municipalities. Toews notes certain municipalities would pay more than others as it would be based on population and the amount of effluent being sent to the plant. Funding would be over a seven year time frame.

"This level of collaboration is critical for our region's economic and ecological sustainability," says Niverville Mayor Myron Dyck.

The wastewater system would serve the communities of Mitchell, Blumenort, New Bothwell, Landmark, Lorette, Ste. Agathe, St. Adolphe, Ile des Chenes, Grande Pointe, Niverville and rural residents in all four municipalities. The plant would be located just north of Niverville, in the RM of Ritchot and serve over 30,000 people with a capacity for up to 70,000 residents. It will accommodate the projected residential growth in the region over the next 25 years.

"Working regionally will not only improve services to our citizens, but provide opportunity for growth," says Tache Mayor Justin Bohemier.

The proposed plant will meet new provincial regulations related to effluent discharge. And, by moving to a mechanical system, farmland will not be taken out of production for new and/ or expanded lagoon space in the future.

"Transitioning to a treatment system will enhance environmental protection today and into the future," says Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen.

Toews says it is believed this plant will save the municipalities approximately $60 million over 15 years by not needing to expand lagoons. He notes the existing lagoons will be used for surge capacity. For example, it might come in handy during a very wet spring.

Toews says the group would love to begin construction in 2022. He suggests Niverville would probably be the first municipality to use the system because of their current need to expand their lagoon.

"This cooperative effort realizes a decade long dream of working together with our neighbours," says Toews.